Monday, August 10, 2009

A Letter To My Granddaughter Emily From 2001

August 10, 2001

Dearest Emily,

When I was a little girl and we lived on Williams Street in Alpha, NJ my sisters; Irene and Ruth Ann, our next door neighbors Gloria, and Mary Ann, and I all set out to have some fun in the attic.

Our mom who is your Great Grammy Ruth, was busy doing her usual household chores, and didn't know we were up in the attic having a real fun time. We would rummage through card board boxes filled with all kinds of treasures.

Some boxes were filled with Christmas decorations, train sets, old clothes, curtains, plastic flowers, and old toys that we forgot we had, but now seemed like a wondrous find.

Suddenly one of us got this great idea that we would dress Ruth Ann who was about four or five years old, up like a bride using the curtains, and the plastic flowers were her bouquet. Then we dressed Gloria' s little brother Bobby up as the groom, he was a year or two younger than Ruth Ann. We then paraded them around the neighborhood.

On another occasion Mary Ann and I dressed up wearing full length, poofy, 1950s style prom gowns that Mom' s friend June gave to us. The gowns were her teenage daughter's gowns. I had seen a post card my Nannie Wahlers sent from Cypress Gardens in Florida. On the front of the post card there were beautiful women in full length, poofy gowns sitting on the lawn of a lush garden area. So Mary Ann and I dressed up and headed to her family's lush green lawn that bordered the main street, Rt. 519 or Third Avenue in Alpha. We sat down and fluffed up our dresses and sat there looking pretty and waving to passers by. We were picture post card beauties for that one lovely afternoon when we were little girls.
Let Me Tell You About Minnie The Moocher ~And ~The Old Victrola

Well, by the time we moved to Central Avenue, our snack shop/store called Alpha Luncheonette we were seasoned "Attic Performers." We thought we had all the fun a person could have in an attic. Then one day Ruth Ann, Irene, our friends Cynthia and Celia, and I commenced to looking for some fun. We had plenty of fun in the store, and the cellar is another story to be written in another letter. So we headed on up to the attic, after all it had been awhile and this attic was new to us.

Oh what a treasure was waiting for four preteen girls that lovely warm day. There it stood a tall wooden table of some sort with a crank on one side. We wondered what this could be. After noticing it had a lid that opened, we looked inside. Well, it looked similar to my record player. There were doors in the front of the cabinet. I opened them and there they were; very thick hard records. One record was "Rings and Things and Buttons and Bows" sung by Red Buttons, and the other was to become our particular favorite; Cab Calloway's "Minnie the Moocher." We were bright girls and in no time we figured out that if we cranked it and put the needle on the record we would hear music. As we played Minnie the Moocher we danced around the attic waving our arms high up in the air singing along to the words:

Minnie the Moocher

Folks here's a story 'bout Minnie the Moocher She was a red hot hoochie-coocher She was the roughest toughest frail But Minnie had a heart as big as a whale - Hi-de-hi-de-hi-de-hi.... (Hi-de-hi-de-hi-de-hi) Whoa-oh-oho-oh-oh-oho.... (Whoa-oh-oho-oh-oh-oho) Ee-de-ee-de-ee-de-ee.... (Ee-de-ee-de-ee-de-ee) Way-hey-ey-ay-ee-ay-ay-ay.... (Way-hey-ey-ay-ee-ay-ay-ay) - She messed around with a bloke named Smokey She loved him though he was Coke-y He took her down to Chinatown And he showed her how to kick the gong(?) around - Hi-de-hi-de-hi-de-hi.... (Hi-de-hi-de-hi-de-hi) Whoa-oh-oho-oh-oh-oho.... (Whoa-oh-oho-oh-oh-oho) Yeah-eah-aa-aheah-ah-ah-ah.... (Yeah-eah-aa-aheah-ah-ah-ah) Whoa--ioh--ioh--iohh.... (Whoa--ioh--ioh--iohh) - She had a dream about the king of Sweden He gave her things that she was needin' He gave her a home built of gold 'n steel A diamond car ... with big pl-atinum wheels - Hi-de-i-de-i-de-i-de-iii.... (Hi-de-i-de-i-de-i-de-iii) Oh-de-oh-de-oh-de-oh-de-O-oh.... (Oh-de-oh-de-oh-de-oh-de-O-oh) Skitleedatleedootidituditooey.... (Skitleedatleedootidituditooey) A-boo-rrigi-boo-rrigi-boo-rigi-ay.... (A-boo-rrigi-boo-rrigi-boo-rigi-ay) - He gave her a townhouse and his racing horses Each meal she ate was a dozen courses She had a million dollars worth of nickels and dimes She sat around and counted them a million times - Hi-de-hi-de-hi-de-i.... (Hi-de-hi-de-hi-de-i) Whoahohohohohohooooooh.... (Whoahohohohohohooooooh) Whay-hey-heey-heey-hey-a-ay.... (Whay-hey-heey-heey-hey-a-ay) Whoa-oh - Whoa-oh.... (Whoa-oh - Whoa-oh) - Poor Minnie Poor Minnie Poor Minnie....

We had so much fun that day, we would go back to the attic often and play those old records and dance around. When my sisters and I reminisce about the fun times of our youth we always remember fondly those days of singing Minnie the Moocher as we took turns cranking up the old Victrola in the attic.

Usually the attic was off limits. And when my bedroom was just to the left of the attic door, I would have nightmares about a witch coming out of the attic to get me. But my scariest memory of the attic was when my mommy would gather the three of us girls together to go up to the attic to rip buttons and zippers off of old clothes that were to be put in burlap bags and then taken to the junk yard and sold as rags. Oh, how I hated the attic then!

Emily, I hope you find fun in simple things like playing with old clothes, pretending to be a bride or a beautiful lady sitting in a garden. Dancing your heart out to old records and finding old toys and thinking of them as treasures!

With All My Love, Grammy

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