Eleanor Rigby and Fannie Butts

As the Divine Doc M and I prepare to drive to Boston to experience Sir Paul McCartney in concert, I’m listening to all my favorite Beatle’s songs. One of their best is “Eleanor Rigby,” inspired by a no longer obscure name on a grave in Liverpool.

I can never hear the song without thinking of an obscure grave in West Oneonta, N.Y., where my paternal grandparents and other relatives are buried. Perhaps no one remembers the Butts or the Sitts families, and their real stories are long forgotten. But, like Eleanor Rigby, I think they should also be imortalized in song:

Miss Fanny Whiteman
Fell for a charmer and married one Howard L. Butts.
Then changed her name
To Miss Fanny Butts.
But she never liked all the winks about her large arse
She called for no more.

All the sad arsed people
Where do they get their names?
All the sad arsed people.
Where do they get their names?

Miss Lizzy Butts
Fell for a bounder and ran off with Earl D. Sitts
Became Betty Butts Sitts,
Honeymooned in the Ritz  
Invited her sister, the shy and demure Hazel Butts
To live in her house.

All the sad arsed people
Where do they get their names?
All the sad arsed people.
Where do they get their names?

Old Howard Butts,
Fanny Whiteman Butts and also Miz Betty Butts Sitts
Snuggle Together
In an untended grave
With Earl D. Sitts and the unmarried Miss Hazel Butts,
Sitting Forever.

All the sad arsed people
Where do they get their names?
All the sad arsed people.
Where do they get their names?

About Philip E Jenks

Philip, a synodical deacon in the ELCA Metropolitan New York synod, is a retired communicator for American Baptist Churches USA, the U.S. Conference for the World Council of Churches, the U.S. National Council of Churches, and two Philadelphia area daily newspapers. He and his spouse, the Rev. Dr. Martha M. Cruz, are the parents of six adults and are members of St. Paul's Evangelical Lutheran Church in Rye Brook, N.Y. They live in Port Chester, N.Y.
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