In the Spring of 1948 my mother took my sister and me from our home in Missouri to Chicago, Illinois, where my father was stationed in the military. Mother had already filed for divorce, and this trip was a last-ditch (ultimately unsuccessful) effort at reconciliation, although I'm sure I didn't know that at the time.
We were in Chicago for approximately three weeks, during which we stayed in two different hotels. Mother told me years later that the hotels were awful, with garbage littering the halls. For other reasons, too, the trip was a nightmare for her, but the few memories I have of it are good ones.
The first place we stayed in Chicago was a small room with twin beds that pretty much filled it up. It must have been confining for a young woman with a five-year-old and a toddler. What I remember, though, is the good time I had sitting on one of the beds and using red plastic safety scissors to cut shapes out of slices of white bread. It was a really fun thing to do, and I was kind of surprised that Mother was letting me do it. I also recall eating breakfast in the hotel restaurant. The taste of the waffles there (my first maybe?) set the standard for every waffle I’ve ever eaten since.
Our second hotel room was much larger, at least from a five-year-old’s perspective. I vaguely remember beds and chairs, but the big attraction was a roll-top desk. I loved that desk. I’ve played “office”–-or worked in one--practically my whole life. I wonder if that desk got me started.
Our room in the second hotel was a couple of stories up from the ground floor, but the windows opened wide (no air conditioning back then), and I remember sitting in the open window, my arms folded and propped on the windowsill. Both the warm sunshine and a cool breeze kissed my face as I watched the hustle and bustle on the street below, and somewhere outside, not too far away, someone’s radio played this song:
You've got the cutest little
There's not another one
Could take your place,
My poor heart is jumpin’,
You sure have started somethin',
I'm up in heaven
When I'm in your fond embrace,
I didn't need a shove
Cause I just fell in love
With your pretty baby face.
“Baby Face” was recorded in 1948 by Art Mooney & His Orchestra
Words & music by Benny Davis & Harry Akst
UPDATE - 3/23/2013:
I came across this post today, did a quick check on YouTube, and learned that "Baby Face," which wasn't available when I wrote the above blog entry, has since been posted on YouTube. Thanks to TheLimePopsicle for putting it up there. Now you can listen to it if you want to.