Category Archives: Memories

No soap radio

My dad was a funny guy and had witty stories and jokes ready for any occasion. I don’t really remember too many of the stories and only remember one of his jokes. Maybe two.

The joke I definitely remember made no sense to me when I was a kid. When I grew up I figured it was funny to someone who was in the “know” about the “golden days of radio” because it sure made my dad laugh. It was not until this afternoon that I realized that my dad was not telling me a joke as much as pranking me.

“Momma Bear and Poppa Bear were taking a bath.

Momma Bear said, “Poppa Bear, pass me the soap, dear.”

Poppa Bear said, “No soap, radio.”

After telling the joke my dad would laugh and laugh and laugh. I’d say I didn’t get it. He’d say, “No soap, radio! No soap radio!” I’d tell him I still didn’t get it. I’d ask what it meant, but he could never seem to explain it to me and said, “never mind” when I bugged him about it.

I told other people the joke and no one else understood it either. How could my father laugh so heartily at a joke that no one understood?

When I grew up I’d think back to the joke and try to understand it. I finally came to the conclusion that it must have had something to do with the olden days and radio programs. That maybe the people that grew up listening to soap operas on the radio understood the joke and that since I hadn’t I’d never hope to understand the joke.

This afternoon I brought the joke up with Dean. He remembered me telling him about it years ago. I told him my theory and he suggested that I consult Professor Internet. I did and what I found out kind of made me sad.

It turns out that the “No soap radio” joke was a prank that may have started in the 1950s. A group of friends would be in on the joke, one person would tell it (or a variation of it) and all the friends would laugh. If the person being pranked laughed, the others would laugh and ask what was funny.

So when my father told it and I didn’t laugh but asked what it meant, how did that make him feel? Was he disappointed that I didn’t do what was expected? Would I have laughed if other people were also laughing? Should I be upset that he was trying to prank me? Does it really matter? Should I stop obsessing on this?

Dad at the Wonder Spot in Wisconsin Dells, Wisconsin 1954

Old Writing: Part 12::What I’ll be Someday

This was written on October 4, 1966. Three years later I will write another paper about my future.

What I’ll be Someday

I want to be a nurse and I want to be a teacher too because I like school. If I were to babysit for my brother I might like it and on the other hand, I might not like it.

I can name a few of the things I want to be, like a nurse, teacher, nursery teacher, Sunday school teacher or an animal hospital nurse because I love animals.

I hope I get married and have a dog, cat and a few hamsters.

The teacher writes “what about children??” after the last sentence.

Old Writing: Part 11::My Parents

This was written November 1966. Probably 4th grade.

My Parents

I love my parents very much. I need them very much because if I did not have them I cold not tell them my troubles.

My dad is a mechanic. He is the only speedometer man in Elgin and my mom is a housewife. They both love me and I love me and I love them.

For my birthday once I got to go and see a movie called “Jack the Giant Killer” and then I got a kitten for my birthday. And I got a radio and alarm clock. But before my brother was born I got to do more things than now. I love my mom and dad. They spank me sometimes but I love them very much. They kiss me every day when I go to bed or when I get up in the morning or when I go somewhere and when I eat a good meal.

No comment on this one…

 

7-22-04: Three accounts of one day

Nearly thirteen years ago the kids and I set out on a drive to Illinois. Dean must have been on a business trip. For one reason or another, the kids and I each wrote our account of the day on Holiday Inn stationery. We really didn’t need to write down the part about the seatbelt — none of us will ever forget that.

My view:

7-22-04

Left home at 11:10 this morning. Had hoped to get an earlier start but no luck. The kids were fine. Great first few hours then they began watching LOTR-FOTR. Stopped in good old Breezewood for lunch and gas. Bought too much food.

Arrived at motel in Fremont, Ohio around 7:30. Checked in. Kids wanted to stay in the car.

When I got back Clare was doing something to Andrew’s back. I jokingly asked Clare what did she do to Andrew. Then I saw that he had the seatbelt all tangled up and round his belly. I helped him escape and was on the verge of calling 911 to get him out. He finally did a backward somersault and slipped free. Dinner was good.

Kids watching TV now.

Dona

Andrew’s view (he was 11)

7-22-04

We left a lot later than I wanted to but we had TV. Then we ate lunch at a fine place. Then I had to go to the bathroom really really bad. Then we went to a place we went last time. Then stuff happened. And then…I got stuck in my seatbelt and I got to do a somersault. It was weird.

Clare’s view (she was nearly 13)

Today was funny…Halloween woke me up. Awwwww. Mom was mad. Dad left blah blah blah. OK later, Andrew got stuck in the seatbelt. Umm, I have no clue how. He had to do a backward somersault. errr.. Dinner was odd… umm mom probably told you. A cute kid (adorable) waved. He was 2. Then a thunderstorm came. I went to our room and am watching TV now. The seatbelt disappeared in his tummy. GTG ~*Clare*~

Declutter 2017: Little Golden Records

For the past few decades I’ve been in the market for an affordable record player that was capable of playing 78s because I had a pile of Little Golden Records from my childhood that I wanted to hear again. I remembered playing some of these records over and over again and even wrote about them in a memoir essay for a college class. I felt sure that I was going to be suddenly transported back to that pink room on Mountain Street.

little golden recordsA few months ago I pulled out the records and looked at the titles. I figured I probably didn’t need to play them again because I assumed I could find them on the Internet. While I did find some, I could not find all of the recordings. But it didn’t matter because I realized that my memories of the records were somewhat false. For instance, I was sure that Walt Disney himself was singing “Bibbity Boppity Boop!” on one of the records but it turned out to be Mitch Miller and the Sandpipers.

Not long after I’d decided I should just toss the Little Golden Records in the trash, I found a great deal on a small portable record player capable of playing 78s. It was about the size of my childhood record player. I bought it and when it arrived I immediately plugged it in and played one of the records. No feeling of nostalgia. I tried another. Same thing. Nothing. Looking at the titles, I don’t think that any of these records will give me that warm, slightly bittersweet feeling of longing for the simpler days of being a kid that I was hoping for, expecting.

I sit here wondering why these circles of yellow plastic don’t bring back fond memories. Is it that I am so old that I’ve forgotten actually playing them? Is it because I don’t need to feel nostalgic about these songs? Is it because I’ve got lots of better memories than being 5 years old listening to records in my bedroom? I don’t know, and I think I should stop wasting my time on wondering.

These, warped and scratched up as they are and worthless, will go in the trash today. Also, they smell bad.

Here’s a video that someone with an unscratched record posted on YouTube. It’s the only record with a singer other than Mitch Miller and his orchestra plus the Sandpipers.

Old Writing: Part 7::What Do I Want to Be?

It seems like this was from a prompt. I wrote it in 1969 so that would have made me going on 13 years old. I was either in 5th or 6th grade.

Dona P. 23
4-21-69

What Do I Want to Be?

What do I want to be? Well, I’ll tell you. I want to be a Kindergarten teacher. I want to be a book writer also. I want to write because I like to read and the writers now don’t write enough books to keep me busy reading so I if am a book writer I can have a side job as a Kindergarten teacher or vice versa.

I want to be a kindergarten teacher because I adore small children. I would not like to be any other grade teacher except maybe first grade.

So there, I told you my secret. I’ll probably change my mind because I have in the past, many times. For instance, I used to want to be a surgical nurse. But don’t you think that’s too gory?

Tanner

Probably the best gift I ever gave anyone was the Christmas I gave my brother a puppy. He’d recently lost his dog, Franz, and somehow Dean and I found out about a litter of puppies that were being given away in Elgin. Dean and I picked out a female, brought it to my apartment for a few days, then presented it to Kevin on Christmas Day.

I think he liked her.

Dog with a bow
The best gift ever
Tanner biting Kevin's fingers
Sharp puppy teeth

Kevin named her Tanner and she grew up to be a wonderful companion. Unfortunately, however, she only lived about 18 months. Our next door neighbor misused weed killer near the fence that separated our properties and it eventually killed Tanner as well as his own dog.

Fountain at Cair Paravel by Jeremy

Many years ago I was friends with an art student. He’s an artist now. He and I shared a love of the Chronicles of Narnia so he painted a scene from Prince Caspian for me. I believe this is supposed to be part of the courtyard at Cair Paravel.

I am too lazy to find my copy of Prince Caspian to find the passage where this is described, but let’s just assume my memory is correct.

I tried to translate the runes, but either my translator is wrong or Jeremy tossed in some non-standard runes.

Declutter 2017: Creative Work for Your Child’s Hands

When I was very young — 3 years old, perhaps — my mother bought or was given a book about crafts for children (a Web search indicates that it came with the My Book House set). While I remember making one or two of the crafts in the book, I mostly remember looking at the book over the years.

The one project I remember doing with my mother was the Indian Designs project. It involved soaking a square cut from brown grocery bag in warm water, squeezing the water out and letting it dry while stretched out. When it was dry we cut it into a bear skin shape and decorated it with  “Indian” designs. I remember the rough feel of the paper after it was dried and can almost even smell the wet brown paper bag. This may or may not have been a school project, but I do remember having that pretend bear skin sitting around my bedroom for years.

Some of the crafts in the book seem complicated and requiring materials not found in an average person’s home (for instance, Bunny Doorstop which calls for basswood, whatever that is and a coping saw (again — whatever that is). Others involve only a few materials (for instance Paper Tearing).

I held onto this book first, because I thought I might be able to use some of the ideas with my students (never did) and second, I thought that I might use some of the ideas with my own children (again, never did). Now I hang onto it because I remember poring over it as a kid, dreaming of the day we’d make A Moving Picture Show in a Box or Valentine Hats or Scottie Caps.

So, joy? Maybe a little. It’s a keeper.