On good days (luckily for me, there were plenty of those) Mom and I spent a lot of time shopping “downtown”. Downtown as in Dover, a cool old town known for its variety of diners, pizzerias, record shops and retail stores like J.C. Penney, Woolworth’s, JJ Newberry and Sears (actual stand-alone department stores, as these were the days long before malls took over the shopping scene). A frequent spot Mom and I would visit was the historical Dover Public Library, a place I always found so intimidating (this old brick building seemed so large to me – it housed dark wooden staircases, creaky banisters and always had a slightly musty mixture of sour and stale smells. Plus, those never smiling oh-so-serious women who worked there, who always wanted us kids to be quiet – geesh!)
Our library had 45 minutes set aside each week for the moms to browse books on the “mystery” floor, and the children would have story and coloring time downstairs in the “kiddie” area. I remember I couldn’t wait to be grown up, so I could go upstairs and browse all of those alluring adult novels. So there I was with the other kiddies sketching away — a pretty simple concept, until it came time for me to show my inner Degas I just unleased.
(Italian Lesson: Library = biblioteca)
You see, a day or two earlier, I happened to see my Dad in his birthday suit, when I just happened to be strolling by their bedroom while dad was getting dressed for work that morning — oops! I asked my mom what that “thing” was that Dad had kind-of hanging there, and she promptly told me “oh, that’s his ‘ding-a-ling’”. Aha- that Chuck Berry song! Now I know what Chuck was singing about!
Well, you can imagine what our storytime librarian did when a proud little me handed in my drawing of a naked man with his dangling ding-a-ling. My mother was immediately found and pulled aside by the staff to see what was going on in our family. All was explained, and mom told me it may be best to keep my new ding-a-ling findings to myself.
OK, Ding-a-ling talk is now over, hope you enjoyed. Now please go back to the home of Madness: www.madnessmomandme.com.
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