Steely Dan's "My Old School"

Awesome song, but in this Steely Dan song, what is:

a) What is Annendale? A college or high school, I WAG? If so, where is it located?

b) What will soon be in bloom outside her window in Annendale, I believe? I can’t tell what they’re saying. (Oleanders?)

c) What is a “wulverine” within the context of the lyrics? A bus line, like Greyhound, I WAG?

…Never going back to my old school!
Thanks, Jinx

William and Mary is in Annendale. Oleanders, yes.

Ok, but Wolverines in VA? Aren’t they some animal mascot of MN or WI? I don’t get this, either… Maybe they are trying to call the “Greyhound” logo a wolverine-like animal? - Jinx

Wait a second! William and Mary is in Williamsburg, VA! - Jinx

I grew up around Annandale,Virginia so this mention of Annandale in “My Old School” was the subject of much debate.

Oleander is a flowering shrub.

I always took wolverine to be preeeety much a substitute for Greyhound.

From the Steely Dan Website:

“Donald Fagen meets Walter Becker at Bard College in Annandale-On Hudson, New York in 1967. Fagen, a piano player, hears someone playing blues guitar in a student lounge and decides he must introduce himself. He discovers Becker playing a red Epiphone guitar and finds that they share the same interests in music and ironic senses of humor. A partnership is born.”

I had always thought of Annandale VA. till I read that. Certainly puts a whole different spin on the song.

I always took the Wolverine to be a train.

You can find the complete lyrics on the site as well.

W&M is in Williamsburg, VA

Annandale refers to Annandale on Hudson, where Bard College is located.

plnnr and **deathawk are correct. Becker and Fagen went to Bard.

The Wolverine was a train on the old New York Central line.

Hmm…they do sing “William and Mary won’t do”, so maybe they (and/or the girl they’re singing about) were once considering going there? transferring there? Well, either go to college or, run off to Gwadalajera (sp?), Mexico…?

Thanks, all…I’ll have to re-listen to the song now!

  • Jinx

A thousand pardons.

“Whoa, no, Guadalajara won’t do…”

I have no idea where I read this, but I recall someone asking Donald Fagan about the W&M reference. His answer: “It fit the meter.”

Hell, I play a red Epiphone.

Why didn’t anyone offer me a music career. I was all primed!

Does anyone know what that sound is right after the line “William and Mary won’t do”? It sounds like someone calling my name (Sam) and really creeped me out the first few times I heard it.