The Trouble “Mull of Kintyre” Caused Me – In response to Vicky Loras’s Blog Challenge

Vicky Loras posted a blog challenge called “What’s Your Story” . I was able to identify with her story of immigration as I moved to Israel from the United States when I was eleven years old.

Back in mid 1970s there was no Internet and the world wasn’t quite as globalized as it is today. Fashions spread slowly then and my new classmates stared in shock at my brand new bell-bottom pants. Unlike today everyone wasn’t watching the same T.V. shows and food products from the States (such as peanut butter) weren’t available in the local, small town supermarket.

I wasn’t particularly attractive to my new classmates. They had all been together since kindergarten. I was a poor student as I knew Hebrew, but not on grade level. To make matters far worse, I was a complete klutz in the playground and could not contribute to team sports. Couldn’t sing well or dance well either.

My knowledge of all matters American seemed suspect. I claimed that there were 50 states in the United States.  The teacher (BIG sigh!) and the pupils all said there were 51 states. We took a class trip to the Kennedy Memorial. Each state there has a plaque and SO DOES THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA! That adds up to 51…

But at least I knew English. That is, until “Mull of Kintyre” became a huge hit.

The kids were wild about foreign music. As there was no Internet to get the lyrics from, the thing to do was ask a native speaker to write down the lyrics while listening to the song. I often had trouble doing that as singers don’t always enunciate clearly or the music is  too loud. But “Mull of Kintyre” was the worst. As a kid I had no idea what a “mull” was or that “Kintyre” was a name of a place. In fact, I couldn’t even tell where one word began and the other ended, I tried to make sense of different sound combinations (mulling on tyres / molliking on rye) and drew a blank every time.

I know there were other songs during those years that caused me angst but this  one stuck in my memory because it took me a long time till I learned the meaning. By then I had become proficient in Hebrew and gotten over a lot of the problems that had plagued me as a newcomer.

This song always triggers memories.

9 thoughts on “The Trouble “Mull of Kintyre” Caused Me – In response to Vicky Loras’s Blog Challenge”

  1. Dear Naomi!

    Thank you so much for taking part in the blog challenge with your beautiful post – it touched my heart because we identify with each other! I was also a klutz and not really cute or attractive ; ) I found refuge in books.

    Thank you so much for sharing your story and for helping us find out more about the wonderful person and educator Naomi, that all of us are so fond of!

    Big hug when we meet : )

    Thank you ever so much,

  2. Vicky,
    That is exactly what I did too – I read a lot! I also had pen-pals from around the world. I guess that lead to blogging!
    Great blog challenge – a real hit!

  3. I can’t relate through personal experience of immigration. I certainly sympathise through others’ experiences though. And what a beautiful song. I’ve never heard of it, largely because I was into the Beatles around the same time as the stupid sitcom Wings was popular and therefore never gave Paul’s band a chance. Perhaps I should.

  4. Glad I was able to introduce you to a song, Tyson!
    Although teaching for a while in another country like you did is not the same as immigrating, I’m sure you experienced many of the same feelings an immigrant would experience.

  5. What memories you have brought to the surface! Thank you!

    I too found myself arguing with my classmates about the number of US states; I was also called on in class repeatedly to say Massachusetts, because i was the only one who could pronounce it and everyone thought it was cool; and I got 15 minutes of fame ’cause I could sing “Let’s Get Together” at a time when the original Parent Trap was popular – and alas, I too had many language “stumbles”, some of which cause great laughter amongst my friends, when what I heard was not exactly what was being said … BUT we got through it, didn’t we? And despite the scars, I think we have come out of it much stronger!

  6. We most certanly came out stronger AND learned to accept the things we can’t change – some people will NOT be convinced that there are 50 states to this very day!

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