Lizzie Jane

We come on the sloop John B
My grandfather and me
Around Nassau town we did roam
Drinking all night
Got into a fight
Well I feel so broke up
I want to go home

Lizzie Jane was my grandfather's name for the ancient and enormous beige Dodge he drove when I was a child. I remember the sound of the blinkers was so loud you could hear the click before it actually happened.

Most of the time, if I was in that car, I was relegated to the back seat. Sometimes my grandmother sat with me – she felt safer – and sometimes she didn't. Often, she told me to sit in front, so that she had more room to spread out her knitting. (This was before the whole children in the back seat push. It was even before shoulder straps were the norm.)

Every few days, when I spent the summers with my grandparents, my grandmother would pack a lunch and send the two of us off together, and my grandfather would take me fishing, or we'd go to the military beach and wander through the old bunkers, and when I was tired, and he was hot, and we smelled completely of salt and sand and ships and tar, we'd get back in the car, and drive to Stewarts for root beer and french fries, or Carvel, for soft-serve chocolate ice cream, with rainbow sprinkles. And we'd never tell Grandma. Ever.

About half the time when the words “I want to go home,” waltz through my head, what I really want is those endless summers with my grandfather and Lizzie Jane.

So hoist up the John B's sail
See how the mainsail sets
Call for the Captain ashore
Let me go home, let me go home
I wanna go home, yeah yeah
Well I feel so broke up
I wanna go home

Permalink at