DEAR SUN SPOTS: Does anyone know who sings the song about being born in Saginaw, Michigan and growing up near the Erie Canal? Thanks for all your help. — No name, Waterford.

ANSWER: The song “Saginaw, Michigan” was written by Don Wayne Choate and Bill Anderson and was originally performed by country star Lefty Frizell in 1964. It hit the top of the U.S. Billboard Hot Country Singles chart, the sixth (and last) time Frizell held that position.

While the release earned the star a grammy nomination, it doesn’t make any mention about growing up near the Erie Canal.

The song has since been covered over a dozen times by artists such as Bobby Bare, Johnny Cash and Randy Travis. It’s a song about found love and the search for wealth — with a twist.

For those you aren’t familiar, here are the lyrics:
 
“I was born in Saginaw, Michigan
I grew up in a house on Saginaw Bay
My dad was a poor, hard-working Saginaw fisherman
Too many times he came home with too little pay
 
“I loved a girl in Saginaw, Michigan
The daughter of a wealthy, wealthy man
But he called me that son of a Saginaw fisherman
And not good enough to claim his daughter’s hand
 
“Now I’m up here in Alaska, looking around for gold
Like a crazy fool I’m digging in this frozen ground so cold
But with each new day I pray I’ll strike it rich and then
I’ll go back home and claim my love in Saginaw, Michigan
 
“I wrote my love in Saginaw, Michigan
I said honey I’m coming home please wait for me
And you can tell your dad I’m coming back a richer man
I hit the biggest strike in Klondike history
 
“Her dad met me in Saginaw, Michigan
He gave me a great big party with champagne
Then he said son you wise young ambitious man
Will you sell your father-in-law your Klondike claim
 
“Now he’s up there in Alaska digging in the cold, cold ground
The greedy fool is looking for the gold I never found
It serves him right and no one here is missing him
Least of all the newlyweds of Saginaw, Michigan
 
“We’re the happiest man and wife in Saginaw, Michigan
 
“He’s ashamed to show his face in Saginaw, Michigan.”

DEAR SUN SPOTS: May is Mental Health Month. It is a time when the mental health community spreads awareness of information, resources and support, and increases advocacy efforts to help improve life for persons living with mental health problems and their families, friends and caregivers whose lives are directly impacted by their conditions.

NAMI Western Mountains Maine affiliate and the Farmington and Mexico NAMI support groups are sponsoring NAMI’s free Suicide Prevention and Awareness program for parents, community groups, businesses and school staffs and any other interested adults.

It will take place on Tuesday, May 23 at MVHS in Rumford from 6 to 8 p.m. in the cafeteria. Several area mental health agencies will have displays, too.

On Saturday, May 27, there will be a carwash at the Information Booth in Rumford to raise funds to help bring mental health events, speakers and programs to this area.

In June, two NAMI Youth Mental Health First Aid courses will be offered. The first on June 20 at Franklin Memorial Hospital in Farmington and the second on June 27 at the Rumford Point Church in Rumford Point.

For information on local resources and efforts, contact: NAMI Western Mountains, ME affiliate (Oxford and Franklin counties) representatives: Dottie at 207-364-2197, Sue at 207-418-7904, or Louise at 207-592-9933.

Use the QR code to go to Sun Spots online for additional information and links. This column is for you, our readers. It is for your questions and comments. There are only two rules: You must write to the column and sign your name (we won’t use it if you ask us not to). Please include your phone number. Letters will not be returned or answered by mail, and telephone calls will not be accepted. Your letters will appear as quickly as space allows. Address them to Sun Spots, P.O. Box 4400, Lewiston, ME 04243-4400. Inquiries can be emailed to [email protected], tweeted @SJ_SunSpots or posted on the Sun Spots Facebook page at facebook.com/SunJournalSunSpots. This column can also be read online at sunjournal.com/sunspots. We’ve joined Pinterest at pinterest.com/sj_sunspots.

Lefty Frizzell


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