Canadian Culture: Peter and Lou

Tutoring social studies, you might wonder how your own experience fits. The tutor contemplates Valdy’s Peter and Lou.

I recall hearing Peter and Lou on the radio as a kid. Yesterday I suddenly felt great importance about looking it up, so did. It took a couple of tries; I didn’t know for sure the song’s title.

As it played on the computer, I wondered if I’m a sentimental middle-aged parent who can’t leave his own childhood behind. However, within a minute and a half, my fifteen-year-old son was up from playing video games, peeking in the kitchen. “We saw him in concert,” he commented.

Peter and Lou is about kids who skate “on Winter’s frozen lake.” They “take their turn” skating, painting…being kids. By the second stanza, they’re “hanging their skates on the wall” and leaving town: they’ve grown up.

Stanza three finds the narrator “standing alone on the ice”, realizing there’s nothing left for him but to leave town, as well. Yet, he anticipates, “If I should miss them….” Whether the narrator is their parent or friend, he doesn’t say.

Kids take for granted that they will change what they do: they know when to “hang up their skates on the wall.” The end of each stage of their childhood, then its ultimate end, is a reality they don’t question. Yet, a parent might realize the greatness of a kid at a given stage, then consider it, “standing alone on the ice”, long after the kid has forgotten.

Valdy is Canadian. I think he was about 31 when he wrote Peter and Lou. I’m impressed that someone so young would realize that song.


youtube: Peter and Lou

Jack of Oracle Tutoring by Jack and Diane, Campbell River, BC.

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