30: Hey Cinderella

30: Hey Cinderella

From Chicken Soup for the Soul: Country Music

Hey Cinderella

Story by Suzy Bogguss

Song written by Suzy Bogguss, Matraca Berg, and Gary Harrison

Recorded by Suzy Bogguss

Matraca Berg and I had never written a song together before we wrote this song. So we sat down to have a chat about where we came from and our backgrounds and that kind of thing, just to get to know each other better. We were talking about how Matraca’s mom and my mom had grown up in the same time period. They had both gotten married in the late 1950s and we were talking about what a different time that was for women.

We started getting a little catty talking about how, if you had the right coffee pot and got all the right things on the gift register when you got married, then everything was going to work out fine for you. And a lot of times, of course, it didn’t. We were thinking about that bright-eyed, 1950s mentality, and how a lot of women bought it and then got clobbered, because they weren’t expecting what life eventually had in store for them. We all take different turns in life and you never know if you are going to take the same turns as your partner or not.

My big sister was a hero to me when I was little. I wanted to do everything she did. She played the drums; I wanted to play the drums. She left her guitar at home and I picked it up and began playing it. I also really admired my mom. She and her friends were a lot different from the typical Donna Reed type. They were kind of salty. In a lot of ways, my mom didn’t really buy into the things that a lot of women her age believed, that all your happiness is going to come from a man or staying home or whatever. She was a working mother and she had her own friends outside of her relationship with my dad. I used to go bowling with her on Wednesday nights. She really encouraged me, just as a human being. She would have been as big a supporter of me if I had chosen to be a nurse or an engineer or whatever. She really gave us that “you can do anything if you work hard enough” attitude. That’s the problem with today’s young people. You can’t just build up their self-esteem without finding a way to get them motivated and driven to show what they can do. If you heap praise on them and they haven’t really done anything, then you’re really taking something away from them.

So Matraca and I were discussing these things, and we started needling the whole “Cinderella” thing more and more as we wrote the song. We were like, “Okay, come on, chick, now give us the real story here. What really happened?”

We were at Pat Higdon’s office and we went out to get a cup of coffee and Gary Harrison was there in the hallway, so we asked him to come in and give his perspective. We were told we might be getting a little too catty, so we said, “What are you doing? Come on in and help us write this song.” He’s a great lyricist. Matraca and I thought maybe this would help us write something that would be better than just a novelty song, and maybe help us edit out some of the nasty digs we were getting in, too.

We finished it that day and I took it home and played it for my husband. I’ve never been the type of person who wants to cut only what I write. This town is full of incredible writers and you have to find the best songs. But as soon as Doug heard it, he said, “Well, that’s a no-brainer. You have to cut that song.” So I did.

It’s funny how many of the lines are starting to come true in my life now, especially the line that says, “Sometimes we still curse gravity when no one is around.” I’ve been happily married for 24 years now, but I’ve seen a few of my friend’s marriages explode. It’s not an easy thing to watch, especially if you’ve been friends with both of them and now you have to pick one. It’s really difficult to stay friends with both.

I love a good story. I tend to be a hopeless romantic and a cockeyed realist at the same time. So when I look for a song, I look for something that has a good story and redeemable characters in it and has a message, but I try not to be too bitter when I’m writing it. I think this song accomplished both.

Hey Cinderella

We believed in fairy tales that day

I watched your father give you away

Your aim was true when the pink bouquet

Fell right into my hands

We danced for hours and we drank champagne

You screamed and laughed when I got up and sang

And then you rode away in a white Mustang

To your castle in the sand

Through the years and the kids and the jobs

And the dreams that lost their way

Do you ever stop and wonder

Do you ever just wanna say

Hey hey, Cinderella, what’s the story all about?

I got a funny feeling we missed a page or two somehow

Oh-oh, Cinderella, maybe you could help us out

Does that shoe fit you now?

We’re older but no more the wise

We’ve learned the art of compromise

Sometimes we laugh, sometimes we cry

And sometimes we just break down

We’re good now ’cause we have to be

Come to terms with our vanity

Sometimes we still curse gravity

When no one is around

Yeah, our dolls gather dust in the corner of the attic

And bicycles rust in the rain

Still we walk in that fabled shadow

Sometimes we call her name

Hey hey, Cinderella, what’s the story all about?

I got a funny feeling we missed a page or two somehow

Oh-oh, Cinderella, maybe you could help us out

Does that shoe fit you now?

Hey! Cinderella, maybe you could help us out

Does the shoe fit you now?

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