from Caddie Woodlawn
written by Carol Ryrie Brink
originally illustrated by Kate Seredy
(new illustrations) by Trina Schart Hyman
winner: Newbery Medal 1936
Yesterday was Labor Day.
My first job was babysitting for my neighbor’s three kids: two and a half; four; and five. I was eleven.
It wasn’t babysitting, really. I played with the kids while their mother was keeping house. You know, laundry, dusting, mopping the kitchen floor, and such. She was a housewife in a day before we had a name for stay-at-home moms (and dads). Then, it was the moms who mostly stayed home.
It was summer so we played outside. I’d give the kids some lunch and my job was finished. My neighbor paid me 50 cents an hour for a couple of hours of work.
I learned responsibility, time management, and how to have fun.
The kids looked up to me. I learned to respect myself and trust my decisions.
(In 2015) I just spent a week working closely with fourteen smart, creative, and high energy teenagers. They mostly reported for work on time, stayed focused, and worked well together. And they had fun.
(Now, 2021) my grandkids are growing up, faster than I imagined when I held them in those tiny, soft blankets and they each squeezed my pinkie finger and we gazed into each others’ eyes.
Maybe it’s my rose-colored glasses, but despite the global pandemic of COVID-19, Climate Catastrophe, rampant gun violence, laws skewed toward the wealthy, inequality between demographic groups (Black, white, brown; LGBTQ; women; national origin; well the list is long, but you get it) watching and listening to the kids is what gives me hope.
The world will be in good hands when these kids are in charge.
Have a great and productive week!
--stay curious! (and work hard)