We Hate to See You Go, Goodbye Song

My informant AS shared with me a goodbye song:


We’re sorry you’re going away

We wish that you could stay

Our prayers will be with you

We really will miss you

We’re sorry you’re going away


We hate to see you go,

We hate to see you go,

We hope to heck you never come back,

We hate to see you go


AS explained, “The story is we moved from Charlotte, North Carolina to Seattle, Washington. We drove across the country in June of 1998. And uh, maybe July. And that first two years that we lived in Seattle literally every one of my parents—all of our family friends visited from the East Coast to Seattle. And we always gave them the same exact tour. The number of times that I had to go to Pike Place Market and the Ballard Locks.  And then we always sang that to them when they left.”

I asked AS how or where he learned the song? “Just my parents…I don’t know.  Who can say? I mean I was six or seven so I wasn’t really thinking of asking these hard hitters.”

AS learned the song from his parents.  I talked to his father about the song.  He explained that he had learned the song from his aunt and uncle when he was growing up in New Jersey.  AS mentioned that the line “our prayers will be with you” was weird to him as his family is not religious.  But his great uncle did go to a Christian high school on Long Island, so perhaps this song comes out of his uncle’s experience there.

This song was casual and comedic to AS and his family.  Interestingly, the line “we hope to heck you never come back” is the fastest line when singing the song.  I even had trouble understanding that lyric the first time AS sang the song.  It’s almost as if AS and his family were playing a little joke on their visitors.  Though, it’s not meant to be taken to heart.

Each time AS and his family performed the song, it was after another family had spent a weekend with his family, touring the city, sharing meals, etc–doing things together as families.  So it is fitting that AS and his family perform a sort of ritual goodbye to cap off a weekend of ritualized touring.

This song is important to AS because it reminds him of a time when he, his brother, sister, mom and dad were all under one roof. It was before anyone went off to college or got married.  AS explained, “It was when we were the most keyed into the five of us being a family.”