Tender Teacher

Sharing stories about my personal and professional life as a teacher.

First Story of the Forties

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Clothespin in place. Oregon, USA

Image via Wikipedia

Kids were skinny, by today’s standards, in the forties.  It was no wonder.  Most of the time they got up at dawn, ate a bowl of cornflakes and milk, or oatmeal, and then they were sent outside to play, and the screen door was often hooked behind them.  “Don’t go any farther than my voice”, moms would say.  This meant “If I call you you had better come home promptly!”   Don’t go in anyone’s house, and STAY OUT OF TROUBLE.

We were pretty safe out there in the real world.  Many of the front porches were graced by little old ladies sitting in their porch swings, who would call your mother in a minute if they saw anything suspicious going on.  Some moms sat out there talking with neighbors, while working on a basket of mending.  And of course, on Monday everyone was hanging out laundry, or taking it down, folding it , and putting it in the big wicker laundry baskets.  OH yes, and there were those sneaky, nosy ones peeking out their windows from behind their curtains, watching our every move.  NOPE you couldn’t get away with much, if anything!  We knew who to stay away from, like Bugs Callahan, who looked up little girls dresses every chance he got, and Dink Pitts, who was drunk most of the time, and sat in his swing and sang while his dog, Buster, howled along with him.

So, we played, and played, and usually got along with each other.  The older kids made sure the younger ones were safe by watching out for them, and the younger kids respected the older kids.  It was expected of them.  And we knew everyone, and about everyone.  If someone new moved into the neighborhood, they were a curiosity, and were suspect until proven otherwise.  Parents sat on the newcomer’s front porch hours at a time “getting to know” them.

OH NO, things weren’t perfect.  When we were allowed “inside” for lunch often times it was a bowl of Campbell’s Chicken Soup, and a half a sandwich, because “That’s all there is,” or “That’s all you need.”  However, we ran and played ourselves skinny, and healthy.  It was glorious fun!


Written by kjskjp

August 30, 2010 at 5:11 pm

Posted in Forties

Tagged with , , , , , ,

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