At a recent gathering of musical friends, we were going around the room letting each person pick a Christmas song they'd like to play and sing.
One woman, Janice, who isn't a musician - although she does sing harmony with her husband occasionally - was pressed to sing a song. And she began to sing "Are My Ears on Straight?"
I was instantly transported to my childhood, and began singing right along with Janice. We stared at each other as we sang, each amazed that somebody else in the world knew that song.
It turns out Janice had learned it in grade school to sing at a Christmas concert. I, on the other hand, had listened to a recording of that song when I was a child. That details were very fuzzy. At first I thought it was part of a Mitch Miller Sing-a-long album I adored as a child.
After coming home and doing research, I found out that the record was a 78 rpm record. And "Are My Ears on Straight" was the "B" side of "I Want a Hippopotamus for Christmas". (Another rare song, although I've found that more people are familiar with that than the other.)
Doing further research, I found out that "I Want a Hippopotamus for Christmas" was published by Mitch Miller (which is odd) but was sung by a 10-year old girl named Gayla Peevey.
It turns out that the song was such a hit the Oklahoma City zoo decided to use it to launch a campaign to buy a hippopotamus for the zoo. They advertised that if enough money was donated, they would buy a hippo for Gayla for Christmas.
And that is exactly what happened. The zoo purchased a baby hippo named Mathilda and gave it to Gayla for Christmas and she in turn donated it to the zoo.
It was an awful lot of fun to research and find out where those songs came from. It brought back some great childhood memories.