Rosemary Clooney and Son
McCall's visits - July, 1957
SINGING MOTHER: When Rosemary Cloney came to New York for a TV appearance recently she put up at the apartment she and her actor husband Jose Ferrer keep on West 57th Street. The day we called on her there we found her darcing in frot of a mirror, carrying her two-year-old son, Miguel, in her arms. She was singing "I Love You a Bushel and a Peck." Miss Clooney, in the middle stages of pregnancy, was wearing a fetching maternity blouse of fine black and white checks with black velvet cutts and collar. Mr. Ferrer was in London and their seven-month-old baby, Maria Providencia, had been left in Hollywood with Miss Clooney's mother.
"Miguel is going through a stage of wanting to be held," said Miss Clooney when she had ended her song and dance act. "At first I thought he was jealous of his baby sister. But now that she isn't around I suspect he simply enjoys looking at things from the adult height."
She put down Miguel, who was dressed in brown corduroy overalls and saddle shoes, and went to get the boy's luncheon tray in the kitchen.
Miguel looked at us. "You're a ham bone," he said.
Miss Clooney re-emerged and placed a tray of food on the [tray]. "Here's your lunch, Miguel," she said. Miguel fled from the room. Miss Clooney fled after him.
Miguel's luncheon fare was standard and whole-some--cut-up beef, presumably left over from dinner the night before; a baked potato with the interior mashed; peas; buttered bread; and milk in a silver cup.
"He got into the peppermint candy earlier," Miss Clooney explained, hugging the unprotesting fugitive. "I'm afraid it's affected his appetite." She nimbly dropped Miguel into his seat and slipped a plastic bib on him. "Don't you think he resembles Jose? A friend of ours saw Miguel for the first time the other day and said, 'Good heavens, are they making Jose Ferrer dolls?'"
Miguell looked aorund him and his face clouded. "Big Pooh?" he said.
Miss Clooney clapped a hand to her forehead. "We forgot Big Pooh," she said, and straightaway procured a battered teddy bear which she propped in a chair alongside Miguel. The boyd held a pea on a spoon to the bear's stitched mouth while Miss Clooney held some forked meat to his.
"I recorded a children's song called 'Me and My Teddy Bear,'" said Miss Clooney. "Kids all over the country love it. Miguel can't stand it. He prefers the children's songs Gisele MacKenzie sings in French. I've decided to be brave about it. I heard Jo Stafford's youngster has rejected her songs too, in favor of Dinah Shore's. The only things I sing he seems to like are the TV commercial jingles such as 'Mmmm, mmm, good,' and 'I Love You a Bushel and a Pack.'"
Miguel was waving his cup of milk in the air, miraculously not-spilling a drop. "Airplane," he squealed.
"His father's bedtime stories delight him," continued Miss Clooney, rescuing the milk. Neither Jose nor Miguel will tell me about them, though. Jose says he does more original writing in the nursery than at the studio.
"I love the experience of having children," she went on. "I want at least six. I have an idea that the more you have the less they deman of you because they get interested in one another and play together. At least, it's working that way with the two we have. Being pregnant isn't as costly to me as it would be to actresses constantly in the public eye. I can make records up till the moment I leave for the hospital. I recorded 'Hey, There!' when Miguel was three weeks away."
"Daddy has strong hand," said Miguel. "The wind made them strong."
"I don't know what he means by that," said Miss Clooney. "His father plays tennis every morning in Hollywood and takes Miguel to the tennis courts to watch. Maybe he's talking about that."
Miguel was by now prodding a dish of gelatin with a spoon. "Where's Tennessee Ernie?" he asked. "I want Tennessee Ernie."
"In California dear," said Miss Clooney. "His favorite TV star," she explained to us.
After lunch we followed Miss Clooney as she carried Miguel up the stairs to the nursery. The room was the color of light caramel custard. Mother, still carrying son, circled the room while Miguel said "good night" to the clock, the mirror, the bed lamp, the stuffed dog on the dresser, the sun, the clouds, his daddy's picture, and Little Pooh--a tattered relation of his eating companion. In the crib he drank a bottle of milk while his mother pulled the blinds and sitting beside the crib, sang in cellolike tones "Bushel and a Peck" and then the Campbell's Soup jingle.
"Miguel heard me make records for my new album," Miss Clooney told us between songs. "I'm in hopes he'll take to one of them. I need a rest from 'Bushel and a Peck,' He seemd to like 'I'm in the Mood for Love.' He told me afterward, 'That's good, Mama.' Actually, kids like songs with a lilt to them. Adults buy lullabies under the misapprehension that children like them."
The fifth time through "Bushel and a Peck," sung with a lilt, Miguel closed his eyes and Miss Clooney stood up. "I want Tennessee Ernie," Miguel said, opening his eyes. "Where is Tennessee Ernie?"
Miss Clooney sat down again. "In California, dear," she said. "Ernie wants you to go to sleep now."
Miguel smiled slyly and closed his eyes. Miss Clooney began wearily crooning "Bushel and a Peck" once more.
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