A Day in My Life
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by Laramie Boyd
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As I opened my eyes, I saw sunlight filtering through the roll up shade. The wooden dowel
that the shade was stapled to always seemed to be a little crooked and the shade torn, but it kept the direct sunlight out. I didn't
particularly want to jump out of bed like I usually do this Saturday, as I knew I had chores to do, including cutting the grass with
the steel roller-blade mower. I kind of liked that, though, in a way. I could stretch my arm and leg muscles and feel good that I
was helping Dad out. He had to work on Saturday. He was a machinist in downtown L.A. and had an hour drive each way to and from work
in our 1936 Ford, and he was usually tired when he got home, so I was glad to help out in this small way. But later this morning I
knew I would be at the ballpark doing what I liked best, playin' ball, so I rolled out of the sack to greet the new day.
Mom had just finished fixing Dad's breakfast, which she did every day. And she also packed him a lunch pail full of sandwiches, fruit,
and milk. I got some of Dad's leftovers from his breakfast, but it tasted good with a cool glass of milk out of the ice box. Today
the ice man would deliver a new 25 pound cube of ice. I liked to watch him swing that chunk of ice onto his shoulder on top of that
piece of leather shoulder protector, then grab the chunk with his prongs and sling it into the ice box that sat on the back porch.
That kept our milk and vegetables cool until we got another ice block delivery the next Saturday.
Just as I was finishing breakfast, Mom was carrying out the clean clothes she had squeezed through the wringer washing machine. She
hung them up on the clothes line with the clothes pins she carried in her apron. I liked to see my shirts and pants fluttering in
the breeze as they dried out. Mom always saw to it that I had clean clothes to wear to school and to play ball in.
After I took the trash out to the back yard burner and dumped it into the bin, I took the pail full of garbage from the back porch
and set it on the front curb, where the garbage man would come by in his truck and pour the contents of the can over into the bed
of the truck, throw the can back on the walkway, and be on his way to the next house. I always wondered where they took that stuff,
it was so smelly and the flies that followed the truck were so thick it seemed like a million of them in a swarm.
Now it was time to head for the ball field, so I grabbed my mitt and an old ball I had been saving for today, jumped on my bike that
my Dad had found in the want ads in the paper and had painted, told Mom I'd be back after the game was over, and I was on my way.
I made my usual stop on the next street over to pick up a friend, who jumped up on the handle bars, feet on the front wheel axle,
and away we went.
After the ball game, a couple guys and I decided to ask our folks if
we could go see a show. A new Gene Autry double feature, a Buck Rogers serial, and the sports newsreel was playing downtown and all
we needed was eleven cents to get in and fifteen cents for a soda and candy and maybe some popcorn. I hoped Mom had the money, but
I had gone last Saturday so I didn't know if she could afford it today. Turned out she had saved up so I could go, without telling
Dad, who wasn't such a spendthrift as she was sometimes. I loved Mom for so many little things like that that she did. Dad was okay
too though. I knew he worked hard and had bills to pay.
I got home a little late and Mom
and Dad were sitting down at the dinner table. Mom always had a hot meal ready when Dad got home from work. He looked tired and was
hungry as a bear. Mom had made an apple pie for dessert, and Dad and I made quick work of that. We didn't get that treat too often
and we took advantage of it.
After dinner I usually did the dishes, as Mom was generally
tuckered out from fixing the meals, doing the wash, and cleaning the house, which she did every day. After supper, Dad and Mom usually
sat in the living room and talked about Dad's job, while he smoked his Camels. He would tell Mom some of the problems he had at work
and how he tried to solve them. Mom usually just listened and didn't say much. She didn't really understand the work a machinist did,
so she couldn't add much to the conversation.
I was kind of worn out too, and after a quick
once over with a bar of soap and water, I headed straight for bed. Right away I turned on the little Philco by my bed and dialed it
in to my nightly favorite radio programs. Tonight it was Red Rider with Little Beaver, I Love a Mystery, and the Burns and Allen comedy
show. Tomorrow would be The Lone Ranger, Jack Benny, and The Green Hornet. I loved those shows and listened to them every night while
I fell asleep and dreamed of the next day's adventures.
I often think about how I grew
up during my elementary and junior high school years. There wasn't any money for non-essentials, we lived in simple homes, the family
car was old and my clothes were not up to date. But honestly, I never remember anything but being happy. I recall that my friends
and I enjoyed each day. It was fun to be young. Life was "kinder and gentler" then I think. The changes taking place in America and
around the world, the pressures and uncertainties, sometimes even fears of what's going to happen next, make it hard for young people
to enjoy the kind of life I had. Computers, i-pads, cell phones, video games, these introspective gadgets will never be as satisfying,
I don't believe, as growing up without them was. May our government soon find a way to return to a way of governing that is "kinder
and gentler", and our young people discover that finger-poking gadgets are no substitute for lively, personal, face-to-face relationships.