"A Chance to Sing"
By Derek Martin
How you tingeling,
Keeper of the keys..."
Yes, that's how the song starts, the one that almost everyone over 40 years old who grew up in Cleveland knows. But for one little girl, Patte Blackburn, (now Patte Ward, 59 years old) there was a lot more pressure heaped on her to sing the song correctly one specific afternoon over a half a century ago.
You see, Patte was like many other Cleveland area children whose mothers took them downtown at Christmas time to see the holiday sights.
In a recent phone conversation, she stated, "Every single year until the end, we'd get the rapid at Shaker Square and take it to Downtown Cleveland. We'd go to Higbees, Halle's and Mays. We'd go visit Santa at Halle's and for awhile there was even a Mrs. Claus who was like a greeter on the first floor."
And it was on one of those trips that her mother, Mary Lou, who was a model for Halle's, went up to the 11th floor office and talked to Patte's aunt, Kathleen Quilty who was a buyer for the store as well as the famous "information lady."
Patte remembers that when she was either "three or four," she was picked by her aunt along with a number of other children to be part of a recording that was taking place on the 7th floor.
"They were recording the original "Mr. Jingeling song," recalled Patte. "They taught us the song and we began practicing. It took about a half a day." She admitted to being scared at the event. "I was frightened of the camera and all of the lights."
But lucky for us Clevelanders, the young Patte overcame that fear to finish that first ever Jingeling recording. For if she hadn't, who knows, that iconic melody would seem just a tiny bit less illustrious now.
"On Halle's seventh floor
We'll be looking for...
Ahh, go ahead we know all of you reading this out there can remember the words. I'm guessing after five decades, Patte Ward still can.