Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Talented Tuesday (September 17, 2013) -- "We Cut It Out Because We Had To -- That's All"

My paternal grandfather, Arnold G. Tew. Sr., was born in Central Falls, Rhode Island in 1896. Unfortunately, he was born with a congenital abnormality in his right knee that caused him to be lame despite at least two surgical procedures.  In his later years, and when I knew him for the last few years of his life, he always walked with a cane.  

On my grandfather's World War I draft registration card, the Registrar's Report item No. 3 asks, "Has person lost arm, leg, hand, eye, or is he palpably physically disqualified (specify)?"  The Registrar's response was "Lame -- dislocated knee cap." I am sure that my grandfather had yet another reason to regret his physical limitations when the nation was mobilizing for "The Great War" and in some way I believe he saw what is depicted above as a way he could contribute.

My grandfather played the mandolin and apparently was able to read and write music. In 1917-18 my grandfather composed a patriotic song with verse and music.  The original sheet music from which the scanned images above were produced, states that "quite a few copies" of the sheet music were sold and that the music was played at Rhodes-On-The-Pawtuxet.  

Rhodes-On-The-Pawtuxet was originally open in 1872 by Thomas H. Rhodes with a small pavilion where clambakes could be held and where folks could rent boats to row on the river.  It became known as Rhodes-On-The-Pawtuxet. By the time Rhodes died in 1898, his establishment had been expanded to include two "Casinos" for dancing and the facility became a center for social and recreational events.  Then, in early 1915, most of the facility was consumed by a fire and a new Ballroom was constructed and opened to the public in August 1915 with an opening crowd of 10,000 people.  The new facility was used for dances, political dinners, auctions, dog and flower shows, antique shows, and balls of course.

At least anecdotally, it appears that my grandfather's patriotic composition in support of The Great War was played at Rhodes-On-The-Pawtuxet in late 1917 or early 1918.  The lyrics to the song are as follows . . .

Dedicated to the conservation cause.
                                                                                           By Arnold Tew

Our govern-ment says, cut out the drink, to help us win the war,
What our govern-ment says we know is right, we're bound to win this fight,
Con-ser-va-tion is the by-word now a days
Save on the wheat, corn bar-ley and the rye,
2nd verse for lines 3 &4 above [Pro-hi-bi-tion is a com-ing some fine day,
Make up your minds it's com-ing here to stay,] 
So we'll all stand around and have a lit-tle drink of good old H-2-0!

We cut it out be-cause we had to, We ought to, we're going to,
The boys o-ver there have done it long ago, 
They're on the fir-ing line,
For we've all been good fel-lows, And we're now on the le-vel,
We cut it out because we had to, We've GOT to THAT'S all,

Copyright 1918 by C.M. Tanner, Prov., R.I., USA
International Copyright Secured
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Image of the sheet music from the original gifted to the author by his paternal aunt.

For more information on the history of Rhodes-On-The-Pawtuxet and to see a larger selection of historic postcard images of Rhodes-On-The-Pawtuxet http://www.rhodesonthepawtuxet.com/our-signature/history
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Copyright 2013, John D. Tew
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1 comment:

  1. John,

    How wonderful for your family that you have the sheet music to the song your grandfather composed. What a family history treasure! It would be interesting to hear the song too. Do you have a recording of it or can you get someone to play it and then share it here on your blog?