Dad’s tiny harmonica

When I was a kid the top drawer of my dad’s dresser was off-limits. That didn’t mean I never looked in the drawer. In fact, whenever I had the house to myself I would open the drawer and check out the contents. There were things I didn’t understand until later like a potholder set with male and female reproductive areas depicted, including fake fur that represented pubic hair. There was also an envelope that contained photos of a nude woman — these are pretty mild in today’s world. Classic, even.

There were two musical instruments. One was a Jaw harp (my dad called it a “Jew’s harp” but I always heard “Juice harp”) that I was not allowed to play because it could knock out a tooth, according to my mom. My dad would play it now and then, I think he was probably pretty good at it. The other musical instrument was a Pee Wee Harmonica. He would play that too, and I know he was good at it. I gave him a full-sized harmonica for Christmas one year and he played that for us. He was always appreciative of our compliments, I can remember his smile after playing.

I don’t think I ever really looked at the printing on the side of the Pee Wee harmonica, but it says it was made in Occupied Japan. Dad was in the Navy from 1948 to 1951 so it makes sense that he got this during that time since the Smithsonian American History website lists the date these were manufactured as 1945 to 1951.

It has a little circular hook to attach to a keychain, but I’ve been meaning to clean the Pee Wee Harmonica up and put it on a chain to wear as a necklace but never got around to it. Maybe today is the day.

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