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Posts tagged: Romper Room

Thank you, Miss Florence

On May 23, I wrote a story about Miss Florence, aka Florence Petheram, who hosted Romper Room on Spokane television for 19 years.

She is 81 now and a children's book author. Today in the mail, she sent me a Mr. Do Bee postcard and a Romper Room ring.

It was instant “memory meld” — that's what I call when you see something from childhood and the memory is instant. You're back there, a 5-year-old, seeing the Mr. Do Bee poster in the Romper Room classroom.

I'm on a throw stuff out kick at home but I am sure grateful Miss Florence kept some of these invaluable mementos from days long ago.

Thanks for the memories, Miss Florence.

The amazing Miss Florence

When I was 4 and 5 years old, I was enthralled every weekday morning by Romper Room and the beautiful Miss Florence who would call out children's names through a magic mirror at the end of each show.

I begged my parents to let me go on, and somehow, I was accepted for the program. But the two-week gig would have required a parent to drive me every morning to KREM's studios on the South Hill in the winter in the days before snow tires were very good.

We were a one-car family in 1959-60 and my mom had six kids and my dad a busy law practice and so, the plan looked impossible.

I must have been inconsolable, because I remember that one morning, the phone rang, and it was Miss Florence on the line explaining that I couldn't be on the show this time, but maybe “when the snow melts all off of the ground.”

I never did make it on the show and didn't pursue the “snow melt” promise. But I remained a forever fan of Miss Florence for making that phone call.

I recently interviewed Florence Petheram for a story that ran in the newspaper today. She is still beautiful. And at 81, still amazing, living in Auburn to be near her four grown children. She's written two children's books, skydived for her 80th birthday, has a special man friend and for Mother's Day, she requested a hula hoop! She'll be in Spokane Saturday, reading from her book Magic is for When You Need It.

Thanks for the phone call long ago, Miss Florence, and for the memories!

(Photo courtesy of Florence Petheram)

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Writer Catherine Johnston of Olympia, Wash., addresses issues facing aging baby boomers and seniors as well as issues of serious illness, death and dying, grief and loss.

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