Lillian Gabrielson Rollo (1908-1996)

Today would have been my mother’s 108th Birthday.  Say It Isn’t So was a favorite song of my mother, through most of her life.  Mostly, she would whistle it, but sometimes sing part of the lyric.

Say It Isn’t So, was written by Irving Berlin.  It was first recorded by Rudy Vallee, who was not one of my mother’s favorites (she never explained why not.)   There were quite a few recordings of it in 1932,  Everyone from Connee Boswell, Guy Lombardo, to Paul Whiteman, and Ozzie Nelson recorded it in 1932.  Then it was revived in the mid to late 1940’s by Dick Haynes followed by Stan Kenton and Bing Crosby.

I like Annette Hanshaw’s version from 1932 the best.  1932 was for a number of reasons one of the worst years in my mother’s life.  Annette Hanshaw was of the same generation as my mother.  The only thing missing here is that Annette Hanshaw forgot to say her trademark at the end of the song, “That’s all!”

My mother’s young adult years consisted of teaching school, of working in summer at fishing resorts, of scrimping and saving and of sewing her own clothes.  She turned 21 in 1929 seven months before the stock market crash.  She only missed one year of work, which she spent helping out on the family farm.  Yet, she was able to attend the 1939 World’s Fair in New York.  She bought one of the first Oldsmobile Hydramatics, the first car with an automatic transmission.  She first drove it on a  trip to California.

During World War II, she got a job at the War Department arsenal at Benicia, California  during which time she married my father.  They postponed their honeymoon until after the war.  They lived for several years in Mount Vernon, Virginia, until my father was retired on disability from the Army.  Eventually, she returned to teaching in Minnesota and later in California.  R.I.P.  Love you, Mom.

My novel,The Catrobat , is based on stories my mother told me about  their postwar years at the Pentagon and in Alexandria, Virginia.

Thanks to Aad Jujin for the You Tube

About Richard Rollo

I am a retired Community College Instructor. I taught Political Science 1 American Government for 22 years in Southern California. I am originally from Northern Minnesota. My earliest years were spent in the living quarters of a rural Duluth Winnipeg & Pacific Railway Depot. Then my family joined the great 1950's migration to Southern California where I joined up with fellow baby boomers in overcrowded schools.
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