Some of the readers’ comments following my recent article of Is There Any Such Thing as a Half-Cousin? at http://goo.gl/j4y3q1 described some complex relationships. The comments include stories of “double first cousins,” children who are simultaneously siblings as well as cousins, and more. All of this reminds me of a popular song from the 1940s called I’m My Own Grandpa.
The song was written by Dwight Latham and Moe Jaffe, performed by Lonzo and Oscar in 1947, about a man who, through an unlikely (but legal) combination of marriages, becomes stepfather to his own stepmother. The song pays no attention to the prefix “step-” however. As a result, the singer becomes his own grandfather.
Other artists later recorded their own versions of the song. Perhaps the least confusing rendition, if reducing confusion about this song is possible, is a YouTube video of Ray Stevens singing “I’m My Own Grandpa” accompanied by a video of a chart that illustrates the relationships.
You can watch the video at http://youtu.be/eYlJH81dSiw or in the video player below.
Willie Nelson also has a version available at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=T2akFlmUe3g
If you want to spend some time studying the relationships, here are the lyrics:
Many, many years ago when I was twenty-three
I was married to a widow who was pretty as could be
This widow had a grown-up daughter who had hair of red
My father fell in love with her and soon they too were wed
This made my dad my son-in-law and really changed my life
For now my daughter was my mother, ’cause she was my father’s wife
And to complicate the matter, even though it brought me joy
I soon became the father of a bouncing baby boy
My little baby then became a brother-in-law to dad
And so became my uncle, though it made me very sad
For if he were my uncle, then that also made him brother
Of the widow’s grownup daughter, who was of course my step-mother
Father’s wife then had a son who kept them on the run
And he became my grandchild, for he was my daughter’s son
My wife is now my mother’s mother and it makes me blue
Because although she is my wife, she’s my grandmother too
Now if my wife is my grandmother, then I’m her grandchild
And every time I think of it, it nearly drives me wild
‘Cause now I have become the strangest ‘case you ever saw
As husband of my grandmother, I am my own grandpa
I’m my own grandpa, I’m my own grandpa
It sounds funny, I know but it really is so
I’m my own grandpa