Sunday, February 20, 2011

Early Childhood in Liberty: 1946-1952

What about kids ages 2-4 in Liberty in the "old days"?

I remember vaguely some things about my toddler years.  They center on home and family.  Kitchen activities were  fun.  Licking the beaters when Mom made a cake was tasty.  "Helping" to make pie crusts with the rolling pin was fun as was making little cinnamon rolls with the leftover dough with the immediate reward of getting to eat them.  The pies were mostly for special occasions or church socials, so we had to wait a while to savor them.

Crawling behind the couch to pet our Fox Terrier + (mutt) dog, Blackie, was a meaningful pastime.  I would pet her and hug her until she hid behind the couch, but I was small enough to crawl in to hide with her.  I felt like she was my friend. She never was irritable or disagreeable and let me play with my toys without interruption.

Toys at this age were cars, trucks, tinker toys, Lincoln Logs and an electric train.  The cowboy items seemed to come along at age 6, along with a series of items sold in cereal boxes re-enforcing our commitment to various TV shows (cultural reminder-we didn't have a TV until I was about 6 years old).  The Hopalong Cassidy mug and bowl set was a favorite.  The Howdy Doody Puppet was an age 7or 8 item received from Santa Claus at Christmas.  Boxes were helpful as garages and homes, while we got a plastic item every Christmas to add to the train props.  A few examples were a plastic train station, a plastic house, fire station and filling station with lots of cute little plastic evergreen trees.

A milk man delivered milk to the front porch and was neighborly with those who stepped outside.  I remember a couple inches of cream at the very top of each bottle of milk.  I don't remember how often they delivered.  A bread man (they were called "men" in those days of gender specific job titles) delivered bread to the front door in a Sunbeam Bread truck.  In later years, I took advantage of the pastries they sold.

The garbage man had a huge truck and was really strong, evidenced by how easily he lifted the garbage cans that he emptied into his truck.  He chatted with anyone outside, too.  He and the milkman both went out of their way to speak to my Grandma Clayton, who was wheelchair bound with rheumatoid arthritis.  The neighborliness of people was a big part of small town life.

Easter was special with Easter egg hunts, new clothes, photos, church with Easter songs and extended family Easter gatherings.  Christmas was exciting since our parents did not put up the tree until after we went to sleep Christmas eve.  They usually decorated the tree after midnight.  Mike and I had quite a sight each Christmas morning when we came down the stairs to see the colorful setting.

Other toddler experiences and childhood up to age 6 in Liberty were unique for many others who will be commenting from time to time, as they feel inspired to reflect in writing.

Pat Jonas

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