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Nat King Cole (center) rehearses with his trio at the London Palladium in 1950. (Getty Images)

Leonard Pitts On Memories Of Laundry And Nat King Cole

by NPR Staff
Aug 7, 2012 (All Things Considered)

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The Mom and Dad's Record Collection series on All Things Considered continues with a memory of music and family from the Pulitzer Prize-winning columnist and author Leonard Pitts.

Pitts says his childhood mischief was set to the music of Nat King Cole, often courtesy of his mother's own voice. One afternoon, he remembers, she was singing "Don't Get Around Much Anymore" while he played out back.

"One of my best memories of my mom is her doing the laundry and putting clothes on the line in the backyard and just singing that song," he says. "I think I was digging up the yard at the time, flooding ant nests, which I had a fetish for doing when I was 10 years old."

Pitts wasn't Nat King Cole's biggest fan as a kid, but he says he's grown to love the songs he grew up with.

"I had the typical teen rebellion: You know, 'Mom's music is no good,' " he says. "She wasn't feeling much for The Temptations or Funkadelic or The O'Jays, either. But as I've gotten older, and especially with the advent of iTunes, I find myself going back — and Nat Cole, I got the box set years ago. and every once in a while I'll break it out and listen to it."

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