Happy birthday Charlie! We love you Good and Plenty

Our son Charlie, born 26 years ago today, earned his nickname from a candy jingle I sang to him the first hot summer afternoons of his life.

 Once upon a time there was an engineer

Choo Choo Charlie was his name we hear

He had an engine and it sure was fun

he used lots of Good and Plenty to make that engine run.

Charlie says, love my Good and Plenty

Charlie says, it really rings my bell

Charlie says, love my Good and Plenty

don’t know any other candy baby that I love so well.

We called him Choo Choo and he learned to love all things locomotive.

Born in the pre-Internet era of child-rearing, Charlie benefitted from the advice I actively sought from my mother, my grandmother, my mother in-law, who had to be prodded (due to her deep-seated fear of butting in) and my mother in-law’s mother in-law, who had no such concerns.

Having read an offhand comment in an obscure parenting magazine that shoes restrict foot development in young children, I raised Charlie barefoot for his first two years.

Finally, after embarrassingly thorough research, I brought him to a Stride Rite Store and watched him wobble out into mall traffic, confused and frightened by the canoes strapped to his toes.

I won’t hold my breath for T. Berry Brazelton’s endorsement of shoeless parenting, but I will say the young boy’s feet grew at an almost alarming pace; he wore the same size shoe as his age for his first 16 years.

Poor Charlie found himself the object of our intense fascination. When he learned to rollover, we placed him in the center of our sparsely furnished living room and called to him from opposite corners, challenging each other to see which corner he’d reach first. Competitive gaming based on a newborn’s precious milestone? Yeah, we did that.

We spent hours each night putting our baby to bed, an exhausting ritual of songs, books and made-up stories that always ended with one of us quietly combat crawling out of the bedroom…sometimes the crawler was Charlie.

A literal tyke, he once ran screaming from the bathtub when I told him it was time to get out because he was turning into a prune.

The oldest of four, Charlie grew quickly, a stubborn, bossy big brother who, still, has been consistently kind to his brother and sisters and proud of each of them since the day they were born.

Today, he stands taller than any of us and lives far away from our Midwestern home.

We still call him Chooch, though.

Happy Birthday Choo Choo Charlie, we love you Good and Plenty.

Here is our little Chooch about one hour after he made his way into this world.
Here is our little Chooch about one hour after he made his way into this world. We found him endlessly fascinating.
The poor little guy put up with a lot, but we had such fun!
The poor little guy put up with a lot, but we had such fun!
I'm thrilled to have unearthed this picture of Charlie and his great gandpa Micky. Pap was a coal miner and here he and Charlie are sporting company hats.
I’m thrilled to have unearthed this picture of Charlie and his great grandpa Micky. Pap was a coal miner and here he and Charlie are sporting company hats.
Charlie dressed as his Grandpa Vince, also a beloved influence.
This is Charlie dressed as his Grandpa Vince, also a beloved influence.
My favorite picture of Charlie and my dad. We loved him good and plenty too.
My favorite picture of Charlie and my dad. We loved him good and plenty too.
Charlie only had us to himself for 20 months before his real work as big brother began.
Charlie only had us to himself for 20 months before his real work as big brother began.
He's taller and hairier now but we still call him Chooch.
He’s taller and hairier now but we still call him Chooch.

18 thoughts on “Happy birthday Charlie! We love you Good and Plenty

  1. What great memories of Charlie. I feel the love & respect in all your posts, but the fun too.
    He is so special to me & I only worked with him for a summer, but think of him often. I am called mom, mama bear & maybe some other names, but still have a special place in my heart for Charlie. Keep the posts coming!!!

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