The Meatball

K is a 20 year old student at USC. She grew up in an Italian-American household on the east coast, but places more emphasis on the American part than the Italian.

K and I grew up together, and one day we were reminiscing on things we remembered from elementary school (we went to different ones), she got very excited and asked me if I remembered the Meatball song, clearly expecting me to remember, and when I told her I had no idea what she was talking about she quickly launched into song:

On top of spaghetti,

All covered with cheese,

I lost my poor meatball,

When somebody sneezed.

It rolled off the table,

And on to the floor,

And then my poor meatball,

Rolled out of the door.

It rolled in the garden,

And under a bush,

And then my poor meatball,

Was nothing but mush.

The mush was as tasty

As tasty could be,

And then the next summer,

It grew into a tree.

The tree was all covered,

All covered with moss,

And on it grew meatballs,

And tomato sauce.

So if you eat spaghetti,

All covered with cheese,

Hold on to your meatball,

Whenever you sneeze.

K doesn’t remember where she first heard it, but she knows her dad used to sing it randomly. “He’s just an odd man and he would say it when we would sneeze and my mom would play into it when we sneezed and didn’t cover our mouths.”

What surprised me most about this piece was that she was so shocked that I had never heard it before. Growing up in the same town and spending a lot of time at each other’s houses, it surprised her that I had no recollection of it. I was especially intrigued by the vigor with which she recited the song, as it clearly made an imprint in her mind.