All the kids in my family, like it or not, went to the same small parochial grade school, and this meant some off us attended in overlapping years. The annual talent show was a big deal and while participation was voluntary, this activity was up my alley (and it wasn’t as if the school was packed with prodigies and mini virtuosos who would trample over the regular schmucks). One memorable year my next oldest sister and I paired to do an act together.
We elected to perform “Flamin’ Mamie,” a peculiarly inappropriate choice for two knee-socked, preteen girls at that time and place – which was long before toddlers wore thongs, twerked, and sang about gettin’ themselves some. If I recall this ditty was taught to us by one of our older sisters; it was NOT on any of our children’s records. Looking online now I see that the lyrics vary from site to site, but most open, as did we, with, “They call me Rump Flamin’ Mamie…” and continue with, “I’m the hottest baby in town!” There’s another verse where a fireman comments that Mamie is the hottest thing since “Chicago’s fire.” We absolutely did not know what the song was about, but presently reading the various lyrics, it sure sounds like we were singing an upbeat song about a busy prostitute.
The gimmick to our act was that we combined our two little selves to perform as one person. Here’s how it worked. I lay down on the floor so that I faced the ceiling. My sister, facing the same direction and wearing a voluminous skirt then knelt over my midsection so that my feet and lower part of my legs stuck out from under the skirt in front of her, while hers stayed hidden. From the front, it gave the impression of one, albeit somewhat unusually jointed, person. My sister then sang the song and did the hand movements while I kicked my legs around as the lower half of the body. Clever, no?
How though, did we get away with this?? On the homefront, our mother was uninvolved with this sort of thing and it was our older sisters who tended to get into the act(s) so to speak, so that explains some of it. But all the performances were seen in try-outs and rehearsals by older students running the show as well as by teachers. Was no one listening to the lyrics?? Did our genuine naiveté sell it?
Come the day of the show, there was one slight clue our act didn’t go over too “flamingly” and that was when we won no prize whatsoever. At the time I was genuinely puzzled over the shut-out. A subsequent year, when each of us performed wholesome individual acts, we tied for first place. Yes, well.