Josna Rege

For You, Mum

In Notes on April 8, 2018 at 9:45 pm

My mother has passed away. It was her time and it was a peaceful passing, so I must be glad. There is nothing more I can say just now, but as I did when my father died, just 18 months ago, I am sharing some of the many stories in the Tell Me Another Archives from her, about her, or inspired by her, interspersed with songs which she loved or which remind me of her.

My Grandmother

When Irish Eyes are Smiling  One of my grandmother’s favorite songs, so Mum told me (see story above). 

Chickens on the Pot

Molly Malone One of Mum’s aunts had a barrow, and we have a photograph of her and her family standing straight and proud in front of it—their livelihood. 

A Nice Bit of Spanish

Annie Laurie Mum didn’t sing this one very often, but when she did, it struck deep into your heart. 

Party Pieces

     The Old Bull and Bush

Strawberry-Picking Camp

 Killing Me Softly This song was released by Roberta Flack in 1973, just three years after we immigrated to the United States. Mum loved it, and I didn’t know why at the time. I preferred rock-‘n-roll and reggae, and thought it rather schmaltzy. Not any more. 

Sucking Lemons and Quoting Shaw 

Hound Dog My cousin Bill remembers Mum teaching him to jive to Elvis’ Hound Dog. If this was in 1956, when it was released, Mum would have been twenty-nine, and Bill just thirteen. 

My Uncrowned Queens

  Avanti Popolo One day, some years into her Alzheimer’s, Mum mentioned that she had a song running through her head, but she couldn’t remember more than a few fleeting lines. She sang them for me, but they didn’t ring a bell, and I thought I’d heard every song she’d ever known. Furthermore, it was in another language, and one I knew she didn’t know—Italian. I went home, did some searching on the Internet, and came back with this, and the lyrics printed out for her. Mum took to the Italian like a duck to water, and soon we were roaring out this rousing workers’ march at the top of our lungs. It must have been stored away in her memory banks from her Leftist youth. What a terrific song!

Servants, or Cleaning My Own D*** House

     With a Little Bit of Luck

His Master’s Voice

     Jamaica Farewell

Learning to Swim

     Island in the Sun

British TV, Fall of ‘63

 Twist and Shout (at the Beatles’ Royal Command performance)   Read “British TV, Fall of ’63” for the back story.


 The Ash Grove Mum would say that, in secondary school, while their music teacher waxed all sentimental about this song, the students would change the words to: “My teacher has a bunion/a face like a pickled onion/a nose like a squashed tomato/ and legs like matchsticks.” In transports of delight, the teacher was oblivious to it all, “Beautiful, Class, beautiful,” she would murmur. 

Top of the Pops, 1968-69

Those Were the Days   When this song started climbing the British pop charts in 1968, it was a song the oldsters liked as well. We didn’t know then that it was a Russian romance from the 1920s. but Mum and Uncle Ted probably did. 

Two at a Time

     Loch Lomond

Simply Paying Attention

You Can Get It if You Really Want This was Mum’s favorite song from the Reggae soundtrack of the classic 1972 movie, The Harder They Come, starring Jimmy Cliff. I realize now that it probably spoke to her of the struggles of her own life: . . .”but you must try, try and try, try and try: you’ll succeed at last.”

Just Empty Your Mind

Shelter from the Storm  This was Mum’s favorite song on Bob Dylan’s 1975 Blood on the Tracks Album. She particularly liked it when he sang, “Come in,” she said “I’ll give ya” (and she, like Dylan, emphasize the ya) “shelter from the storm.”

London, My London

     Maybe It’s Because I’m a Londoner

London without Lily

     Old Man River

Doing It Themselves

Mera Juta Hai Japani  A hit song from the 1955 Hindi film Shree 420, starring Raj Kapoor and Nargis which  exemplified the spirit of early post-Independence India. My cousin Meena remembers Mum singing it on a trip to Ratnagiri. 1955 was the year she arrived in India for the first time, with me as a babe in arms. 

A Chip off the Old Block? If Only.



     O Danny Boy

    Sometimes I Feel Like a Motherless Child

     Ti geli tevha rimjhim

Tell Me Another (Contents to Date)

Chronological Table of Contents


  1. Condolences on your losse, Josna. It’s hard to lose both parents close together.

    • Thank you, Linda. Yes, it is hard. But it was harder for both Mum and me these past 18 months without Dad, and I am grateful that she did not have to suffer through the late stage of Alzheimer’s. It’s a whole new experience, being an orphan—or, more accurately, a member of the older generation!

  2. Please accept my humble prayers Josna ji. Sending light and strength your way.

  3. Dearest friend, Wish I had something wise and helpful to add to all the comments which soothe and calm you in this difficult time. All I have to offer is my long-lasting friendship and love and looking forward to seeing you soon in Montreat. When my dad died, I thought my broken heart would never heal, yet I could almost hear his wonderful bass voice singing all the way to heaven. My belief and hope is that we will all be together again some day, singing our hearts out.
    Much love, Marianne

  4. I wanted my mother to live forever but could see that after Dad died that she lost heart. As her health problems mounted, she was ready to go. Still, we can’t help but be sad.

    • Thank you for your wisdom, Virginia, which I did find comforting. So sorry for my long delay in replying. All my best, J

  5. Josna, It’s been quite a while since I came here and oh my goodness, what a lovely way to remember her. My deepest condolences to you and your family.

    • Thank you for your visit, and for your condolences and kind words. I have hardly been blogging since my father died, and not at all since my mother. But I am slowly returning to myself and hope to be more active and engaged in the months to come. I’m sorry I haven’t been visiting the blogs I follow either; hope you’ve been thriving and your writing is flowing freely. All my best, J

      • You should try and write again. I’ve always enjoyed the free flowing and very thoughtful essays you put up here.

        2018 has not been very good to me personally. Been fighting one problem after another, including health issues. I am getting healthier now, but still need to keep focus.

        I haven’t been writing much since the play went up on Amazon. A few weeks ago I did move the blog over to its own domain ( ) and have slowly started attempting writing again.

        • Thank you for your encouragement. I hope I will start writing again as I get into a new rhythm. Wishing you good health and renewed energy for your writing as well. I haven’t yet read your play but hope to do so. Congrats for getting it out there! I did visit your new website briefly but look forward to returning and exploring it further. All the best, J

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