The Mudcat Café TM
Thread #25650   Message #302406
Posted By: GUEST,Giac, not at home
21-Sep-00 - 02:07 PM
Thread Name: Anyone here had to recite?
Subject: RE: Anyone here had to recite?
'Neath the spreading chestnut tree...

Gettysburg Address

Preamble to the Constitution

Paul Revere's Ride

Various things from Shakespeare

The Highwayman -- an especial favorite

My mother had a large number of siblings. Every Sunday for many years, the whole bunch gathered at one home or another for dinner, after which each child under the age of 10 or so was expected to recite something. The smaller ones were stood upon an ottoman. There was great twisting, tongue chewing and ducking of heads, but one had to get through it.

Actually, the one that stood me in best stead was the Gettysburg Address. In those days, "party lines" were ordinary, with as many as 8-10 households sharing one phone line. While having a conversation, others on the line would pick up and listen. Once, on a whim, I started to recite, "Fourscore and seven years ago, our fathers brought forth on this continent a new ..." Before I got to the word "nation," I heard six clicks as "listeners" hung up. I used that a few years before we finally got a private line. If someone picked up again, all I had to do was start over -- CLICK!