All posts by Dona

Playbill from A Chorus Line, Drury Theatre, London 1979

I student taught in London the spring term of 1979. I can’t say that I learned much about teaching during those few months, but I sure had a blast in London.

One night a bunch of us, mostly — perhaps all — American students, went to Theatre Royal Drury Lane to see the musical A Chorus Line. I loved the musical (and still have the LP I bought after getting back to the States). Music from that show brings back such vivid memories of sights and sounds and even smells of my time in London. On the way back from the show we danced, linked arms and kicking, chorus-line-style through the streets of London, down the steps of the Underground, and back to Southlands College.

Good memories. I don’t need to keep this. Is there a market for vintage playbills?

Note from Carol and Chuck

I wrote about Chuckles before — the white Teddy (polar?) bear that I was given my last night working at the Manor Pancake house in Elgin. Here’s what I said:

I know exactly where this last item came from. In 1978 I was working as a server at the Manor Pancake House in Elgin to pay for my upcoming +3-month long stay in England to student teach in London. I’d worked there long enough to have “regulars” and this item came from my favorite “regulars,” Carol and her workmate Chuck. They worked at Beef Villa and we got to know each other through visits to one another’s places of employment. I don’t know that we ever actually hung out together except at work.

Anyway, on my last evening at work before my trip to England was a very snowy one. I didn’t expect to see too many people I knew at the restaurant, but pretty much all of my “regulars” came in to say goodbye to me. I was really touched. Carol and Chuck even brought me a present. A stuffed polar bear. I named him Chuckles — sort of a combination of Chuck and Carol. All these years later, the three of us have reconnected (on Facebook of course). Chuckles is a keeper.

A few found things, Clutch Cargo Lips, November 5, 2017

Today, in a makeshift scrapbook full of old memorabilia, I came across the note they wrote on a restaurant napkin the night they gave me Chuckles. All these years later it still makes me smile. (No, I’m not crying — it’s my allergies…)

Dear Dona,

I can’t tell you how much we’ll miss you. You’re just a great person, and we looked forward to talk to you every night. We wish you the best of everything for whatever you do and for the future.

Hope everything goes your way with Jeremy.

Just be happy,

P.S. Stop in and see us if you get a chance.
P.P.S. Be good
P.P.P.S. Have a jolly good time in merry ole England
P.P.P.P.S. Take care of Chuckles

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.