Wednesday, November 16, 2011

One Stroky’s Journey: Zap a Dee Doo Dah

For several weeks I have wanted to post about the electronic medical devices that are contributing to my stroke recovery. Specifically, I was focusing on those that use electrical stimulation to zap disabled nerves and muscles into action. In the process they encourage the reeducation of healthy brain cells to take over jobs once performed by their now stroke-fried compatriots.

Just the thought of being zapped prompted a mental leap to a title for the yet-to-be-composed pearls of wisdom: “Zap a Dee Doo Dah,” an alteration of the classic Disney song “Zip-a-Dee-Doo-Dah.”

Disney classic “Zip-a-Dee-Doo-Dah.”

The mental leap was quite refreshing, since leaping has been pretty much non-existent since my April 22, 2011, stroke. As happy as I was to execute a leap, mental or otherwise, the problem was that the successful leap derailed my train of thought. My mother must have sung that song to me, and it resurfaces frequently along with the compulsion to break into song and smile. Okay, “breaking into song” might be wishful thinking. More accurate might be “breaking into noise.” 

I am guessing that “Zip-a-Dee-Doo-Dah,” which we pronounced “zippity doo dah,” was among a repertoire of songs my mother employed to distract me during the frequent ear infections that alternated with bouts of nausea and throwing up during my first four years. Yeah, I know. That was more than you wanted to know.

Details such as song lyrics and timelines from those days are often lost to me. So, of course, I googled "Zip-a-Dee-Doo-Dah." I was surprised, though, that my first Google search turned up several articles about whether the song is too racist to sing. Hunh?

"Zip-a-Dee-Doo-Dah" was from the 1946 Disney film Song of the South and won the Academy Award for Best Original Song in 1947, the year I was born. From the columns I read on-line, the authors’ objections were, in part, that the movie portrayed the lives of rural African Americans of earlier times as happy and uncomplicated by racism or hardships.

I don’t remember ever seeing the movie although I can retrieve the Disney image of the Br’er Rabbit character from the depths of memory. So if not planted via movie the image must have settled into my brain via books. I found on eBay quite a few Disney Little Golden Books that were copyrighted in 1946, reissued in the 70s and that featured Br’er Rabbit’s escapades. And Little Golden Books were more a part of my everyday life back then than movies. 

What I remember, correctly or incorrectly, is that some character bigger and faster was always after Br’er Rabbit; but he was audacious and survived by his wits. I vaguely remember admiring Br’er Rabbit, probably because I was surrounded by healthy, strapping cousins, playmates and children at church who were all my age but bigger, faster and more daring than I was.

Okay that’s it. This detour has gone on for two days now. When a detour leads to avid virtual window shopping on eBay, it is time to stop. I have to say, though, that it’s been an enjoyable tour through information that is new to me and that brings new dimensions to childhood memories.

Thanks for coming along with me.

Zip-a-Dee-Doo-Dah (the way I remember it)
Zip-a-dee-doo-dah, zip-a-dee-ay

My, oh my, what a wonderful day

Plenty of sunshine headin' my way

Zip-a-dee-doo-dah, zip-a-dee-ay

Mister Bluebird on my shoulder

It's the truth, it's actual

Ev'rything is satisfactual

Zip-a-dee-doo-dah, zip-a-dee-ay

Wonderful feeling, wonderful day!


  1. Yep, it must be the birth year. I was born in 1948 and I remember this song,too, but not the movie either.

  2. I grew up with Little Black Sambo, now THAT was a bit much!!!

  3. I remember that song well. How are you doing these days?

  4. Funny how words from a song do not leave us. I didn't need to read them to remember them. I drove my brothers to borderline violence by singing? that song over and over and over as a three year old.
    Hope your "Zap" does the job and that it isn't annoying or painful.

  5. i was born in 1944 so well remember the song, and golden books, we had not TV until 1960 so books were my entertainment.

  6. Br'er Rabbit, one of my favorite childhood friends. I think of him often. Dianne

  7. I'm a 1944 baby too and remember my delight in the song and the film well. Distractions are meant to happen.