I started my first full-time job back in 1980, at the ripe old age of 17. While working for Prudential Insurance, on Cherry Street at the time, I met my friend Rose when she came to work there too. Rose got married quite young and had the most wonderful baby ever. Christopher gave me a toothless smile when he was only hours old and in the nursery at the hospital.
By the time he was two, Mike and I were bringing Christopher to Danvers quite often. We’d take him to the to feed the ducks, to to picnic, run, and play, and to Mario’s on High Street for the best pizza ever. He also enjoyed play dates with my nephew, James, as they were the same age.
When Chris was five years old, he visited at my parent’s house during the Christmas season. Mom gave him some candy for Christmas, and like most five year olds he was elated and dug right in.
Later, Mom presented him with a new tooth brush and toothpaste. He wasn’t too thrilled with these gifts, but was polite and said thank you. Mom went on to explain that he had to take care of his teeth, especially after eating sweets. Chris understood this, but was more interested in finding some toys to play with. Then Mom said something that got him to snap to attention. “Chris,” she said, “You know that even though you still have your baby teeth, and they will start to fall out soon, you still need to brush them.”
His reaction was priceless. “What? My teeth aren’t going to fall out,” he declared while his hand flew to his mouth. He visibly paled and shook with fear. You would have thought she’d told him Santa wasn’t coming to his house. “My teeth aren’t really going to fall out, are they?” He looked to me and to Mike for reassurance. Mike, being the calmer of the two of us, sat Chris down and told him it would be OK. I wasn’t close enough to hear Mike’s exact words, but the tears that had started to flow turned to giggles. Chris settled down, although he continued to give Mom the old stink eye for a little while.
Chris had an extremely pleasant disposition, so we weren’t surprised that his good nature helped him to get past the upset. Things were back to normal, and it was about time for us to bring him home to Rose and his father, Dennis. Unfortunately, there was another person who had to get his two cents in.
That person was my father. When Chris went into the living room to say goodbye to Dad, he wasn’t at all prepared for what happened next. Dad decided it would be great fun to give Chris another surprise. He popped out his upper dentures and held them out for Chris to see. Chris stared wide-eyed, and stood as still as a statue. Then he turned to Mike and said “Is that what you mean by me getting new teeth soon?” Dad was laughing, I was scared, and Mom was stunned into silence. As Mike tried to explain again about adult teeth, Chris shook his head vehemently, and said “No way Mikey! I want cool ones like his that I can take out!”
On the way back to Lynn, Mike did explain about teeth again, and we taught Chris a new song. The song was “All I Want for Christmas is My Two Front Teeth.” Happily, by the time he got his first loose tooth, he’d abandoned the idea of dentures. Chris is now a father of twins who are the right age for loose teeth. I can’t help but wonder how they reacted to the news that their teeth would fall out.