"The Old Family Toothbrush"

In the 1920's and 1930's, the most eagerly anticipated event of the Palm Beach social season was the annual celebration of E.T. Stotesbury's birthday on February 26. The hundreds of people who filled the courtyard at El Mirasol on this festive occasion always could count on certain hallowed traditions. One of these was that Mr. Stotesbury, after cutting the big cake and accepting many fond toasts, would be prevailed upon by the crowd to regale them with "The Old Family Toothbrush." This was a parody of a song, "The Old Oaken Bucket," that had been a favorite of his during his youth. The original lyrics were written and set to music by Samuel Woodworth in 1818, but in 1870 a new melody was composed by George Kiallmark. This tune was the one that became enormously popular in its day. With Meyer Davis and his orchestra providing accompaniment, Stotesbury would sing, and the guests would join in on the chorus with a gusto that probably made the palm fronds quake.

Click on the "Play" button below to listen to the music for "The Old Oaken Bucket"

 

Lyrics to "The Old Family Toothbrush"
as sung by E.T. Stotesbury

How dear to my heart is the old family toothbrush,
The old family toothbrush that hung by the sink
The old family toothbrush, the moss-covered toothbrush
The old family toothbrush that hung by the sink.

Oh first it was father's, and then it was mother's,
And then it was sister's, and now it is mine.
Oh first it was white, and then it was yellow,
And now it is black and all covered with slime.

[Chorus] The old family toothbrush, the old family toothbrush
The old family toothbrush that hung by the sink

Original Lyrics to "The Old Oaken Bucket"
by Samuel Woodworth (1818), Music by George Kiallmark (1870)

How dear to my heart are the scenes of my childhood,
      When fond recollection presents to my view!
    The orchard, the meadow, the deep-tangled wild-wood,
      And every loved spot which my infancy knew!

The wide-spreading pond, and the mill that stood near it,
      The bridge, and the rock where the cataract fell,
    The cot of my father, the dairy-house nigh it,
      And e'en the rude bucket that hung in the well-
   
[Chorus] The old oaken bucket, the iron-bound bucket,
    The moss-covered bucket that hung in the well.

   The moss-covered bucket I hail as a treasure,
For often at noon, when returned from the field,
I found it the source of an exquisite pleasure,
The purest and sweetest that nature could yield.

How ardent I seized it with hands that were glowing,
And quick to the white-pebbled bottom it fell;
Then soon with the emblem of truth overflowing,
And dripping with coolness it rose from the well.

[Chorus] The old oaken bucket, the iron-bound bucket,
    The moss-covered bucket that hung in the well.

How sweet from the green mossy rim to receive it,
As poised on the curb it inclined to my lips,
Not a full flowing goblet could tempt me to leave it,
Though filled with the nectar that Jupiter sips.

And now far removed from the loved situation,
The tear of regret will intrusively swell;
As fancy reverts to my father’s plantation,
And sighs for the bucket which hung in the well.

[Chorus] The old oaken bucket, the iron-bound bucket,
    The moss-covered bucket that hung in the well.

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