The world of my childhood was experienced with two bare feet. Growing up in Montgomery, Alabama, in the 1960’s no children wore shoes in the summertime except perhaps the sons and daughters of the newly imported – families who moved to Montgomery from other environs, where apparently shoes were a sign of civilization. Not here. Not among the poor and not even among the rich, or at least those deemed rich by the standard of the sleepy town along the banks of the Alabama River.
Shoes were not required for school, prompting uninitiated newcomers regularly to visit the school principal offering to buy shoes for the poor barefoot children streaming into the school each day, the children of the local doctors, lawyers and business leaders – the classmates of their children. The esteemed local pediatrician, wise beyond his time, assured parents that barefoot was best. He had his medical reasons – but I just thought he loved us.
A whole world of sensation is lost on those who go through life wearing shoes. Continue reading →
I once read that the definition of a boy is “a noise with dirt on it.” This definition is a bit simplistic. I might instead say “a hungry noise with dirt on it,” but it does ring true to my ears . . . to the extent that they still work.
Boys are noisy. Boys are dirty. And this is good, for many of the most heroic things, done by the best of men, involve both. If you have boys or hope to have boys just accept this reality from the beginning. You will have a much happier life.
Early on, as the noise and the dirt started to get to me, I thought it through. At a fundamental level, boys are loud and messy. If I did not like these “qualities” then on one level I just did not like boys. Given that I appeared to be in the habit of giving birth to one every 19 months, that just would not do. Continue reading →