Days Gone By - stories from the past

Some beautiful songs of World War II – Do you remember them?


written August 2009

Joyce Ray Wheeler

He says it’s a song they sang when marching.  Even after all of these years, sometimes he whistles it and sometimes, if I insist, he’ll sing the words usually when we’re riding in the car:

I’ve got a six pence, a jolly, jolly six pence.
I’ve got a six pence to last me all my life!
I’ve got two pence to spend and two pence to lend
And two pence to send home to my wife, poor wife.

No cares have I to grieve me.
No pretty little girls to deceive me.
I’m as happy as a king believe me,
As we go rolling, rolling home.


Our special song was “Don’t Sit Under the Apple Tree With Anyone Else But Me” but we changed the “the apple tree” to “the maple tree” because that was what was in my big front yard.

“Johnny  Zero” appealed to me because it was so different to the romantic songs:

The kids all called him Johnny Zero.
In school they always used to say:
Johnny got a zero!
Johnny got a zero!
Johnny got a zero today!”
The kids all laughed at Johnny Zero, and they would tease him when they played:
Johnny got a zero.
Johnny got a zero.
Johnny got a zero today!
He couldn’t concentrate on studies.  His mind was always in the sky.
When he grew up he left his buddies, and Johnny learned how to fly!
Now they still call him Johnny Zero, and all the pilots proudly say:
“Johnny got a zero.
He got another zero.
Johnny got a zero.  Hooray!”
Johnny Zero is a HERO today!

Then there was my favorite when it was sung by Kate Smith:
There’ll be blue birds over the White Cliffs of Dover
Tomorrow, just you wait and see.
There’ll be love and laughter and peace ever after
Tomorrow when the world is free!
The shepherd will tend his sheep, the valley will bloom again
And Jimmy will go to sleep in his own little room again.
There’ll be blue birds over the white cliffs of Dover
Tomorrow, just you wait and see.

Last week as we celebrated our sixty-third wedding anniversary in the beautiful Smoky Mountains, we were climbing up a steep trail enjoying the gorgeous view, with flowers all around us.  I’m not sure but I believe I heard him humming this tune:

“Off we go into the wild blue yonder, climbing high into the sky!”

 World War II Songs: As Time Goes By

VINEGAR OF THE FOUR THIEVES: Recipes & curious tips from the past

This book is a compilation of some of the funny and helpful tips from our past history. Some recipes and tips date back to 1770s. One or two sound a little dangerous and I would never try them myself, but I’ve included then in this book for their humorous and historical value. A few are useful, especially for our ‘green’ society today.

Check out genealogy books and novels by Donna R. Causey


World War Ii Songs: As Time Goes By (Audio CD)

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About Joyce Ray Wheeler

Joyce Ray Wheeler was born in Kentucky, but after marriage and two sons she and her husband, Dr. Ruric Wheeler she moved to Birmingham, Alabama in 1953. She was a former school teacher for a short while. She was active in the Faculty Wives Club at Samford University and a member of Shades Mountain Baptist Church where she taught Sunday School classes for women for many years. She enjoyed travel, her grandchildren and writing her memories. Joyce passed away November 2. 2012. Her obituary and memorial can be seen at:

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  1. At 82 years old I remember these songs and our country’s devotion to duty.

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