I’ve been reading in Mavis Gallant’s Paris Stories, most recently “The Moslem Wife”, and no doubt that brought this lyric to mind first thing this morning –a song I know from a 1952 Dunster Dunces record that I wish I could find again:
We never mention Aunt Clara Her picture is turned to the wall For she lives on the French Riviera Mother says she is dead to us all She used to sing hymns in the old village choir She used to teach Sunday School class At playing the organ she never would tire But those dear days are gone now and past With presents he tempted and lured her to sin Her innocent virtue to smirch But Aunt Clara was strong and she never gave in 'Til he gave her the keys to the church They said that Hell Fire would punish her sin She'd burn for her carryings-on But just at this moment she's toasting her skin In a villa near Old Avignon We never mention Aunt Clara But I think that when I grow up tall I shall go to the French Riviera And let Mother turn me to the wall
A bit of Googly diligence turns up other versions, which it’s probably just as well I didn’t encounter as a precocious 10-year old. One such, well worth your time if you are so inclined, boasts this explanatory verse:
So then on the organ she'd practice and play; The preacher would pump up and down. His wife caught him pumping her organ one day And that's why Aunt Clara left town.
Honeymonstercxix, channeling Hamish Imlach, bless him, knows that one:
…and there are others that may be of interest is Honeymonster’s oeuvre too.
And there’s more backstory, assigning the original to Ruth and Eugene Willis ca. 1936, further elaborated and perhaps inspired by Irene Adler, of Sherlock Holmes fame. Or not. Perhaps Library of Congress has the last word. Or not.