Katy McKenna Raymond  
Personal blog of christian writer Katy McKenna Raymond in Kansas City, Missouri

Personal blog of christian
writer & fallible mom
Katy McKenna Raymond
in Kansas City, Missouri

Katy is represented by
Greg Johnson at
WordServe Literary

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When Mom needed to move into an assisted living facility nearly ten years ago, we closed down the family home where she had lived for forty years. Every effort was made at that time to get rid of the junk, give away the good stuff (because she had too much of it….), and take care of the important documents, photos, and other ephemera.

But we ran out of time. Mom’s hope chest, for instance, was not gone through. Instead, we packed up the contents in a Rubbermaid bin, moved it with her into her tiny apartment, and promised that one day soon, she and her five kids would sit down together and sort it out.

All these years later, and with Mom no longer a part of our Party of Six, we still haven’t gotten around to it. We plan to soon, though, perhaps when we siblings gather to celebrate Mom’s birthday in a couple of weeks from now. In the meantime, my brother has emptied the contents of a locked metal box and found a gem or two.

Here is the poem (or, I think I can more accurately say, drinking song….) my father and his immigrant shipmates wrote and performed aboard the M.S. John Ericsson, on their way from Scotland to New York City, in December of 1946. I’m typing it out exactly as it appears on this 65-year-old piece of paper.

Finding this puts the capstone on how it is to be a first-generation American, the daughter of a Scot. I hope you get a kick out it, too.

        “John Ericsson Sailing Song”
(Sung to the tune of Glory, Glory Halleluya)

The bunch of us are sailing on the Johnny Ericsson
(Repeat two times)
And there isn’t a drink on the ship

Lordy Lordy what a helluva helluva ship
(Repeat two times)
Is the Johnny Ericsson

We wanted first class cabins but they put us in a bunk
People seasick right and left and lordy how it stunk
We’d rather be ashore and feeling very very drunk
Than sailing on the Johnny Ericsson


They had a dancing party and we thought it would be fun
But the ship was tossing madly and the phono wouldn’t run
The needle wasn’t sharp enough, the records they were bum
On the Johnny Ericsson


They organized the races and we all began to bet
The odds were pretty awful, and now we’re all in debt
The horses did the running, and the steward he did sweat
On the Johnny Ericsson


We sit around all evening and we try to pass the time
The U.S. gives us coke, but what we really want is wine
When they bring out the brandy then we’ll all be feeling fine
On the Johnny Ericsson


But in spite of all our grumbling we are here to sing tonight
And in the Christmas spirit it isn’t right to fight
So we’ll try to love the U.S. Lines with all our heart and might
On the Johnny Ericsson

LAST CHORUS (slowly with much feeling)
Glory, Glory what a lovely lovely ship
(Repeat two times)
Is the Johnny Ericsson

We’d like to thank the Captain and the Officers and Crew
They are good sports and what is more we know they’ll bring us to
America where most of us will start our lives anew
Cause we’re sailing on the Johnny Ericsson


Words by the John Ericsson passengers Glee Club. Song first introduced at M.S. “John Ericsson” Christmas party at Sea Dec 25, 1946

Posted by Katy on 03/29/11 at 07:12 AM
Fallible Comments...
  1. Oh what a cool momento! Thanks for sharing! My Grandfather wrote a journal of his trip oversees in WWII and I treasure his way of sharing memories and the funny things they did and the way he described some of what he saw. I wished I had known when I was younger what a great writer he was - I would have encouraged him to write more before cancer stole him from us. I have a copy though of his thoughts to share someday with MY kids - and carry on that heritage! Thansk for sharing this!
    Posted by Susan Baganz  on  03/29/11  at  08:00 AM
  2. That is AWESOME! What a fun guy your dad must've been, and what an expressive piece of history. Thank you for sharing!
    Posted by Kathy Frazier  on  03/29/11  at  08:43 AM
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    Posted by Christmas Parties  on  08/23/11  at  02:05 AM
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