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Senior Lifestyles

Resident poet's parody song honors inspiring story

This senior-citizen poet is a member of Sons In Retirement, a group of old retired guys who meet monthly for lunch and a guest speaker.


 Bob Simon

Sons In Retirement Branch 35 has an unusual tradition: We give each speaker both a normal introduction and a musical one. In other words, we serenade every speaker with a parody song related to his or her topic or background.

I write some of these parodies, and a recent one introduced Jeanne MacVicar (2006 Los Altan of the Year), who spoke about the history of the Orphan Train Movement.

Her great-aunt was an orphan/passenger on one of these trains that, from 1854 to 1929, transported more than 250,000 children from the streets and orphanages of New York City to rural communities, where they found new homes in families that embraced them as their own. It’s a remarkable and heartwarming story.

When writing a speaker-related parody, I look first for an underlying song to which new lyrics can readily be written. For “Orphan Train,” I chose “There’s a Long, Long Trail A-Winding.” It has a gentle melody and was written during the time the trains were operating.

Here’s the resulting parody. Sing along!

Orphan Train

There’s an Orphan Train a-rolling

It’s filled with hearts, hopes and dreams

Left behind, back on the platform

Are life’s dark extremes

With so many destinations

So many stops on the way

Every hand that holds a ticket

Holds the promise of a new day

For more information on Orphan Train Movement talks, email Jeanne MacVicar at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.. For more information on Sons In Retirement Branch 35, email Wayne Dexter at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.. Bob Simon is a Los Altos resident. For more information, email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

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