When she first asked Doc what he thought about the idea, he laughed and said, "Well, you might just as well talk on the radio, you talk on the phone all day anyhow." Which was not quite true, but true enough. Dorothy did love to chat.
Although radio station WDOT is only a 200-watt station, because the land is flat-on cold, still days when the skies are crystal clear, and it is really good radio weather-the signal from WDOT can tear a hole straight through the Midwest all the way up into Canada and on one particularly cold day was picked up by several ships at sea. You couldn't say her show is clever or sophisticated or anything like that, but one thing you can say for sure is that over the years she's sold a hell of a lot of Golden Flake Flour and Pancake Mix and anything else she advertises.
Neighbor Dorothy's house is located on the left side of First Avenue North, and has the address written in big black letters on the curb so you can't miss it. It is the last house on the corner with a wraparound porch, a two-swing front porch, one swing on one end and one on the other. It has a green and white canvas awning all the way around to the side of the house.
If you were to walk up the porch stairs and look to your right you would see written in small gold and black letters on the window WDOT radio station, number 66 on your dial. Other than that it looks just like everybody else's house, without the call letters on the window and the big radio tower in the backyard, of course. No matter what time of day you come to the front door you are going to find it open. No point in closing it. Too many people in and out all the time. The milkman, the bread man, the ice man, the gas man, her twelve-year-old son, Bobby, who goes in and out a hundred times a day, and of course all her many radio visitors, who often come by the busload and are always welcomed with a fresh batch of special radio cookies she makes every day for the purpose. As you walk in, to the right is a large room with a desk with a microphone on it that says WDOT. The desk sits in front of the window so she can always turn around and look out and report what the weather is doing firsthand. Mother Smith's organ is to the left, and about ten chairs are set up so people can come in and sit down if they want to. Neighbor Dorothy's house is on the corner where the Greyhound bus stops, so it makes it nice while people are waiting for the bus to go in and watch the show or sit on the front porch and wait, particularly if it's raining. The floors are dark wood and Neighbor Dorothy has some nice scatter rugs here and there. The curtains are green with a yellow and deep pink floral print with what looks like might be palm trees. She has recently put up brand-new venetian blinds, a Christmas present from Doc.
The dining room has a nice brass chandelier with four milk-glass shades with a little Dutch scene on them, and some lovely lace swag curtains on the bay window, and a pretty white tablecloth. The kitchen is still where everybody usually eats. It has a large white wooden table in the middle with a hanging lightbulb over it. The stove is a white enamel-and-chrome O'Keefe & Merritt with a clock and red and white plastic salt and pepper shakers to match. There is a large sink and drain board in a skirt of floral print plus a big Kelvinator- icebox. The walls are beaded board painted a light green. Off the kitchen to the back is a large screened porch; Bobby sleeps there in the summer. On the other side is a group of miniature tables and chairs where all the children in town have their birthday parties and where Anna Lee and her friend run a nursery school in the summer to make extra money for clothes. The other two rooms on the left side of the house are Anna Lee's bedroom, a seventeen-year-old girl's room with a white canopy bed and a dresser with a mirror and a Kewpie doll with sparkle dust and a feather on its head sitting on top of a chest of drawers. There is a sunroom that Neighbor Dorothy and Mother Smith use as a sewing room and where Anna Lee keeps her scrapbooks on Dana Andrews, the movie star she is in love with this year. Three bedrooms are off the hall, Doc and Neighbor Dorothy's, Mother Smith's, and Bobby has the last room down at the end. Also living in the house is Princess Mary Margaret, who has free run of every room in the house and is famous in her own right. She is a ten-year-old cocker spaniel that Neighbor Dorothy got from Doc as a Christmas present the first year she was on the air. She was named through a puppy contest and when all her listeners sent in their choices, the name Princess Mary Margaret won first prize. A good name, because not only does England have a Princess Margaret, but Missouri has its own little princess, Margaret Truman, the daughter of Missouri-born president Harry S Truman and his wife, Bess. In 1948, Princess Mary Margaret is quite a celebrity. Not only does Neighbor Dorothy spoil her, so do her listeners. She has her own fan club known as the Princess Mary Margaret Club and all the dues money goes to the Humane Society. Princess Mary Margaret has received birthday cards from Lassie in Hollywood and many other famous people.
Use of this excerpt from WELCOME TO THE WORLD, BABY GIRL by Fannie Flagg may be made only for purposes of promoting the book, with no changes, editing or additions whatsoever, and must be accompanied by the following copyright: Copyright (c) 1998 by Fannie Flagg
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