Thursday, October 30, 2008

Babysitting in the Days of Yore

I packed up this mug to take to work today and it got me thinking. This mug was a gift to me from a family I babysat for in the summer of 1987. Sheryl and I lived in Oberlin that summer--we lived in this crazy Victorian house that belonged to a woman named Jeanne Butts. I met her when I interviewed with her for a job (which I don't think I got) but, during the interview, it came up that Sheryl and I needed a place for the summer and she needed to find a housesitter. The family who gave me the mug lived next door to her.

Think about that: total stranger gets 2 total strangers to live in her house for 3 months. Next door neighbors hire one of the total strangers to watch their kids. No resume, no references, nothing. Those were very different times.

I don't remember much from my babysitting--I remember the 7 year old son explaining, very scientifically, what constitutes "good legs" on a woman. I also remember teaching the 13 year old girl how to apply eyeshadow and using that same eyeshadow to make her brother look like he had a shiner. I don't remember their names but I do remember that Sheryl and I regularly referred to the boy as "Devil Child Spawn of Satan."

And here I sit, 21 years later, drinking Tension Tamer tea out of their mug. OH: I just remembered! They got me a mug with a unicorn because unicorns are "magical" and, at the time, I was at my superwitchiest. Which was pretty easy to do in Oberlin, what with the herb co-op where you could buy chamomile and licorice root by the ounce. Ah, Ooooooberlin. That was a good summer.

1 comment:

alienspice said...

he was a very bad boy, though I believe that roald dahl was right in this case.
as he is in the case of all the liberal parents who let their progeny run screaming around my restaurant.