Posted by paulrivas on:
Everyone knows the song "I Like to Eat Apples and Bananas". It's the
one American kids are made to sing by substituting all the vowel sounds
in the song for the long vowels a, e, i, o and u. So the words become
"Ae lake tae ate, ate, ate, aepples aend baenaenaes", "E leke tee eet,
eet, eet, eeples eend beeneenees", "I like ti ite, ite, ite, ite, iples
eind byenyenyes", etc. It doesn't really make any sense at all when
transcribed, because it's hard to spell the long vowel sounds that the
song uses, but you get the point.
As a preschooler at the famous Starr-King Parent Child Workshop, Rivas Cultural Services was made to sing this song a great deal. In those days, the restaurant in the space that Aldo's currently occupies on State Street was not a shamelessly overpriced Italian joint with a sycophantic waitstaff, but a historic cafeteria that made everything from scratch, called The Copper Coffee Pot. Today, there is a ceramic tile plaque on the wall outside Aldo's commemorating this.
My dad worked at The Copper Coffee Pot as a cook. His nickname in the kitchen was "McGovern", because he was always talking about the candidate. The youngest guy who worked there was an undefeated wrestler at Dos Pueblos High whose nickname was "El Undefeated". The boss was a guy named Lance, about whose balding pate the kitchen staff used to say, "pocos pelos, pero bien peinados", meaning "few hairs, but well combed". Whenever a fly was found to be hanging out on a wall - my dad told me before my first Spanish class at La Colina Junior High - someone would sing the words, "una mosca está en la pared", meaning "a fly is on the wall".
Well, Saturday morning, Rivas Cultural Services was driving to work and listening to the children's program Festival Infantil on Radio Bronco, when a song came on called, "Una mosca parada en la pared", or "A fly on the wall". Obvi, the first verse was, "Ana masca parada an la parad, an la parad, an la parad. Ana masca, ana masca, ana masca parada an la parad." Next came, "Ene mesque perede en le pered," and then "Ini misqui piridi in li pirid," etc.
All of which brought to light the following discoveries:
1. The Mexican version of "Apples and Bananas" is called, "A Fly on the Wall" in Spanish.
2. My dad misremembered the title of the song, and for 40 years has been saying "está" instead of "parada".
3. The Spanish language version also requires several spelling changes in order to write the lyrics properly, but these are much easier to make in Spanish, because since all Spanish vowels have only one pronunciation (namely, the name of the vowel), it's the consonants that become affected in spelling.