Friday, April 13, 2007

In A Nutshell

OK, you know the drill. And today, we are down to

60. My first job for pay was:
Babysitting. The first children I took care of lived next door to us in Roswell; I was 13 and they were about four and seven. They were good kids and it was fun to play with them. They went to bed easily and then I could read, which I loved. The only problem was that the parents were always broke (the father was the treasurer for the school district, which gives you lots of confidence, doesn't it?), and I used to get paid in ear rings. My guess is that the ear rings were worth a lot more money than I had earned, but they were for a very sophisticated, tall, blond woman with a long neck and I never liked them.

One time, when I was living in San Mateo, California, and 15, I took care of the baby next door. It's a good thing that we were next door because I had no idea how to get that baby to stop crying, and Mama came over and comforted her and got her to sleep.

My favorite time, though was after high school graduation. I went into the California State Employment Office in Modesto looking for a summer job, and the man who interviewed me hired me to take care of his children for six weeks while his wife (a school teacher) was in Sacramento earning her continuation credits.

The little girls were 18 months and four years and they were delightful. The youngest called her sister Holly "La La" which the parents couldn't figure out; it was obvious to me the first day I was there. She rode her trike around the backyard for hours, singing, "La, la, la, la, la." When they were in the backyard I had to keep a close eye on them because the 18 month old loved to eat big, green caterpillars.

Their mother may have been a good teacher, and she may even have been a good mother, but she had no idea how to keep house. Or teach her own kids manners -- they would pick up an entire fried egg and shove it into their mouths. And I had nothing else to do but play Mama. I taught them table manners and a number of other skills; cleaned them up and had them dressed nicely and dinner ready when their dad got home from work; and cleaned the house from top to bottom. I had thought that they had avocado green appliances in the kitchen; when I finished the four day cleaning of that room, I discovered that they were white.

And one thing I learned from that was that playing house was fun, and taking care of kids was wonderful, but I really didn't want to be a housewife. Once I had the house really clean, there wasn't that much to do and no adult company until I walked home to Auntie after work. Not the life for me.


J at said...

Oh, that comment about the green appliances kind of threw me over the edge...ugh.

Housewife has it's ups and downs, I suspect, and no one to talk to would definately be one of the downs. Nice that you learned early on that it wasn't for you. :)

Maya's Granny said...

J - think what discovering that those appliances were white did to me!

kenju said...

If the appliances were that dirty, I would have run out of the kitchen.

I was also watching Johnny Carson the night Ed Ames threw the tomahawk. I laughed for hours.