Friday, July 31, 2015

Whistle Memories

I’m re-reading Robert Massie’s excellent Nicholas and Alexandra before moving it to the please-take bookcase, and this morning found that I’d forgotten about the doomed Romanovs'  Family Whistle.  For that matter, I’d forgotten about our own.

I was never an excellent whistler like my father or little sister, but even I could pucker up enough when she disappeared in the wilds of  the vast two-story five-and-dime.  Our family’s signal was a two-tone third -- sol-miiii—a piercing yoo-hooo.  Sometimes, wandering around the store, I’d hear different whistles – some other family's attempt to gather wandering siblings.
So whatever happened to the Family Whistle?  Did your family have one? Would my grandchildren even know what it was?  Now, I suppose, they whip out cell phones to call each other.  Or – oops, I’m behind the times again – they just text:  MEET IN PARKING LOT 10 MINUTES, OK.  I wouldn’t know – can you text a question mark?
Now I’m left with a cheerful song running through my head -- “The Whistler and His Dog.”  It’s one of the first songs I remember hearing on the radio (we’re talking 1920s here) and it featured a fine whistled solo.  For the Victor red label recording from more than a hundred years ago  -- try
Wikipedia says the composer played in John Phillip Sousa’s band. 
This label is from a different recording, but His Master's Voice does bring back memories.

1 comment:

  1. The Boss and I still have a Family Whistle. I'm not musically adept enough to render it in do-re-mi or any other written medium, but I'll whistle it for you when next we meet. It's a great help in keeping track of each other in big-box stores, since I refuse to use a smartphone. (The last thing I need is a phone that's smarter than I am. I have an antique flip-top cell phone that's for highway emergency use only.)

    And funny you should mention the Romanovs, since I was trying to fall asleep by counting doomed Romanov grand duchesses instead of sheep just last night. Great minds running in the same direction, as usual!