The Day My World Got Bigger

My Real Memoir

Learn how to sign your name! Seriously! Sometime near the end of 2nd grade, I signed my first work of art using an ancient form of chirography called “cursive.” It depicts a rather short Native American boy named ‘Hiawatha,’ as described by a rather tall white man named Longfellow (see what I did there?). Since all of my previous artworks were signed in print, rather than cursive, this makes my ‘Hiawatha’ picture extremely valuable (it’s now a closely-guarded artifact at the Smithsonian Institution in Washington, D.C.).

Signatures were a valued security device back before fingerprint scanners were invented. But even more importantly, being able to sign my name meant I could acquire a library card at the public library.

And having a library card meant that, for the first time in my life, I was allowed to leave our neighborhood alone (i.e. without a security device called an “adult”), and cross one of the two biggest and busiest streets in the city, Rosecrans (curiously, there’s no crossroad called Guildenstern–see what I did there?). Why did that matter? Because the library was located in the “Fabulous La Mirada Shopping Center,” the virtual center of my little suburban universe!

My world instantly got bigger! Now I could not only check out books, but I could visit:

  • Thrifty Drugs, where I would use my hard-earned allowance to buy a “hand-packed” scoop of Rocky Road, ride the coin-operated rocking horse, and eventually make goofy recordings in the “Make Your Own 45!” booth with my buddy Jeff!
  • J.J. Newberry’s, where I’d bought my “first girlfriend” her going-steady ring!
  • La Mirada Music, where I would eventually buy my first 45s, classics like “The Monster Mash,” and anything by the Beatles.
  • Hiram’s Supermarket, via which my other BFF Rory and I would enter forbidden realms!
  • Burgermaster, where I would try my first awful pre-fab pizza, sell my first hand-painted Open/Closed sign, a picture of a ghoul both in and out of his coffin (which for some reason they never used).
  • And the fabric store where I would pick-up the Singer Sewing Machine-sponsored music contest form that led to my band’s first (and only) national primetime television special!

In other words, so many milestones were passed, simply because I learned…

How to sign my name!

My Real Memoir is a series. To read the next one, click here.

About mitchteemley

Writer, Filmmaker, Humorist, Thinker-about-stuffer
This entry was posted in Humor, Memoir and tagged , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

29 Responses to The Day My World Got Bigger

  1. Names. Signing is like bellying up to the bar, owning our identities and all that goes with that “ownership.” Forging a signature could land you in prison. Identity theft is a profound violation. When I think of the creator willing to sign her/her work, I am overwhelmed with a sense of belonging. And obligation to live up to that name, that identity, that incredible gift….

    Liked by 3 people

  2. Mya says:

    A proud moment for sure! Have a good day!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Good thing you learn to sign your name, because you must get thousands of autograph requests a day …

    Liked by 3 people

  4. Pingback: The Day I Ran Away | Mitch Teemley

  5. But, where is a link to that intriguing Burgermaster story???

    Liked by 1 person

  6. numrhood says:

    i seen a record player recorder on a television series in the 70s

    Liked by 2 people

  7. francisashis says:

    You were smarter when you were a boy.You really look cute and the signature shows your maturity .Thanks for sharing .Take care.😊🌹

    Liked by 1 person

  8. HAT says:

    Thrifty Drugs! I can always count on you to remind me of stuff that proves I lived in So Cal ahem ago. I hope your worls keeps getting bigger!!

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Ah, those were heady days!

    Liked by 1 person

  10. Thrifty drugs had the best ice cream anywhere! You have some very vivid memories. Enjoyed the trip to your past. Looks like fun.

    Liked by 1 person

  11. Michele Lee says:

    A nostalgic and engaging post, Mitch. I remember when a new library opened in my hometown. I was beyond excited. It became my journey to other worlds and my sanctuary. ❤

    Liked by 1 person

  12. A librarian changed my father’s life when she introduced him to The Iliad and The Odyssey. And the change trickled down through the generations. A world with books is unlimited.

    Liked by 1 person

  13. Dad4Gracie says:

    Great drawing! So glad it was saved.

    Liked by 1 person

  14. Kathleen Ellerman says:

    Second grade here, also. The most difficult letter for me was, of all things, the first letter of my name K. Finally got the hang of it and excelled in many penmanship classes, winning a few Holy Cards, in the process.

    Liked by 1 person

  15. gregoryjoel says:

    Cursive! What a concept. I’m not sure my grandkids know what that is! I hope you still have those 45s!

    Liked by 1 person

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