Strange laws seem to be a part of our legal system. I suppose they might have had a purpose at some point, but somehow most of us just can’t see what it might have been. Section 18-54 of the Little Rock Arkansas city ordinances says, “No person shall sound the horn on a vehicle at any place where cold drinks or sandwiches are served after 9:00 p.m.” Immediately my mind begins to question this law, known as the Little Rock Sandwich Shop Law.
It is mind boggling to think that this could have been such a constant problem in Little Rock that it could require immediate legal intervention. And it wasn’t that honking in front of the sandwich shop was a problem all the time, just after 9 p.m. In reality, that isn’t even late. So, honking after 9 p.m. would get the culprit a citation and a fine, but what if you were trying to prevent an accident? Think about it. What a choice, have an accident, or get a ticket for trying to prevent one. So, with our accident, does the person who honked to prevent the accident get the ticket, or is it the guy who caused the accident, but obeyed the law, and didn’t honk.
Now, be aware that “drive-by honkings” that are performed prior to 9 p.m. are completely acceptable, so any sandwich shop heckling that you may have planned just had to be completed with this time frame in mind. I leave questions like these to be answered by those with more formidable legal minds than myself. My guess is that it had something to do with teenaged drivers, who were really just out for a good time, and wanted to say “Hello” to their friends. I suppose the adults didn’t like all the honking, but seriously, how early do these adults go to bed, or need their quiet time, anyway. Whatever the case may be…this was one law that could only be classified as ridiculous.
During the years of World War II, so much destruction brought with it the loss of jobs and homes. Along with the loss of jobs came poverty for many people. The smallest necessity became a “luxury” to people who had no problem making a living before. Many children were caught in the post-war poverty, because they lost their parents in the war. The orphanages were filled with children who were still in a daze, and trying to learn to be pretty much on their own, while still under the supervision of the state. I can only imagine how these little ones must have felt. Their parents were gone, they were grieving, and they were tossed into a strange building with many other children, all in the same boat. I’m sure the people running the orphanage did their best to comfort the children, but there were just so many of them.
I’m sure that joy was stranger to most of the children. And I’m sure that the people who cared for them were looking for any way to put a smile on the faces of the children. Little did they know, how such a small thing as shoes, could change everything. They found out, when the Junior Red Cross in the United States of America put together boxes of what most of us would consider necessities to give to the children in Europe.
One six year old Austrian boy named Werfel, was photographed when he got a new pair of shoes at the Am Himmel orphanage, donated to him in the Christmastime care box. The picture taken of little Werfel, was enough to bring tears to the eyes of anyone who saw it. They may have been happy tears, but they were highly emotional tears nevertheless. Most kids these days, would be almost disappointed to receive a pair o shoes as a gift…unless they were the latest in cool shoes. Little Werfel was beyond happy. He held the shoes to his chest and looked to the sky, as I he couldn’t possibly contain his happiness. The photographer probably took the picture through tear filled eyes. I know that’s what I would have done as the photographer. It was impossible not to be filled with emotion. “The photograph was first published in LIFE magazine on December 30, 1946 (on page 22) and later, again, on September 24, 1951 (on page 180). The photograph was shot by Gerald Waller, in 1946, and was titled “New Shoes”. The little boy, Werfel, was among the children who were brought to the USA after being deported from Israel / Palestine, where they arrived after liberation from the concentration camps. The image was published with the following caption in the 1946 issue. “EUROPE’S CHILDREN – Christmas brings joy and sadness.”
It was said that, “For many of Europe’s children there was a Santa Claus this Christmas. When a big box from the American Red Cross arrived at Vienna’s Am Himmel orphanage, shoes and coats and dresses tumbled out. Like the youngster (in the picture), the children who had seen no new clothes throughout the war smiled to high heaven. But for thousands of other European children there was no Santa Claus. When a boatload of illegal Jewish immigrants arrived at Haifa, Palestine recently, two Polish children (opposite) got separated from their parents. Tears filled the eyes of the boy, and his wan sister clutched him protectively. They were later reunited with their parents, but the whole family was shipped to Cyprus.”
The picture has stayed in my memory since the first time I saw it. To see that little boy so overjoyed…over shoes, was so beautiful. The photographer caught the picture perfectly. That moment was very likely one of the first truly happy moments that little boy had felt in quite some time. An adult, no matter the need would never have shown such deep joy, probably because they would still be wrapped up in the poverty of the time, while the child was able to look beyond all that,and see the pure joy of the gift. The child could simply enjoy and cherish what has just been given to him, even though he was living in an orphanage…even though historical events had just unfolded,robbing him of his comfortable life…even though these were hand-me-downs. It made no difference to this boy, and it reminds us of how flawed our thinking is. We tend to look at the negatives in life and focus on them. Not this boy. He was happy with the tiniest positive thing that came into his life. It’s a lesson we should all learn. Sometimes we all need to appreciate the little things in life.
Babies are so cute. They do things that we as adults can’t do, not only because we would be looked upon as a little off in the head, but because, lets face it…we don’t bend like that anymore. Things like trying to suck on our toes, like my sister, Caryl Reed is doing here, would be looked upon as disgusting, if they were done by adults, and in all reality, most adults would be hard pressed to get their feet to their mouth, although, I’m sure there are those who can do it. If you are one of those, it is probably best to keep it to yourself, because, as I said, people will think you are a little off in the head if you were to do that in public. And yet, we all find the pictures of babies sucking on their toes, to be so cute, that they are definitely Facebook worthy which is one of the highest compliments a picture can get these days. Of course, your baby isn’t really sucking on their toes because they taste good, but rather because they are curious about them, still we would look pretty ridiculous doing the same thing. Kids can get away with goofy stuff, but adults…not so much.
Another way that kids have all the freedom over adults is the area of eating and table manners. No one gives a second thought to the mess kids make at the dinner table…until it comes time to clean it up, anyway. When a baby puts a whole bowl of spaghetti on their head, it’s funny. When they like their food so much that they use their hands and shovel it in to the point of wearing almost as much of it on their face as they put in their tummy, it’s funny. When they fall asleep in their food, because lets face it, eating is hard work…it’s funny, and you still have to wonder how they can bend like that. Most adults would have to be drunk to fall asleep comfortably in their plate of food, but kids often do it without a bit of trouble.
And, of course, there are the non-food things that kids do that we as adults probably had better not do. My niece Aleesia Spethman walks in the door of her grandma, my sister, Cheryl Masterson’s house, and before very long, off come most of the clothes. And if there are any pretty shoes around, she is clomping around in those far too big for her shoes, looking like a princess, even thought all she has on is a diaper…or these days, underwear. Of course, Aleesia comes from a family, her grandmother and Aunt Chantel Balcerzak for sure, who are very warm blood people. The removal of the clothes can be a matter of being too hot. Nevertheless, her grandma and her aunt, certainly do not have the luxury of being able to run around in just a diaper, because as with so many other things kids do, that would be ridiculous. Childhood is a special time when these goofy, messy, and absolutely kid things can be done, and no one thinks it odd. It’s a time to find out about all the yummy things life has to offer, and a time to live free of embarrassment, restrictions, limits, and inhibitions.
When I was a kid, dressing up for Halloween was for kids. Things have changed since then and these days you see lots of adults going to parties, teenagers roaming the streets trick or treating, scaring kids or just acting weird…and of course, there are still the little kids doing their usual thing…collecting candy. It’s the night when everything is turned upside down. Kids are taken to do things they normally aren’t allowed to do…knock on the doors in their neighborhoods and ask for candy. Of course, most are also, schooled in all the safety tips designed to keep then safe as they go, because lets face it, they are excited, and there is always the possibility of one of them running across the street without really looking first…hence the need for watchful parents.
It’s much different today, than things were in my day, because while my dad always took us out trick or treating, we didn’t have to be worried about the candy we received. We made a haul. In fact, we took a pillowcase to collect our candy in, knowing full well that we would almost fill it up, and sometimes we even had to go home, empty it out and go out again. These days, kids only go to the homes of people they know…for the most part. Candy must be x-rayed to assure its safety. Many children are taken to places like the mall or to parties. All this to insure their safety in this unsafe world we live in now.
Most of the teenagers either don’t participate, work, or stay at home to hand out candy, but lots of them go out with their friends. One hopes that the majority of those teenagers are not out getting into trouble, but often that is not the case. At least for the troublemaking group. There are still good teenagers, who respect authority, their parents, and their elders. I am thankful that I live in a state where most teenagers are still taught good values, and I wish that was so in all the states in our nation.
This year, my youngest grandson, Josh Petersen is participating in something new for Halloween. Although it is not a Halloween event, it requires him to don a costume, but please don’t call it an outfit or costume, because it has a specific name…bunkers. Josh’s event is not a party or haunted house or really anything that has anything to do with Halloween, but is does require going into a situation that is very much out of the ordinary for him, and strange for us, his family, to think about. Josh is doing fire science training at the drill tower today. The training will include a practice fire, in which real fire will be used…hence the unusual situation involving a building, that most of us would consider a nightmare if it happened in a building we were in. While these are not a real fire situations, it is these training sessions that prepare our firefighters for the real life scenarios they will face on the job. Yes, this is an unusual way for a seventeen year old to spend a Saturday, especially on Halloween, but it is one that Josh will find exciting, inspiring, and a great learning experience for the career he has chosen to take on. We are all very proud of him.
Whatever Halloween finds you and your family doing, I hope you have a great evening, be safe, watchful, respectful, and have fun. Happy Halloween!!
Several of my cousins were talking a couple of days ago on Facebook, about our grandmother, Hattie Byer, and how she kept her numerous grandchildren in line when they were at her house. Now, in reality, I pretty much mean Greg Hushman, Elmer Johnson, and Forest Beadle, because most of the rest of us would never have done anything to provoke the Wrath of Grandma!! It’s funny, but I can almost hear the skepticism from every reader. Ok, I’ll admit that I was no less likely to get into trouble with Grandma than Greg, Elmer or Forest, but I truly don’t recall having her coming after me with the broom, although my cousin Shirley Cameron, who is from the other side of my family remembers it once or twice, when she was over there with us.
One thing I do remember, and that I know every one of Grandma’s grandchildren will agree on, Grandma was the boss when you were at her house. You see, those were the days when it didn’t matter if the adult in the vicinity was your parent, grandparent, or the parent of the friend you were visiting, they all disciplined the kids who got out of line. And if some adult caught you doing something in the public arena that you shouldn’t be, such as graffiti or some other such mischief, they weren’t afraid to tell you to “knock it off” either. That was just the way things were back then. From what I am told of this barely five foot tall, broom wielding grandma of mine, she was able to make that broom go around corners, so if you thought you were going to get away from her, you might just as well think again.
I certainly remember that when you found yourself in trouble with Grandma, you were about to get a very clear understanding of what the word “trouble” meant. Yes, I too, had my share of times in my childhood where I found myself on the wrong side of Grandma Byer. Oh boy, believe me, it was not a place you wanted to be. And don’t think she was going to threaten to tell your mom just how bad you were, and then conveniently forget to do it when the time actually came for your parents to come home. Grandma wasn’t about to be the helpless little babysitter who had to wait for your parents to make you behave…oh no!! Whether she used a broom, her hand, or some other punishment, believe me when I say the punishment was swift, and it fit the crime. You see, Grandma was old school, before there was a new school form of discipline. People weren’t afraid of some well meaning, but not too bright passerby telling them they shouldn’t spank that kid…those people didn’t exist then. People knew that most situations required a little whack on the seat to get through to the brain. For many of us those lessons made it crystal clear, who was in charge, who was acting up, who would refrain from such activities in the future, and who would apologize for their elders for acting such a horrible fashion in the first place.
For most of us, the discipline Grandma dished out, is looked back on with a smile, because we all knew how much she loved us. People who have never had any discipline simply don’t understand that discipline is a form of love. Does it hurt…yes, because it is tough love, but are you better for it…oh yeah, because they love you very much. If your parents or grandparents didn’t care about you, they would have no need to want you to behave. They just wouldn’t care, but since they do, they want you to know how to act in public, because then people are happy to have you around. And for any of you, who have ever been around an out of control kid, can you honestly tell me that you did not wish their parents would just give them a spanking? Of course you did. So to my grandma, to her broom, and to our parents, aunts, uncles, and teachers…I say thank you. Whether we felt the broom on our backside, or some other form of discipline, I can say that we all turned out pretty good. And people don’t seem to mind having us around.
For every girl named Amy, there comes a time when their name is butchered in one of the sweetest ways possible. It happens when a small child tries to say their name. I don’t quite understand why such a simple name is so hard for little ones to learn to say correctly. Nevertheless, the name Amy always seems to change to Mamie when said by a little one who is learning to talk. This has been something that my daughter, Amy Royce has had the pleasure of enjoying all her life. I suppose some people wouldn’t think it cute to have their name messed up in such a way, but we have always thought it to be really cute, and quite precious for our Amy to be called Mamie. It was always said by a child who dearly loved Amy, and that made the name quite endearing. And it was always fun to laugh about it, causing it to be a nickname that even the adults used with her sometimes.
Because of how much we loved the nickname, Mamie for our daughter, I found myself smiling when I heard what my cousin Raylynn Williams had named her daughter. The name was actually handed down from her husband’s grandmother, but nevertheless, there was now a Mayme whose name was not being mispronounced by the little children around her. As names go, it is a bit unusual, but then a lot of people prefer the unusual when it comes to naming their children, myself and my daughter Amy included.
I found myself taken back in time just over four years ago, when I heard what my cousin had named her precious little girl. The name would be one that would take me back every time I heard it…or even saw Mayme. How odd it seems, to have two children with names that, in reality, are not the same, but we can feel a sameness nevertheless. It isn’t always sameness that connects us, you see. Sometimes, it can be our differences that make us the same. While Amy and Mayme are totally different names, to hear a small child say them, would sound exactly the same. Who would expect that a shorter name that is totally different, would be pronounced the same when it comes to little kids. Mayme is a sweet little girl, with a beautiful smile, who is a little bit shy around people she doesn’t know well, But once she knows you are ok, based on being cleared by her parents, of course. Her face will light up with her smile. She is the answer to her parents prayers for a daughter, and the apple of their eyes. Her brothers are very protective of their little sister, as brothers tend to be…especially when the sister is the youngest, like Mayme is.
I can’t say that Amy and Mayme are alike in very many ways, in all reality, because Amy is a grown woman, and Mayme is a little girl. So much can change as each moves on in their life. Amy has always been a little shy, and I think Mayme is too, but that could change as she grows up…or it could stay the same. We will see. They may end up becoming completely different people, but one thing they will always have in common is their name…in a way anyway. Mayme will always be Mayme, even when her name is said by a little child, and Amy will always be Amy. But, Amy will also always be Mamie too, because there will always be little kids who will love Amy and will learn her name early, even if they do mispronounce it.
When it comes to being spacey, kids take the cake. As a child, I remember telling my mom that I couldn’t find something, such as shoes, books, and homework, to name a few. Mom would always say that we needed to go look for it, and “Don’t walk around looking at the ceiling!” Her point was that it obviously wouldn’t be up there, or where ever else we were scanning in such a manner, and it was time to really look. It was really a laziness way to look for something, hoping that if Mom thought we had tried, she would come and really look for it. It seldom worked, and when she found it quickly by really looking, you could bet the next time she helped was a long way off.
One of the funniest things kids do is to look for something that they already have on, or in their hand. We have all done this one…and it is one of the spaciest things to do. It’s like saying, “Where is my cell phone?” only to be told that it is in your hand. Now, that’s embarrassing!! This one happened to my daughter, Amy when she was a little girl. She was getting dressed, and started looking all around for something. I asked her what she was looking for, and she told me her shirt. When I said that she had it on, she was totally surprised, and I laughed for quite a while about that one. It still makes me laugh.
Of course, kids aren’t the only spacey people around. How many times have you seen someone looking for their keys or their glasses only to find that they are carrying the keys in their hand, and their glasses are sitting on top of their head, or hanging on a lanyard around their neck. Of course, when that is pointed out, they are always embarrassed, because that makes them as spacey as the kids. For the adults, I suppose it is just because we have our minds on so many other things, but it still feels like we should be a little more organized. And speaking of organization…don’t get me started. How many times have you put something important in a safe place so it doesn’t get lost…only to find that you can’t remember just where that safe place was. You search and search, and finally find a way to replace it. Then you remember where you put it…of course.
I think that as people get busier they forget things more often, and by the time the retire and aren’t so busy anymore…then for many, the memory isn’t so great, so the whole problem gets worse…my mother-in-law, for example. We had the worst time with her glasses for a while, only to find out that she was giving them away to “help” one of the other residents. It was a nice gesture, but a little pricey. So we had to get her a lanyard, so she couldn’t take them off so easy. It just goes to show you that when it comes to spacey…kids don’t corner the market. Everyone has the opportunity to do this at any time.
With kids, you never really know what is going to happen. One minute they’re happily playing and the next, one or more are taking sides against another. The funny thing is that often the fighting is so noisy that the adults aren’t sure what happened or who is to blame. Other times the fight is a little bit more of the silent treatment, so often no one really realizes that there was a problem, until it shows up in a picture. That is obviously what was going on that day between my nieces, Jessi and Michelle, while Lindsay wasn’t sure what to make of the whole situation, and the adults didn’t know anything was wrong. Jessi was trying very hard to get the message across to Michelle that she should get out of here!! The funny thing is that Jessi and Michelle get along very well, and are in fact friends, but that day, they were definitely on the outs!! I would love to know what that fight was all about, and maybe one of them will remember it, and tell us…if they aren’t too embarrassed about it. The funny thing to me is the fact that I have looked at this picture dozens of times, but this was the first time that I noticed that anything was amiss. I have to wonder how many others missed it too.
Most kids have times when they wish the younger kids would just get out of here…it just goes with the territory of being older. Unfortunately, there are very few times when they really have control over it. All the younger ones had to do was tattle to a parent, and they got to stay…with the possible exception of the older child’s room. This usually caused total irritation by the older child, who vowed to get even at the soonest possibly opportunity. I have been both the older and the younger child in that scenario and I think that in reality, neither is fun, but if I had to choose, I’d rather be the older child. At least with the older child, they get the a few of the privileges of age.
I think it is so funny to see the candid expressions on children’s faces, because they don’t hold anything back. If they are happy, they look delighted, and when they are mad…well, you know it!! Jessi is normally such a smiley girl, so to see her glaring at Michelle was so shocking. Not to say that she can’t get mad, but those girls get along so well, and really always have, so this look of total disdain was very much unlike them. It looked to me like Michelle, was definitely intimidated by Jessi, and didn’t feel real interested in crossing the imaginary line Jessi had drawn. All I can say is that whatever the problem was, it was probably short lived, and they both lived through the ordeal. I’m sure that later…after they saw the picture, they probably laughed about it for some time.
As kids, most of us have varying degrees of difficulty keeping track of our toys, mittens, coats, shoes, homework, and other such vital items, and when it comes to actually looking for those lost items, we somehow seem to be less than adept. How can so many things simply disappear in our rooms? I used to think that my daughter, Amy had a black hole in her room, because some of that missing stuff was never heard from again…even when we moved!! Nevertheless, Amy was not alone in her mysterious disappearances. It seems to be a common problem among children…and some adults are no better at keeping track of their things…losing cell phones, keys, paperwork, remote controls, and any other item that they were going to put in a safe place, so it would not get lost.
I remember so many times as a kid, when I couldn’t find something, and my mom would tell me to go look for it, because she didn’t have time to hunt for it when we were fully capable. That did not inspire us to go and search our rooms in depth until the much needed item was found, but rather caused us to wander aimlessly around our room…playing with other things that came into our line of sight, because those things seemed much more important than looking for a lost shoe on a school day. Then after playing for a little while, we would wander out to the front room again, whining to Mom that we just couldn’t find it. It was our hope that Mom would finally take pity on us and come to help us hunt for that missing item. Most of the time we were sadly disappointed…except for the possibility of the missing shoe on a school day, which usually found us wearing some other pair of shoes, that probably didn’t really go with the outfit we had on, but would have to do, because like it or not, we were going to school. Mom wasn’t about to let something as minor as wearing a dress with tennis shoes, keep us home on a school day.
So, we usually found ourselves back in the bedroom, hunting for that missing item again, and wishing Mom would just come and find it, because she was so much better at looking for things than we were. I suppose that she was right in making us do things for ourselves. I think I do better than the average person at keeping track of my things these days, because of Mom’s teachings. Although I must admit that I still lose things sometimes too. Mom taught us to put things away, although we don’t always do so…even today. But the thing I remember the most about those times when I was in my room hunting for a lost item, and unable to find it, was my mom saying, “You’ll never find it if you keep looking for it on the ceiling”, which meant quit walking around the room hoping it will jump out at you, and start looking under the bed, in the drawers, or in the closet, so you will find it already.
As my two oldest grandchildren approach their 18th birthdays, just a little over a month from now, it occurs to me just how quickly time flies. It seems like only yesterday that we were awaiting their arrival. We never suspected that they would be born just a day apart…Chris on his great grandmother’s birthday and Shai on Leap Day. When Corrie went into labor on the 27th, we all knew the closeness to her grandmother’s birthday. How cool it would be for Chris to arrive on that day, because Corrie had been born the first great grandchild on her great grandmother’s birthday, Bob’s mother, and now, the upcoming birthday was her own birthday, and Chris was her own first great grandchild…a rare occurrence indeed. When midnight passed, we knew we had made it, and we were all very excited about that.
Then, the next day, Amy called me and said that Corrie had “inspired” her, and she was now in labor. I couldn’t believe it. It would be so cool to have a Leap Day Baby, but she would have to hurry, and it almost seemed impossible…but then with our anniversary being on March 1, I thought that day would be cool too. Shai, however, had planned an unusual day for herself, one that would be all her own, and one that would only come every four years…Leap Day.
So it was that we were given two grandchildren, one boy and one girl, in two days. Seriously, does it get any better than that? I don’t think so. The two kids became instant best friends, because of the amount of time they spent together at my house and at Amy’s house, because Amy babysat Chris. I was living on cloud nine at that point, and I felt like the most blessed grandmother in the universe. I had told the girls that I wanted to be a grandmother by the time I was 40, and so they decided to oblige…hitting my goal twice just two months before my 40th birthday. The funny thing was that when Corrie said, “We made it Mom”, I had to ask “made what?” She laughed and said, “You are a grandmother before you are 40!” I had been so excited about the arrival of my first grandchild, that I had completely forgotten my goal.
Now, here we are almost eighteen years later, and looking at both of them getting ready to graduate from high school, and planning their college days and the rest of their lives, and all I can think is, “Where had all the years gone?” How could those precious little babies suddenly be adults? It seems impossible, and it makes me more than a little bit sad, but then I think, “Hmmmm, maybe I could be a great grandmother by the time I’m 60…not a bad goal at all. Time will tell, I guess. Maybe I’ll need to start putting a bug in those two little babies…now adult’s ears. And maybe, I shouldn’t have let that secret idea be known, because I’m not sure my girls feel ready to be grandmothers just yet. Still, that’s a couple of years down the road, so they will have a little time to get used to the idea. Seriously…it could happen.