Childhood, A Scary World

Do not go into the basement, batteries will eat up little girls. Do not go out into the pasture, the bull will kill you. Do not go near the pig pen; a mother sow will kill you and eat you. Do not climb the windmill, the fan blades will cut off your head. Do not kick the horse in the flanks; he will throw you off and break your neck. Watch out for gypsies, they like to steal pretty little girls. They will teach you to beg, and we will never see you again. Do not hold on to the door handle when you are in the Terraplane, it will throw you right out of the car.

Such was the life of a pre-school child in the 1930s. Well, I didn't get stolen, killed or eaten up, but I did get bucked off the horse and thrown out of the car. Such is the life of a solitary child in a huge farm family of very busy adults.

In fairness, when I kicked old Ted in the flanks, he merely took off across Granddad's potato patch. churning up potato plants like dark green birds in flight. I was trying to please my friend, June Cook, an only child, seated behind me in her beautiful peach silk dress with a huge bow holding up her long, blonde plaits. Granddad was standing outside the parlor door cursing at the top of his lungs at the sight while Grandma, President of the Ladies Aide of the Coldwater Methodist Church, conducted a meeting in the dining room and parlor. Trust me, the danger was not riding old Ted. That came later when both Granddad and I learned of our newly committed sins of creating chaos in the midst of a missionary meeting.

Learning the danger of holding the handle of a door that opened from the front is another story altogether. Somewhere there is a very weary guardian angel.