“Episode One”

babysittting

I started babysitting at the ridiculous age of 11. Either I was incredibly competent (I would like to think so!) or the neighbors were terribly desperate(more likely.) At any rate I babysat through elementary school, high school and college. Today, however, just my first encounter with babysitting someone else’s kids(i.e. not my siblings. By the way, I didn’t get paid to watch my siblings.)

The doctor and his wife down the road had five boys under the age of eight. I probably did seem very mature to the mom since I was a girl, fairly competent, and used to little kids. I earned 35 cents an hour watching these kids, the standard rate in 1959.

The littlest ones were no problem. I was used to diapering my little sisters. Fixing snacks was also simple. Watching the boys race around the back yard was a no-brainer. However, the second oldest kid, probably six years old, climbed a tree and challenged me to get him down. Apparently this behavior got a rise out of his mother, and he thought it would alarm me.

I remember very calmly telling him I wasn’t going to call the fire department. He could stay up there as long as he wanted. It gave me one less little boy to tend to. I went into the house to prepare snacks, and he climbed back down. Safely.

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