When I was a little kid, there was a magical lady who appeared on TV every weekday morning. Her name was Miss Mary Ann and she was smart and pretty and all the little children in the land loved her. She hosted a local TV show called “Romper Room” and at the end of each show she would look into her Magic Mirror where she could see wonderful children in their homes and would call them by name!
I would wait by that TV every day to hear my name, but all I ever heard was, “I see Sharon and Michael and Susie and Bobby … ” blah, blah, blah. Why did she not see me? Did she only see children with common names? Why did my name have to be so damn exotic?!! Of course, by the time I got to the 8th grade there were three other Lisa’s in my class, so I don’t know what was so fancy about about my name that Miss Mary Ann couldn’t see me. Or maybe it was because I wasn’t a good DO BEE. Good Romper Room DO BEE’s had manners and curtsied and all that crap. We learned that from the big crazy bee on Romper Room. A DON’T BEE didn’t mind their parents and probably had to eat mush every day. Hmmm.
There was a whole mess of little DO BEE’s on Romper Room each day romping around the sound stage. As a little kid I wanted to be on Romper Room about as much as I want to be on Wheel of Fortune now — which is a lot. Apparently Romper Room was broadcast in all the US major markets, and even other countries (a damn franchise, can you believe it?!), but as a kid, I thought our Romper Room filmed in Oakland was the only magical Romper Room in the world. And Miss Mary Ann had the same name as my Mom, so I thought it was the grooviest thing ever.
Back in the late ‘60s and early ‘70s most parents didn’t send the moms to work just to make money to pay for daycare. Heck no, our parents originated the Electronic Babysitting System … and it was Romper Room. It was like kid crack and we sat there hypnotized — or walking on tin cans with strings attached to them to copy the fancy plastic shoe toys they hyped on the show, or bending and stretching and reaching for the stars or anything else that magnificent woman told us to do. And at the end of each show, there was the payoff:
“Romper, bomper, stomper boo. Tell me, tell me, tell me, do. Magic Mirror, tell me today, have all my friends had fun at play?” That’s when the name calling started. It was almost better than finding a dime under your pillow left by the Tooth Fairy.
Finally one glorious day, the heavens parted and Miss Mary Ann actually said my name!! She saw me, she really saw me!! And my Mary Ann can see you, too … so stay tuned, and if you’re a good DO BEE, you just might see your name pop up in Mary Ann’s Magic Mirror List during your birthday month!