Monday, January 19, 2009

I was looking through some transcripts of tape recordings I have made of my father for family history. He has told a few stories about things that happened when I and my sister Jill and brother Mark were little, as well as stories that happened long before we were born. I go through them occasionally when I am trying to jog my memory or am needing a topic for a memoir. He was born in 1923. I found this little fragment that happened in about 1928. I don't know if I should call it: "Song and Dance Man" or "Father, Dear Father, Come Home with Me Now."

In Detroit, when my father was four or five years old, his mother would often send him down the block to the speakeasy to tell his father to come home. My father would kick on the door, and the doorkeeper would look out the peephole. My father would continue to kick the door until the man looked down to see him and let him in. Then he would search through the crowd until he found grandpa. Grandpa would heft dad up onto the bar. The piano player would pound out a popular tune while my father danced along the bar, like a lot of street urchins did in those days to collect a penny or two from passersby. Sometimes he would sing as well, if he knew most of the words. The customers would tell him how cute he was and pinch his cheeks and buy him sodas and candy bars. He said that it sometimes took him a while to remember why grandma had sent him to the speakeasy because he was having so much fun.

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