Lee Pollock is the writer of the weekly column “The Anonymous Mother,” that has been published in The Daily Herald in Columbia, Tennessee, since July 2000. In November 2007 she published the book Will the Real Anonymous Mother Please Stand Up? through Cold Tree Press. The book is a compilation of some of her columns, and she is currently working on a second book of her columns. Julia is also the writer of “Random Lives,” a column that is also published in The Daily Herald. She is also a contributor to Muscadine Lines: A Southern Journal, and she has two short stories published in the book Muscadine Lines: A Southern Anthology. Julia has also written an unpublished novel titled A Southern Dog’s Tale, and she has written a collection of unpublished short stories. In addition she is a published songwriter and a member of ASCAP. Julia is a seventh grade language arts teacher at Whitthorne Middle School in Columbia, Tennessee. She and her husband Bruce live in Columbia, and they have four children and two cats.
Column by Julia Lee Pollock
Do Be a Do Bee
Never give up.
– Winston Churchill and 5 zillion other people
As a child, I spent countless hours in front of the old black and white TV in the living room, watching Miss Nancy on “Romper Room.” Those were some of the best days of my life – my two older sisters were in school, and I was home alone with my mother, where I had her all to myself.
Although Miss Nancy was my idol, I found it hard to emulate her. Early on, I struggled with being a “Do Bee.” Still, she taught me it was a worthy aspiration, and to this day I try to be a “Do Bee.”
My favorite part of “Romper Room” was the end. Every day, Miss Nancy would get out her magic mirror and wave to all the good little boys and girls out there in Do Bee Land. At this point, I would sit up and lean toward the TV, watching and waiting and hoping and praying that just once, she would call out my name. In my heart of hearts, I just knew that she would, yet it never happened.
I never gave up hope, but as time went by, I got mad. “Why wasn’t I a good Do Bee?” I would ask myself. “What’s so great about Billy and Tommy and Becky and Sue?”
One day, in desperation, I spotted my sisters’ dollar bills on the white vinyl chair in the living room. My mother had actually paid them for helping her vacuum. “Romper Room” had gone off, and my mother was outside pinching her petunias. Quickly, I turned on the vacuum cleaner and sucked those dollar bills right up, with great satisfaction.
If I couldn’t make Do Bee status, then I was going to have one great time being a Don’t Bee. Now I’m not saying it was Miss Nancy’s fault that I became a Don’t Bee. Lord knows, there’s no telling what kind of evil acts I would have committed if she had not introduced me to the Do Bee concept. I just wanted to hear her call out my name. Just once, and then I would be happy.
I got older, and had to go to school and leave the comfort of Mama and Miss Nancy. At school, I would dream of the days when I would be stretched out on the floor in my pajamas with feet, stuffing crackers or Frosted Flakes into my mouth and praying that Miss Nancy would call out my name.
With great trepidation, I finally grew up and gave up the notion of the magic mirror. Magic was for children and for dreamers, I sensibly told myself. But deep inside, I still believed that one day, Miss Nancy would call out my name.
Currently, the Do Bee struggle continues, but I no longer see myself as a Don’t Bee. Goodness is an aspiration, a goal we may never fully reach. Miss Nancy taught me that.
Two weeks ago, I was stuffing Ritz crackers into my mouth while nonchalantly checking my e-mail. Lo and behold, there was a message from THE Miss Nancy! Turns out, she has a relative here in Maury County who had sent her a column of mine that made reference to Miss Nancy and the “Romper Room” years.
In a matter of seconds, I went temporarily insane and became a five-year-old again. At first, I just stared at the e-mail with my mouth open, completely astonished. Then, I hit the reply button and asked, “Miss Nancy, is that really you? After all these years, are you finally calling out my name?”
She e-mailed me back and assured me that yes, it really was her. She also thanked ME for remembering the “Romper Room” years.
I have regained my sanity and I am living in the midst of a very good dream. Miss Nancy has called out my name, and I am a happy, happy girl.