My favorite summer camp feature was always the sing-a-long, when the counselors would lead all the kids in old standards. These songs were always very dramatic, with colorful stories and high stakes. I didn’t think about it then, but in a ton of them, someone dies. Here are 13 camp songs, mostly culled from Camp Mitchman in Beverly, Mass., where a character meets a cheerful but horrific fate. I think it’s best to read these in a solemn voice.
1. Baby Bumblebee
“I’m squishing up a baby bumblebee. Won’t my mommy be so proud of me? I’m squishing up a baby bumblebee. Ew, what a mess.”
2. The Littlest Worm
“The littlest worm I ever saw was stuck inside my soda straw... I coughed him up, and he was dead. I put him in my camper’s bed!”
3. My Little Spider
"Last night my little spider died, cha-cha-cha. He died committing suicide, cha-cha-cha."
4. There Was An Old Lady Who Swallowed A Fly
“There was an old lady who swallowed a fly. I don’t know why she swallowed the fly. Perhaps she’ll die... I know an old lady who swallowed a horse. She’s dead, of course.”
“There was a shotgun, no shots it shot. Until that rooster came into our yard and caught that shotgun completely off-guard. We’re having rooster, we never used to, until that rooster came into our yard.”
6. Little Bird
“A little bird with a yellow bill flew inside my windowsill. I lured him in with crumbs of bread and then I squished his head. “
7. Little Green Frog
“Honk, honk went the big Mack Truck one day. Split, splat went the little green frog. And his eyes don’t go mmm-ah anymore ‘cause they got eaten up by a dog, ruff ruff!”
8. Baby Shark
"Baby Shark... Momma Shark... Daddy Shark... Grampa Shark... Lost an arm... Lost a leg... grab an oar... shark attack!"
9. Sunny Side
“Stay on the sunny side, always on the sunny side, stay on the sunny side of life. Yeehaw. We will cause you no pain as we drive you insane, so stay on the sunny side of life. 'Knock knock.' 'Who’s there?' 'Cargo.' 'Cargo who?' 'Car go beep beep and kill all the Ester Bunnies.' Awwww.”
10. Alouette (Translated from French)
“Lark. Nice lark. Lark, I will pluck you. I will pluck your head. I will pluck your head. And your head! And your head!”
11. Bazooka Bubblegum
“My mom gave me a five, she said to stay alive, but I didn’t stay alive. Instead I choked on bubblegum, Bazooka zooka Bubblegum.”
“It was sad when the great ship went down to the bottom of the – husbands and wives. Little children lost their lives. It was sad when the great ship went down.”
13. Eddie Cucha Catcha Camma Toe-Sa Nara Toe-Sa Nocka Samma Camma Wacky Brown
“All the people came. What a shame. It took so long to say his name that Eddie cucha catcha camma toe-sa nara toe-sa nocka samma camma wacky Brown drowned.”
Previously: 11 Nearly Forgotten Childhood Films
Photo via edebell/flickr.
Matt Crowley is a comic and writer living in Brooklyn. His camp nickname is Spam. Good news: you can follow him on Twitter here.