Sunday, June 28, 2015

Bio #21 - Radios, Scissors and a Naughty Child


I was eight years old (1921) when I heard my first radio program. We lived on Third Street then, and on Second Street, near us, Mr. and Mrs. Hutchinson lived. He was an old man who had a leather and harness business and he liked children. This radio was long and narrow with a lot of dials. One day he asked Charlie and me over to listen. We were amazed to hear music and talking, coming into our ears through these ear-phones. They were funny and heavy. We had a radio of our own in 1931, a Deforest-Crossley, that didn't have ear-phones.
This radio fits Letty's description.

Naughty Letty - Scissors

I was the world's worst kid if I got hold of a pair of scissors. When Charlie was still a baby I cut off his eyelashes and eyebrows. I had traded dolls with a friend, Irene, and cut the arms off, and the doll's shirt.  I had to give my best doll to Irene (I don't remember this; Mom told me.)  Mom was forever spanking me, and trying to keep scissors out of reach. Once we were visiting at Aunt Mary Gallagher's and I guess I found scissors, and cut a big hole in her bedspread and a twelve inch square out of her curtain for doll's clothes. Poor Mom, U guess I was a terror. So I guess I was meant to be a seamstress, long before I really was. Aunt Mary was my Godmother. Bet she felt short-changed.

Naughty Letty- Running Away

What do two kids aged three and five find fascinating about running off, or as we put it, "we only went for a walk?" Twice we went on our own, but sometimes we took other kids with us. A big CPR Canadian Pacific Railway) policeman found us part way across the Saskatchewan River, on the train bridge, no less! Also a man found us sitting on the edge of the railway station, right where the trains came in. He lifted us back against the fence and the police took us home.
This is the CPR bridge across the South Saskatchewan River.
Charlie was four when he got a tricycle and he was so happy. One day, we decided to go for a walk and took Archie and Edna Smith and Laurie Nicholson with us. We headed for the coulee with the new tricycle. We were all missing when Dad came home for his supper, so he was in no mood to fool around. We were oblivious to time or anything else, we were lugging that tricycle farther along down the hill. Meantime, Dad had trailed us and picked up a switch. He made Charlie and me push that thing to the top and all the way home, Every time we stopped, Dad would switch our legs and after that, believe me, we never "took a walk" unless we were with Mom or Dad. The Smith kids said they didn't like Mr. Laws, and Laurie never got a spanking. But we sure did. I remembered this trip. So you can see I was no angel.

How parenting has changed! Today, if anyone found children wandering unsupervised on a railroad bridge, the parents would be charged with neglect. And I fail to understand how it could have been so difficult to keep scissors out of the hands of a five-year-old.
On the other hand, the freedom to wander is something I experienced to a lesser extent when I was a child, and it is something precious today's North American kids at the very least, have had taken from them.

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