Thursday, March 3, 2011


Marion Pellicano Ambrose

I’ve always been an old movie buff. My sister, Mary and I would sit up till all hours to watch the glamorous Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers films. One of my favorite songs is Top Hat (1935) from the movie of the same name. After today, the words to that song have taken on quite a new meaning for me.

“I'm puttin' on my top hat, Tyin' up my white tie, Brushin' off my tails.
I'm dudin' up my shirt front, Puttin' in the shirt studs, Polishin' my nails,”

This morning I got up early, showered, had my morning tea and began to get dressed. Not in my usual clothes, but in a black jumpsuit with a white tuxedo shirt front sewn on, a big red tie around my neck, a pair of black panty hose (worn robber style but with the face cut out) a large red and white top hat and of course, a tail! Far from being Fred Astaire – I was the Cat in the Hat!

My husband was mortified, but I was excited because I was going to visit all 3 preschool classes at my school. I would be reading to them for Dr. Seuss’ birthday and the “Read Across America” program. My book of choice was The Foot Book and I had made dozens of foot shaped sugar cookies in a rainbow of colors. I knew the little ones would be happy to see me and would love hearing the story and eating “feet’!  I couldn’t wait!

When I signed in at the office, they printed me out a visitor’s sticker with the name Cat in the Hat and I headed over to the Art room. After my friend, and artist extraordinaire Barbara painted my face, I looked in the mirror and didn’t even recognize myself. I pranced confidently to the PK4 class and knocked on the door. The little squeals of delight were worth every sticky brushstroke of white pancake on my face! I read them the book, but honestly, they were more interested in telling me the difference between mammals and reptiles. Everyone had a story, a favorite toy, a new pair of sneakers……. How do these PreK teachers do it? I was exhausted after 10 minutes, and I’ve been teaching for 30 years! The energy level was off the scale, and yet when their teacher said “On your spots boys and girls” they all walked to little carpets with their name on them and sat “criss cross applesauce.” Amazing! I shared the “feet” cookies I had made for them and they all thanked me and gave me hugs. Now my energy level was off the chart! So on I went to the next class.

One little girl in this room didn’t quite know what to make of me. She hid behind the teacher’s legs peeking out at me. I waved and she popped back a little further. I went on to read and chat with these children, who amazingly had just as many stories to tell me! They too were polite, well behaved and exceedingly happy! They respected their teacher, their aid, and me, as their guest (even if I was a cat!). Again, they loved the cookies, thanked me and gave me hugs. As I was leaving, the one little girl smiled and waved from behind the teacher. That SO made my day!

On to the PreK 3 class! Talk about excited! What a loving reception I got there! As I read to them I got the third degree about my fur, my hat, my shirt front (which they pointed out was my belly) and numerous other topics. After that they put on a favorite shoes fashion show for me. It was adorable, funny, and totally heartwarming. After that, they reviewed Left and Right by lifting, shaking or patting the leg their teacher called out. They were wonderful! I still have trouble remembering left and right, especially when driving! They sang their grace and enjoyed their cookies, again showing beautiful manners and beaming with happiness and enthusiasm.

My big red and white striped hat goes off to these three outstanding teachers who are doing such a phenomenal job with the little ones placed in their care! I’m eternally grateful to them for allowing me to be a “celebrity” for a day with their children. It made me feel like the sun was shining in my heart and my soul was light as air! What an incredible experience! Oh, and Happy Birthday Dr. Seuss!


  1. Wow, what fun. Makes me wish I was a kid again.
    Very impressive and authenic looking costume.

  2. How clever and how much fun for the children...and for you!

    I loved this post, Marion.

  3. Marion,You are awesome! Thanks for coming in and reading to the kids. Your "Cat in the Hat" outfit was great and the cookies were "foot"tastic!! love ya!!

  4. I am sorry I missed you!

  5. OK, I've decided! THIS is my favorite post so far. Your description of the kids reactions just made me smile. What a great thing to do for them. Got any extra cookies?

  6. Great picture. The things we do for love (of children)!

  7. My students are still talking about your visit!

  8. You made the day so much fun!!!

  9. I've been looking at this blog for the first time and going through your archives, I have to say, I've gotten to know some of you by your writing. Marion, you must be a very good teacher and friend from what I've read, especially in comments. Barbara you are very spititual and sensitive. Dawn, you are a modern woman. Tony, you're a very nice guy who doesn't want people to know it so you pretend to be a pervert. Jillian, you're just sex crazy. I love the blog and all of your posts. Thank you.

  10. I take offense to this.
    I am way more sex crazed than Jillian!!
    Thanks CB!!!

  11. LMOA TONY! HA!
    Nothing like a friendly competition!