When You and I Were Young (Maggie)

George Washington Johnson was a Canadian schoolteacher who fell in love with one of his pupils, Margaret “Maggie” Clark. They were married in 1864, but she died only a few months after their wedding. He wrote When You and I Were Young, Maggie for her. J.A. Butterfield set the poem to music, and it has become a standard among folk and bluegrass musicians.

While I was in Mountain View last May and participating in one of several jam sessions, I suggested we play Maggie, and I sang the lead vocal. When we finished, one of the players looked at me and said, “I’ve been playing that song in jam sessions for probably 30 years, and that’s the first time I heard it had words.”