Opal and Mother have always enjoyed telling stories about when they were little... or when their children were little... Some of my favorite times spent with them were listening to their stories.
A couple of the stories told by Opal and Mother involve nursery rhymes and books they read to me...
Nursery rhymes were a favorite of mine. What is it about the sing-song silliness of them that little children like? But... children don't always understand some of the strange new words and when reciting the rhymes themselves will substitute a more familiar word.
For instance... "Old Mother Hubbarb" ...
Do you know how it goes?
Well I would say, "Old Mother Hubbarb, went to the cupboard to get her poor dog a bone. When she got there, the cupboard was full of bears!..."
(instead of "the cupboard was bare")
"Little Miss Muffet" is another silly rhyme that doesn't make much sense. Who ever heard of "curds and whey" and what is a tuffet? Why not "Little Miss Drool sat on her stool"... Doesn't that make more sense? Anyway, as the story goes, my version went: "Little Miss Muffet sat on her tuffet eating her curtains away." teehee
When Matt was little his version of "Little Boy Blue" went like this: "Little Boy Blue come blow your horn the sheep's in the meadow, the cow's in the corn. Where's the little boy who looks after the sheep? He's under the wastebasket fast asleep." I guess Matt wasn't familiar with a haystack.
It goes on and on, listing things Bobby might like to buy. This was 1946 and I am struck by all the choices Bobby had with only a nickel to his name... a ball, truck, or an airplane, crayons, a balloon, marbles, or a whistle, book, a sand pail, kite, or jump rope, a top, piggy bank, peanuts, or cookies and more. I doubt you could buy anything at all with only one nickel today. Maybe if you had a dollar and were at The Dollar Store you could find something... Even with a dollar it would be hard to find some of the choices Bobby had. I guess that's inflation!!
"Bobby Had A Nickel" was the one book I insisted Mother read to me over and over again... until when I was about three I almost knew it by heart. I could fill in the last word on each page. Sometimes Mother would try to change the words, but she couldn't fool me and I'd correct her.
My own children had several favorite story books...
"The Oscar Book" about Oscar the Grouch from Sesame Street who doesn't want anyone reading his book and then is mad when you go away in the end. I think I must have bought it when Matt was little as it still has the price on it... 33 cents.
Another fun Sesame Street book was "Hide and Seek with Grover"... Grover keeps trying to hide in the book, in the crack, behind the word bubbles and so on and when you can see him, he is upset. In the end he says "Do you see Grover? Please say no." and when you do say no before turning the page, he is so excited and on the last page he says, "You are my BEST FRIEND!" This book cost 89 cents.
"WHAT WAS THAT?" is a book about a family of bears and after putting the little one to sleep he hears something that scars him so he goes to sleep in with his older brother, then they hear something and go to the next oldest until all of them are in with the parents and the bed breaks. The price of this one... 95 cents. They still make these kind of books however I think they are in the $2 to $3 price range now.
"Who Are You?" is a much smaller book, about 5 inches square to the other books 8 inches. The price on it is only 25 cents. It was always fun to read, full of silly questions and their possible answers. For instance:
Do you like to go to bed?
Would you rather play instead?
Do you go to bed and giggle?
Do you toss and squirm and wiggle?
Are you little?
Are you big?
Are you bigger
Than a pig?
and my favorite...
Is it Maude?
Is it Nancy?
Do you have a name that's fancy?
Is it Joe
Or even Caesar?
Do they call you Ebenezer?
When Mother wants
You home for lunch,
Does she call
Do you have a silly name,
Sidney, Sadie Sam or Sue...
Is your name just right for you?
We got all of these books when Wade was little, I guess, because they have his name on the inside. Yet, I remember Matt and Jill enjoyed them and laughed at them too... after all they were only 5 & 6 when Wade was born. I've saved the books all these years for when I had grandchildren.