Wednesday, February 06, 2013


Ocracoke guitarist, Martin Garrish, sometimes performs the 1947 song, "I'm My Own Grandpa" written by Dwight Latham and Moe Jaffe. It is a clever, funny song that is guaranteed to bring smiles to nearly everyone in the audience.

Not long ago I was doing some genealogical research for an Ocracoke Preservation Society museum display. Since I am related to most of the historic island families, my line popped up here and there. At one point I discovered that my children are also my cousins! That's right, Amy & Stefen are my 7th cousins. Of course, that makes my father, my grandparents, and my grandchildren my cousins also. Looked at from another line, since one set of my great grandparents were 2nd cousins, I am my own 5th cousin!

It's too complicated to explain in detail. I'm just glad my mother's family was from Hungary!

Here are the lyrics to "I'm My Own Grandpa":

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

Our latest Ocracoke Newsletter is the story of windmills on Ocracoke. You can read it here:


  1. Toni W.8:09 AM

    My husband's step-father used to sing this to our children and their cousin's! What a wonderful memory him singing to them is as we lost him in 2007. Thank you for posting this!!

  2. Anonymous9:52 AM

    a rose is a rose is a rose or a rose by any other name would smell the same or does this solve the illegal immigration problem.

  3. Vickie Pavlik10:17 PM

    Might this explain the frequency of TGA on Ocracoke?

    1. I don't think so, but I did consider adding a similar observation on today's blog...just for laughs, of course!

  4. Anonymous7:54 PM

    This brought tears to my eyes. My grandmother used to sing this. The words were never written down, so I thought I would never hear the song again. Thanks for bringing back lovely memories for me! Of course now I have to print the lyrics so I can sing it to the younger generations....

  5. Toni W.7:25 AM

    I shared the lyrics on facebook for family to remember. I had a few people thank me for sharing them because they too had memories associated with it but didn't remember the words. Thanks Philip!