Second Hand Rose?

Six of the candidates who’re competing for Iowa’s first district congressional seat were in Johnston, Iowa this morning for taping of  IPTV’s Iowa Press. You can read the stories at, but you can’t read about "Second Hand Rose" there. Here’s the scoop:

After the GOPers had appeared on camera, they trekked out to the lobby where reporters were holed up.  Dix and Kennedy stood at about two paces, facing one another, as reporters asked Kennedy about his charges against Dix (regarding the Iowa Values Fund) and Dix responded.  Whalen stood about 10 paces away from the two, watching what he later termed the “blood sport” Dix and Kennedy were engaging in.  Whalen told reporters he felt a bit like “Second Hand Rose” because he’s been left out of the slinging.  He sang a few bars and told a story about hearing the song played over and over on the jukebox in a bar. 

After I wrote my news stories, I googled "Second Hand Rose" and came up with a few used clothes stores bearing that name as well as Second Hand Rose "the most seductive folk rock band in China" before I found the lyrics.  The song was written in 1921 and Fanny Brice sang it originally, but I’m betting Whalen was hearing the version sung in 1965 by Barbra Streisand.  Barbra sang "Second Hand Rose" in Funny Girl. Here are the lyrics:

Father has a business, strictly second hand.
Ev’rything from toothpicks, to a baby grand.
Stuff in our apartment, comes from Father’s store,
Even things I’m wearing, someone wore before.
It’s no wonder that I feel abused.
I never have a thing that ain’t been used.

I’m wearing second hand hats, second hand clothes,
That’s why they call me second hand Rose.
Even our piano in the parlor,
Father bought for ten cents on the dollar.
Second hand pearls, I’m wearing second hand curls,
I never got a single thing that’s new.
Even Jake the plumber, he’s the man I adore,
Had the nerve to tell me he’s been married before.
Everyone knows that I’m just second hand Rose,
From second avenue.

Each one in the family, kicks the whole day long.
Ev’ryone’s disgusted, ev’rything is wrong.
Second handed doggie, second handed cat,
Second handed welcome, second handed mat.
I think father’s head is made of wood,
He brings home lots of things that ain’t no good.

I’m wearing second hand shoes, second hand hose,
All the girls hand me their second hand beaux.
Even my pajamas when I don ‘em,
Have somebody else’s ‘nitials on ‘em.
Second hand rings, I’m sick of second hand things,
I never got what other girlies do.
Once while strolling through the Ritz a girl got my goat,
She nudged her friend and said, Oh look, there’s my old fur coat!
Everyone knows that I’m just second hand Rose,
From second avenue,
From second avenue…

And no, I do not have tape of Whalen singing this nor do I plan to think too much about using a second-hand toothpick.

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About O.Kay Henderson

O. Kay Henderson is the news director of Radio Iowa.