The Tail of Wild Boomba

My mother, Lorraine Harriet Chase, née Fishman, sat happily in her hospital bed anxiously waiting for a nurse to bring me, her third child, into her room to meet her. She had recently awoken from the chemically induced coma obstetricians thought was the best way for most women to give birth in the 1950s and 60s.

She looked impeccable in her brand new size two pink peignoir from Bonwit Teller, a gift from my father, Norman Myron Chase, nee Chase. Then, as now, she had applied a full face of makeup and each curl on her head was perfectly placed. Of course she was also wearing earrings and her signature orange lipstick.

A nurse retrieved my father from the hazy open bar/waiting room/lounge. He was balancing a cigar between his lips and holding a scotch on the rocks with a twist in his hand as he followed her to see his wife and meet his newborn daughter.

By the time my father walked into the room, I had been placed in my mother’s arms. Thankfully she was wearing water-proof mascara because she took one look at me and burst into tears. She motioned for my father to come closer so she could whisper in his ear, “They gave us the wrong baby!”

My older sister and brother had been born with blond hair and fair skin. 

 

My sister, Beth.

 

My brother, Paul.

I looked like a monkey.

Me

My mother and father looked at each other, back at me, and then each other. My father, an attorney, assured my mother that he would investigate my pedigree even if he had to pay a visit to the chief of staff. He vowed to find out beyond a reasonable doubt if I belonged to them, another family, or if a newborn chimp was missing from the Ape House at Lincoln Park Zoo.

After much sleuthing, it was determined that I did indeed belong to my parents. My father brought my siblings to visit me at the hospital. They took one look at me and called me “Wild Boomba.”

I was born on January 7, 1961, although my mother wrote January 9, 1961, on the notepad that served as my first baby book. After learning of a friend who said his parents used the back of his brother’s baby book to chronicle his childhood I felt a little better.

Back in the day, women stayed in the maternity ward for 10 days after giving birth even though they had no recollection of delivering their children. 

According to my mother, the nurses would bring babies to their mothers for feedings throughout the day, and the dads would come from work to dine on steak dinners and champagne with their wives. Add yoga and massages and you’ve got Canyon Ranch Spa.

By the time they left the hospital, some babies were already cutting teeth, crawling, eating solid foods, and a few even had their learner’s permits and were able to drive their parents home.

My parents were skeptical of my species until the day I pulled myself up to a standing position without attempting to climb up the furniture or scale the walls.

At least they kept me instead of dropping me off in a basket in front of the zoo. Besides, I don’t really like bananas.

12 Replies to “The Tail of Wild Boomba”

  1. Leslie, this is truly hysterical….I love it and can’t wait for your fans to see you are back! Can’t wait for your next blog. Love you
    Mom

  2. Lolololol!!!! Yes, Paul and I had real baby books, but be grateful you even got a notepad!!! You were adorable in your tiny Wild Boomba bathing suit!! Eventually your hair calmed down for a short while, but then…… POOF!!!!! And so it began…..

  3. I had to look up “boomba” and here is what I found: “The boom-ba (highly likely to have come from German “Bumbaß” [pronounced “BOOM-bahss”]; “bum” possibly coming from an older form of “brummen”, “to hum”, and “baß” meaning “bass”, as in music) is a bladder fiddle, known throughout the Pennsylvania Dutch culture of eastern Pennsylvania, United States”. I do not know why you would be compared to a bladder fiddle…and I probably would prefer to remain ignorant. But this essay was the work of a virtuoso.

    1. Wow, Eugene! What an incredible compliment! I’m blushing! I always like to look up words you use in your blog posts, which is why it takes me days to read them. I find it RDA ironic that you looked up a word in one of mine. You are much more evolved than my siblings ever were. Thanks for stopping by and leaving such an amazing comment!

  4. Dear Boomba !
    So happy to see you are back in the saddle again(I bet you don’t know where that came from!) No fair asking Mom!!
    But seriously you’ve updated this wonderful story about your birth!
    Hope we can get together for a cousins meeting! The last fun one we had I believe you were under the table writing! Never did see that one! R u still writing it?
    Love one of your best twice removed cousins!!!####????

    1. Gene Autry! Yes! Cousins lunch! I don’t remember what I was working on that day but I have piles of paper, napkins, and anything I could grab to write on with germ-ettes of stories scribbled on them!

  5. Hi Leslie so happy you’re back writing again. I saw you when you were first born and I thought
    You were the cutest baby of all the other cousins that were around your age. I would like to
    Visit with you so let me know when you’re up for company.
    Happy Chanukah & Happy New
    Year to all !

    1. Wow, thanks, Annette! I doubt Phyllis, Ivie, and Iris would agree! I’m all healed up now…finally! I’ll try to come to the next cousins lunch! Thanks for commenting! You always know just what to say!❤️

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