Pam & Sam Stories: Tales from the Tub
I don’t know about you but taking a bath has always been a special part of my life. I have so many fond memories of taking a bath as a kid and many “Aha” moments as an adult when problems were solved, and new insights were gained while soaking in the tub.
When I was young, like many small kids, my brother and I took baths together. I guess it’s easier to bathe two kids at once and way more fun to have someone to play with in the bathtub! The baths I remember most of all always took place on Friday evenings when my dad returned home from a week of traveling for work. Friday evenings were the highlight of my week since we’d get to spend fun quality time with our dad.
Friday night bath time with my dad always included his telling us stories about two kids named Pam and Sam; two fictional characters he made up for our listening delight. He’d tell us tales of a little girl named Pam and a little boy named Sam who seemed about the age of my brother and me. And he didn’t just tell us these Pam and Sam stories, he would actually sing them to us. Now my dad, who seemed like a “manly man” to me, would enthusiastically sing his stories as my brother and I giggled and played in the tub.
As soon as my dad got home on Friday night, we’d all head for the upstairs hall bathroom for bath time with dad. As the tub was filling with water, my brother and I would start anxiously screaming, “Tell us a Pam and Sam story, tell us a Pam and Sam story! Tell us a Pam and Sam story! Pleeeease!” He’d plunk us into the bath water and start singing his tales of Pam and Sam’s adventures in the world. He always started his Pam and Sam stories with the same introduction singing that his song was about a girl and a boy named Pam and Sam. He sang each time with the same tune meandering his words with his signature melody. As he robustly sang his story, telling us all the things that Pam and Sam did during the week, we’d scream, “I did that, I did that!” It was amazing that Pam and Sam did so many of the things we had done during the week he was away. It was almost like magic that these two kids, Pam and Sam, were just like us!
After our bath was over and we were squeaky clean, hair and all, we got out of the tub for the second round of grooming. My dad pushed our cuticles back, clipped our nails and towel-dried our hair. This was our big grooming night of the week. When my dad combed through our tangled hair, we’d occasionally wince from the pulling. He’d let us know he was sorry, but that he had to remove the cats and dogs that were in our hair. When we’d wince, he’d say, “Oops there’s a cat, oops there’s a dog! They’re almost all gone! Hang in there!”
We’d get into our jammies when all the bathing and grooming was done, and my brother and I would head to my parents’ bedroom to gather on their big bed to play board games. We’d play Chutes and Ladders and Candyland. I always hated when I’d finally make my way up that ladder to the top and boom, I’d go down to the bottom again. Candyland was much more fun!
During our Friday night baths with my dad, a big part of the joy of this experience was all the stories we heard about Pam and Sam who amazingly did all the same things that my brother and I did. The stories he sang delighted and surprised us as to how these two kids were just like my brother and me. We felt a sense of wonder and awe that two other children in the world, Pam and Sam, lived similar lives to ours. There was comfort and bewilderment in the similarities.
In our childhood innocence, we never questioned how Pam and Sam could do the exact same things we did. I don’t know how long it took us to realize the truth of my dad’s tales. But in time we discovered that my dad was singing about the adventures of my brother and I all along. My mom had updated him during the week about all the things we did while he was away so he didn’t miss out on the adventures of our childhood.
Now that I’m all grown up and my father is gone, the memories of Pam and Sam hold a special and dear place in my heart. I can still hear my dad singing his stories and some days when I slide down in the tub, I close my eyes and smile deeply. I don’t know about you but taking a bath has always been a special part of my life.