Saturday, January 25, 2014

Romper Room

In the late 1950’s, TV choices for preschoolers were very limited. Sesame Street hadn’t been born. Cartoons were only shown after school and on Saturday mornings. Captain Kangaroo wasn’t much of an option for me, as I didn’t like his weird girly hairdo. That left a local kid’s show called Romper Room, hosted by Miss Barbara (and later Miss Julie). I watched it every day. It was chock full of meaningful lessons told with bees. The good bees, who did what they were told, were the Do Bees. The bad, misbehaving bees who broke the rules were the Don’t Bees. I gotta say, I was drawn to the Don’t Bees. The Do Bees were pretty dorky and boring. Miss Barbara had a see-through hand mirror that she would hold in front of her face at the end of the show. She’d say “Romper bomper stomper boo. Tell me, tell me, tell me do. Magic mirror please tell me today. Did all my friends have fun at play?”. One day she said “And I see Kim, who is sick today. We hope you feel better soon!”. I just knew she was looking at me through that magic mirror (and of course I was the only Kim in the entire world). I got my face an inch from the TV and yelled “I’m not sick! See? I’m just fine!!!”. For my fifth birthday, my mom took me to be on Romper Room. Apparently you had to have a reservation to be on the show. You couldn’t just waltz right in (even if it was your fifth birthday). There were kids who had been on the show all week. I was allowed to pick a toy off the set to play with out in the audience. I think they were trying to appease me, since they were breaking my heart on my big day. A kid who had been on the show all week looked for his favorite toy, which I had in my ticked-off little hands. Tee hee. He was really mad, and I didn’t care. This was my first brush with Schadenfreude (pleasure derived from the misfortune of others). Hey, don’t mess with the Birthday Princess. Ask any Do Bee... it’s bad form.

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