Mom1973-3Today would have been my mother’s 106th birthday, making it the 33rd anniversary of her passing.

This is one of the silly songs she sang. I can’t hear it ever without thinking of her, singing as she worked or painted or sewed. With a dish towel slung over her shoulder and her eyeglasses pushed to the top of her head. Mom, I still miss you.

On the television, they were forming a magic circle and chanting in strange tongues. “Chickery chick, cha la, cha …” I answered. It made as much sense as whatever those actors were saying.

And Garry said “What?”

I responded with “In a bananika bollika, wollika.”

He still looked blank. I couldn’t believe he didn’t recognize this musical gem, so brilliant that although I cannot remember where I left my coffee, I can still remember all the meaningless syllables that almost resemble words to this catchy little ditty.

For all you nonsense-deprived people for whom the world is too serious a place, let me offer you this mildly amusing World War II era classic. My mother sang this as she (reluctantly) did (as little as she could get away with) housework.

She could never properly remember the words to any song … but she remembered the words to this one. Maybe because they aren’t real words?

This is obviously the recording of a scratchy, old 78 RPM record. Many people recorded this song, but I could not find any versions of it with better audio. Maybe you’ll have more luck than me.


(Written by: Sidney Lippman / Sylvia Dee)

Recorded by: 
Sammy Kaye & His Orch.(vocals: Nancy Norman & Billy Williams) – 1945
Gene Krupa & His Orch. (vocal: Buddy Stewart) – 1945
George Olsen & His Orch. (vocals: Judith Blair & Ray Adams) – 1945
Evelyn Knight & The Three Jesters – 1945
Frank Sinatra (Radio Transcription) – 1946

Once there lived a chicken who would say
“Chick-chick, chick-chick” all day
Soon that chick got sick and tired of just “chick-chick”
So one morning he started to say

Chickery chick, cha-la, cha-la
Check-a-la romey, in a bananika
Bollika, wollika, can’t you see?
Chickery chick is me.

Every time you’re sick and tired of just the same old thing
Sayin’ just the same old words all day
Be just like the chicken who found something new to sing
Open up your mouth and start to say

Oh! Chickery chick, cha-la, cha-la
Check-a-la romey, in a bananika
Bollika, wollika, can’t you see?
Chickery chick is me.

Categories: Humor, In Memorium, Mother and motherhood, Music

Tags: , , , , , , ,

19 replies

  1. Just love it (Andrews Sisters version), Marilyn! I can just picture your Mom singing the dreary house cleaning hours away. It brings back so many memories of my own Mom and Dad harmonizing to so many of the popular tunes from that era. In fact, I loved those songs. Thanks for jogging up some special memories! 🙂


  2. Great song. Thanks for introducing it to me.


  3. I never heard the song before either, Marilyn.
    Your mother passed on the 2nd December and my mother passed on the 3rd of December. I always get a little sentimental this time of year.


  4. This was one of the travel songs my parents taught us for long road trips. Brings back great memories. Also “Mairzy Doats”. Thanks for the great stroll through memory lane!


  5. Must say I do not know the song, but our parents all had their favourites. They are the memories to keep. My mum did not sing so much, only at cockney get togethers in the family, but dad always had a song or two ready – he had a good voice.


    • There were a lot of those nonsense songs during the war. i guess people needed something to cheer them up. Considering how awful things are here, we may see a revival of these ditties. We, too, need something to smile about.


  6. Well, believe it or not, I’ve never heard that either! I love it, and I can imagine a mom in WWII singing it all day long and making up hand games to play with her children!What fun to come up with those memories!


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