April 2, 2013

"Every cloud has a silver lining, and one of the benefits of the exclusion of women from most professions..."

"... was that we had wonderful teachers, especially the women who today would probably be CEOs."

Justice Antonin Scalia, remembering his school days, in NYC, circa 1947.

He also talks about playing street hockey, camping in vacant lots, and sledding in a cemetery:
It was pretty much devise your own amusement. I’ve never been a parent to go to all the soccer games and all that, because my parents never came to my street-hockey or pickup softball games; they just said go out and play.
I grew up in the 50s and 60s in Delaware, and it was the same thing: You made your own amusement. The only difference, at least in my family, is that we weren't told to go out (or to play). If you wanted to stay in and if you wanted to work or do nothing, my parents wouldn't say you should do something else. I'm not sure why my parents refrained from pushing us out into the fresh air, and it's too late now to ask, but sifting through the evidence I have, I think that they didn't like being told what to do. I know my mother, as a young girl in the 1930s, was told not to read too much and she wanted to read. Maybe in my old age, I'm seeing my departed parents in a golden light, but what makes sense to me now is that they were staunchly libertarian.

105 comments:

Brent said...

How true Justice Scalia, how true!

I was a reader as a boy, it took a freind in jr high to get me on the basketball court. i was 6' 2" in the 7th grade and truly discovered basketball for the first time. I changed to running and track in the 9th grade through my first 2 years of college. Buit i was always a reader and enjoyed libraries. Sports are fun, but you are what you are.

CWJ said...

There's much at which to be marveled and horrified by the post's lead quote. At the same time that he is lauding his teachers, he is denigrating their profession.

Teaching, done well, and there's the distinction, is every bit as worthy of admiration, as the highest paid CEO.

ricpic said...

No one who has grown up in the era of supervised play can possibly know the lure of the street. I was out there for whole days, in summer we'd play street games till we couldn't see the ball any more. Ah well....

AprilApple said...

Just remember that inside every silver lining is a dark cloud.

-George Carlin

Bart Hall (Kansas, USA) said...

Having grown up in small-town coastal New England just a few years ahead of you, Ann, I had much the same libertarian experience, and especially since my mother was the town librarian books were definitely okay.

We boys would tell our parents roughly where the game (baseball, football, or hockey) would be and all our mothers would eventually call the nearest mother to have her send the appropriate kid(s) home.

The town was close-knit enough that if one of us got out of line the nearest parent would paddle us pretty good. We all knew we'd get another lickin' on arrival home -- for having disgraced the family by our mis-behavior.

chuck said...

he is denigrating their profession

How so?

CWJ said...

OK, I stand by my initial comment, but now that I've read the jump, my own memories come flooding back. It's funny but his NY memories may as well be my "Huck Finn" childhood transplanted from my green sod and river to his concrete playground.

To this day, I prefer to go around barefoot if I can get away with it.

Revenant said...

At the same time that he is lauding his teachers, he is denigrating their profession.

Not at all. He's just positing an explanation for why so many talented women used to go into teaching, even though it was (at the time) a low-paying career, and why they no longer do.

Teaching, done well, and there's the distinction, is every bit as worthy of admiration, as the highest paid CEO.

I have to disagree on that point as well. A CEO can have a vastly greater positive (or negative) impact than any teacher. Compare, say, Google's work putting information in people's hands, multiplied by the hundreds of millions of people who use it. I don't care how great your favorite teacher was -- she didn't impart anywhere *near* that level of knowledge or improve the world anywhere near as much.

Teaching is like construction work -- vital, but any given worker has a relatively narrow impact on society.

edutcher said...

Most of my teachers were not only men, but WWII vets.

They gave things a certain, shall we say, perspective.

Ann Althouse said...

The only difference, at least in my family, is that we weren't told to go out (or to play). If you wanted to stay in and if you wanted to work or do nothing, my parents wouldn't say you should do something else.

The exact opposite in my house because Mom wanted A) us out from in front of the TV or B) some peace and quiet.

CWJ said...

Chuck, the implicit why would you be a teacher if you could be a CEO. And you would have been if you hadn't been held back.

n.n said...

CWJ:

He is equating the value of a teacher to a CEO. He is further expressing a concern that the most qualified teachers would today choose to become CEOs, presumably for material and ego incentives, as well as social stature.

CWJ said...

Revenant, admiration does not equal impact.

YoungHegelian said...

The only difference, at least in my family, is that we weren't told to go out (or to play).

You were two girls. We were two boys, and we were very definitely told by our mother "Go out & play" so she could have some peace & quite without two boys wreaking havoc (and we were by all standards good boys).

My mother felt it was her house. She maintained it perfectly, and she didn't need us to mess it up. That included my father. More than once I heard her tell my father "Can't you go hunting?"

My wife & I often talk about the days of "go play & see you at dinner" and how sad it must be for kids who have nothing but scheduled & supervised play now. My wife, who grew up on the Texas/Mexico border, really used to wander. On a horse, no less.

bwebster said...

I was a free-range child, and how. During the two years we lived in Naval housing at Subic Bay (Philippines), I would not only wander all over the housing area, but out into the jungle as well. Did I mention that I was only 5 to 7 years old during those two years (1958-60)? When we moved to Astoria, Oregon afterwards, I wandered through the forest, capturing snakes and eating berries. When we settled in La Mesa (east San Diego county) -- at the ripe old age of 8 -- I quickly gained an intimate familiarity with the entire network of storm drains in the area, particularly those that had live water in them.

It was a glorious childhood. ..bruce..

CWJ said...

n.n, I understand what you're saying but I believe your own comment betrays a bias toward CEO's over teaching.

dreams said...

Our generation was the last to be allowed to play and do whatever we wanted to and those of us who lived close enough to school were also allowed to walk to school. There have been times over the years when I have driven by my old school and noticed all the cars lined up to pick up their little babies. Not in my time.

Paul said...

I can't be the only one disturbed at the drastic loss of freedom in the past few decades, and the anti-liberty crowd (ironically called "liberals")seems to just be warming up from what I can tell.

chrisnavin.com said...

Charles Murray wrote about this subject, to some extent, in coming apart, taking 1963 as his starting point, and arguing for the decline of a certain kind of American culture when there was cohesion enough to send your kid out there.

He's a social scientist almost on his own, as most social scientists are more invested in the knowledge they believe they are discovering upon an empirical basis, much of this resting upon a rationalist platform. At one end of this spectrum lies Reason enthroned.

Some people make their way out of this hothouse, with growing doubts, and become neoconservatives.

Many there believe they are actually doing science, or discovering laws enough to shape the kind of society they'd like to see through schools of government, the promotion of equality through democracy, social policy prescriptions etc.

Society will be guided along by these fields of knowledge, new developments and research, and the fierce debates and dissenters within those schools.

This helps explain why NPR and other outlets can always find an expert and some statistics for their favored outcomes.

CWJ said...

Hey dreams, not only did you walk to school, but you walked home for lunch before going back for afternoon classes. Am I right?

chrisnavin.com said...

It can help explain why I find myself drawn to Milton Friedman, the Chicago School, and folks like Charles Murray, as it goes both ways.

dreams said...

CWJ, You're right.

Chip Ahoy said...

Mine too! But how I did despise that word "discipline." I wanted to punch whoever thought of that word right in the face. Self-discipline. What a weird-ass idea to impose on a child.

And then conversely, I'd also think, "My mum isn't reminding me to brush my teeth. Doesn't she realize I'm going to regret not brushing them after every meal? This is proof that woman is one careless mum. Clearly, she doesn't love me so much as an overweening hovering mum."

chrisnavin.com said...

Lies, damned lies, and statistics...

When I was a boy, I floated down mighty rivers, climbed highest trees, and poked the girls I liked with sticks.

This new continent was my kingdom, and wild nature my playground. Empty lots and swelling creeks traced the boundaries of my growing imagination.

Stickball and baseball taught me what I needed to know about getting along, and gambling taught me what I needed to know about people.

DADvocate said...

Earlier today I reflected on how smart the nuns who taught me in grade school. With few exceptions, a strong contrast to the teachers my kids had. These nuns could address a subject sans book and sans notes more adeptly than many of my kids' teachers could hold a simple conversation.

My mother used to push us out the door or tell us to go to our room and read. With 6 kids, she needed a little tranquility sometimes. We had caves and cliffs in the neighborhood. It's amazing none of us got killed. The county rescue squad did have to assist my brother and some friends out of a cave once.

Chip Ahoy said...

This is the phrase Mum used on me all the time:

"GO OUTSIDE AND PLAY

But that was because I was such a giant pain in the ass. The other phrase she used on me all the time was:

QUIT RUNNING IN AND OUT.

Now after about 1,000 of those my ponderous youthful mind landed on the idea, "Hey, she's trying to tell me something. This is like a hint."

Those two things taken together did seem to mean, "Get the hell away from me and STAY the hell away from me."

And as time went on I began to understand, she did very well indeed despite not being cut out for all that.

rcocean said...

My mother never told us to "go out and play" - we were out playing every chance we got. We went out when it was 100 degrees and swam, at 30 degrees we built snowmen and sledded and we played football/basketball/baseball every chance we got.

And I grew up in a small town, long after the "boomers".

Paco Wové said...

"admiration does not equal impact."

So? Are you arguing that unless we praise every profession to the skies, we are somehow "denigrating" it?

I've been a teacher, and IMHO a pretty good one. I could never be a CEO.

chrisnavin.com said...

Advocate:

My mother told me the story about how the girls and the nuns went on a weekend retreat to a camp.

One of the girls had a seizure, and lay immobilized for hours. The head nun, an old battle ax, told the other girls to leave her there because she'd eventually come out of it. No ambulance was called.

My mother already had doubts about some of these birds and their constant filling of doubt with faith, but that really took the cake.

There had to be more out there.

She didn't go full 60's (the rather narcisstic journey for the Self that devolved into hedonism for many, and was full 68er over in Europe), because she was too strait-laced and a little older, but things started to go wrong for the Catholic Church around that time.

They're still reeling in the public square and vacant from much of the upper middle class mind, and what's filled in doesn't seem much better.

CWJ said...

rcocean,

It's good to know that there is a life after "boomers." That reassuring.

bagoh20 said...

On non-school days I was up at dawn and gone - into the woods, or a vacant factory, or a strip mine or on the railroad tracks. I was never bored - an adventure every day. I would return about 5pm for dinner, and then out again to the neighborhood playground to meet friends for nighttime shenanigans, games and hanging out listening to music. I can't imagine that kid having any interest in video games - just not fun enough. How are you going to get dirty sitting on the couch? Being clean at the end of the day is just embarrassing.

CWJ said...

bagoh20, ditto.

bagoh20 said...

"I've been a teacher, and IMHO a pretty good one. I could never be a CEO."

I've been a CEO, and I could never be a teacher. You can't fire the kids or their parents.

DADvocate said...

chrisnavin - there's plenty wrong with the Catholic church. The nuns I had in school were not one of them, but I have no trouble believing your story. For me, the Catholic is a complex issue, but I don't support it strongly enough to give it my money.

m stone said...

edutcher: "Most of my teachers were not only men, but WWII vets.

They gave things a certain, shall we say, perspective."

I agree and have had the same experience. Not enough men in teaching, esp. elementary (fear of perverts) and universities, esp. lib arts, now dominated by women.

MadisonMan said...

Yes, dear Women, we excluded you from many professions, but I had a great education because of it.

Sooo worth it!

dreams said...

"We had caves and cliffs in the neighborhood. It's amazing none of us got killed.

The farm I grew up on had caves and cliffs and lots of woods where we climbed trees and built hide-outs out of small tree samplings and bushes (primitive man caves). Even now a good hide-out is still appealing.

CWJ said...

Paco Wove,

How did you get to that from my response to revenant? Read revenant's comment first then mine. Then tell me that I implied that every profession needs to be praised to the skies.

chrisnavin.com said...

Don't worry MadMan, you're in with the new overlords.

mrs. e said...

Nothing much different, here - days were spent exploring 'the woods' (with fishing hole), riding our bike in 'the piles' (an empty lot with fill) and playing sheepshead. After dinner there was always a baseball game in someone's backyard, kick the can and backyard sleep-overs (tp-ing, of course). This was in suburban Milwaukee. Raising our family in Madison, though we tried, didn't afford us the same opportunities.

edutcher said...

Chip Ahoy said...

But that was because I was such a giant pain in the ass. The other phrase she used on me all the time was:

QUIT RUNNING IN AND OUT.


That was the other I heard.

All the time.

MadisonMan said...

Yes, dear Women, we excluded you from many professions, but I had a great education because of it.

Sooo worth it!


As a matter of fact, it was.

Better teachers producing not only better men, but better women.

Women doing what women are supposed to do.

n.n said...

CWJ:

What is that bias? Is it the material disparity? Is it the ego disparity? Is it the social status disparity?

I am claiming that there is no disparity in principle, but there is in fact. In principle, we are all equal and offer equal value to ourselves and others. In fact, we are not equal at all. This observation should not serve to denigrate anyone. The individual CEO simply serves or projects an influence over a larger market than does an individual teacher, and the market (i.e. people) recognizes that status.

I respect teachers and CEOs equally. I judge the value of each individually and in context, and each individual by the content of their character and actions.

etbass said...

My brothers and I had B-B guns and warred with one another, shot birds and fought, all in good fun. We hitch hiked to the neighboring county seat and no one worried in the slightest about safety. There was little organized sports but we chose up sides and played baseball using a ball wrapped with black friction tape and swapped gloves with one another. No one watched and there was no umpire. But we had great fun.

The remarkable thing is that safety from perverts, kidnappers or other criminals was not anywhere in our minds and nothing like that every happened in our small town of 500.

Nobody got raped, no break-ins, no muggings. The worst crime that ever happened was public drunkeness occasionally.

How we have progressed in our world.

dreams said...

Its true the teachers use to better, though a lot of my teachers were women, I'm sure they were the smartest from their class unlike later years when I know of women becoming teachers who were just average students.

mrs. e said...

I'll also add, lots of stitches and broken bones on my part, much to the chagrin of my mother. I think she sometimes secretly wished I was more of a reader. Even now, I prefer activity to sitting still.

CWJ said...

MadisonMan,

Put away your sarc for a moment and think that one through. A thought experiment for you. How many CEO's are there? Let's make them all women. How many women are left over? Heck, let's make them all men. How many men are left over?

My point is that the envy for the job CEO creates a culture in which "lesser" jobs are not as valued. In a perverse way, you have devalued the teaching profession by saying you could have been a CEO.

Scalia is a supreme court justice. He has just described having good teachers as a silver lining out of a cloud because they couldn't have been CEO's. What does he think of the plumber he's called? What does he think of the carpenter who built his house?

I emphatically do not condone the arbitrary gender restriction of occupations. But IMO there is no denying the implication that his quote denotes a superiority of being a CEO over a teacher.

rcommal said...

Ann:

Yeah.

Michael said...

All the kids wear uniforms and their close calls are decided by parents acting as u,pires or refs. They cant settle disputes themselves, their parents and soon the state will do so for them. In the olden days you took your ball and went home or you fought or you ran the play again. No parents.

Michael said...

All the kids wear uniforms and their close calls are decided by parents acting as u,pires or refs. They cant settle disputes themselves, their parents and soon the state will do so for them. In the olden days you took your ball and went home or you fought or you ran the play again. No parents.

virgil xenophon said...

At age 68 and having grown up in a small midwestern farming and college town in East-Central Illinois in the 40s & 50s I'll just echo everyone
here. Lived on camups and walked to Lab school; univ housing was on edge of campus where adj fields, woods & streams beckoned. And as I grew older summers would see me on my bike in the early am all over town perhaps returning for lunch, then to spend all afternoon in the town public swimming-pool. Or, alternatively, stopping at my grand-parents uptown for lunch, thence to the Will Rodgers of Lincoln theater for a movie if it was Sat., otherwise a
stroll, ride from my grandparents to the Carnegie Public Lib to get a book and bring it back to read on their wrap-around front porch cum verandah (if we had lived in the South.) Idyllic "free-range" youthful "libertarian" days indeed.. (sigh)

virgil xenophon said...

PS: And it seemed as if all my grade-school teachers were in their 40-50s and had at least their MA in Ed from either Columbia or Univ of Chicago Teachers school..

virgil xenophon said...

PPS: My only "youthful" teacher who wasn't married was my first-grade teacher Miss Townsend, a newly-minted teacher from Rhode Island. But as a single gal from the East Coast, she lasted only one year in our small, relatively isolated farming community, lol.

Titus said...

Scalia is so incred. Love him.

rcommal said...

Also, I am a parent, Ann.

bagoh20 said...

Yes, smart women used to have important jobs, but someone convinced them to give them up for the shiny ephemeral ones. So now we have the dumb ones doing the important stuff, and the smart ones doing what even a guy can do.

Smart move, girls.

rcommal said...

I was raised in university towns from birth. I know what I know. 30-odd years later, I know all of that and a whole bunch of other things, as well. I know all of that, too.

virgil xenophon said...

You know, one could extend Scalia's observation about female teachers to the black community. From a sociological/anthropological point pre-the 1964 Civil Rights Act, the "best and the brightest" of black professionals, educators and businessmen were forced to reside alongside the lower-middle and underclass blacks, thus providing role models, enforcement of social norms, etc., which explains why in those days two-parent families were the norm in the black community, crime was low, and literacy rates were exceedingly high. Thomas Sowell has documented this sociocultutal fact well. With the exodus of these middle & upper classes to the suburbs along with the whites all that is left behind in the inner-cities is a critical mass of a largely uneducable, ungovernable, dysfunctional core; slowly metastasizing as a cancer upon the Republic--although "Civil Rights" has worked great for the educated and hard-working part of the black component of our populace it has had unintended disastrous consequences for those blacks left behind in our inner maj. metro areas..

EVERYTHING in life is a double-edged sword..

wyo sis said...

A CEO can have a vastly greater positive (or negative) impact than any teacher. Compare, say, Google's work putting information in people's hands, multiplied by the hundreds of millions of people who use it. I don't care how great your favorite teacher was -- she didn't impart anywhere *near* that level of knowledge or improve the world anywhere near as much


A great teacher reaches the grandchildren of every student they teach, plus the people those students influence beyond family. Justice Scalia's teachers are touching every thing he touches. A CEO's teacher touches everything the CEO touches.
The same is true of parents.
When we produce inferior teachers and parents future generations are limited by that degree. Good old Betty F and her liberal pals sure did us all a favor by making women into inferior immoral men.

Douglas said...

I'm the same age as our host and had pretty much the same experience growing up, except that my mom definitely encouraged us to get out of the house. At 5-6 years old, I went everywhere in the neighborhood without parents and spent all day running around and playing in the woods, the fields, the neighbor's back yards, etc. This doesn't happen anymore.

Except that it does, in China. In Shenzhen, China, I see small children (grade schoolers) - well dressed, from middle class families - running around, by themselves, with no parents in sight. In my apartment complex (six 17-story ap't buildings), 3-year-olds go, alone, from apartment to apartment and building to building to visit their friends. It's quite startling, coming from the New York area, where middle class parents keep their kids under wraps for as long as is physically possible.

Carol said...

When I was 7 I used to climb the hills around Eagle Rock, Ca alone. My mother was at work and my brothers were supposed to be "watching" me lol.

Decades later she said had she known, she wouldn't have let me roam around like that. But I think she was just reading a newer sensibility backward into the past. Yeah the parents who were young in the 30s were laissez faire.

There were sooo many kids about then, anyway, I think parents were a tad ambivalent.

NotquiteunBuckley said...


Oh yeah.

NotquiteunBuckley said...

"The basis of conservatism is a desire for less government interference or less centralized authority or more individual freedom and this is a pretty general description also of what libertarianism is.”

Thatsa Nice eh.

bagoh20 said...

So the "silver lining" is actually a "double edged sword" in the clouds like a "sword of Damocles" crashing through the "glass ceiling".

I get it now.

Carol said...

I'm 64 and I remember a lot of good-lucking young GI's teaching the elementary grades. Now that was weird. And a bunch of old ladies left over from the previous era.

The guys probably all ended up as principals, if they didn't bail out for better pay somewhere.

CWJ said...

You know, I cannot ignore the irony of my commenting on my tablet while we all comment on how we all lived a non electronic upbringing. That said, I can't pass up the joy of the memory affirming comments on this thread. Irony squared!

Emmster said...

I grew up in the 80s/90s in a different country, so probably pretty different from most of the readers. I also played outside all day long and started taking public transportation to school in 5th grade and took the metro across town to see a movie with friends starting in 7th grade. By high school, I'd go out with friends on the weekend and I specifically remember calling my mom one evening to see if she could pick me up and she said no (you had to be 18 to drive and none of us had cars). She'd had a glass of wine and didn't want to drive. So I took one of the last metros back home, scared of getting assaulted. Different time, different place.
Having said that, we live in Indiana and chose our neighborhood very carefully. I think we chose well. My kids, 6 & 7, are often at a friend's house or playing outside in our neighborhood. We don't watch them very closely and I'll readily kick them out of the house (I did just this past weekend). Luckily, this is still allowed in Indiana. Live in a state like VA, and it'll get you into trouble as a parent (see http://www.fairfaxcounty.gov/dfs/childrenyouth/supervision_eng.htm for example).

NotquiteunBuckley said...

"Light a candle, curse the glare."

-Touch of Grey

Oso Negro said...

I have no doubt he is right about the teachers. As the child of an Ed Psych professor, I know that teachers of the 1950s and 1960s were routinely tested and their average intelligence is well-documented. I have no doubt that if similar data were obtained for contemporary teachers, we would find a statistically significant decline in average IQ of K-12 teachers in the U.S. This data probably exists and is undoubtedly suppressed. Even worse is the loss of brilliant women administrators in the school system. We didn't have boys all Ritalined out back then and didn't need racketeering for the school children to pass basic tests. This is an example of an unintended consequence of social change.

AprilApple said...

Dear Justice Scalia,
Your experience does not pass the politically correct progressive group think test. It will now be purged for your own good to spare you any further embarrassment.
Sincerely,
--Progressive Supremacist Committee Chair Malthusian Beta Kira Goldenberg
Our motto: Community, Identity, Stability


(fixed)

CWJ said...

Hey Emmster,

Where in Indiana. My wife and I spent the first 16 years of our marriage in Fort Wayne.

That said, I hear you on the bittersweet of your own experience.

Mark said...

staunchly libertarian

Things will turn around when that phrase is generally considered praise.

Emmster said...

@CWJ: Carmel, just North of Indy. Great neighborhood with a bunch of kids. I just love that my kids can go out and play with friends. Some days they're gone for hours (and some days there are a bunch of kids in my house).

CWJ said...

OK, Here it it is. All the posturing left aside. If Scalia wanted to make a legitimate comparison, which he didn't, he would have said his primary teachers might have been excluded from becoming secondary teachers.

Perhaps that was no longer the case by the late 40 's. I remember that the single largest cohort of OCS louie's during WWII was high school teachers.

CWJ said...

Emmster, Carmel is a great suburb. I know it well. Good choice!

MadisonMan said...

There apparently has been a sale on Rose-tinted glasses.

rcommal said...

There apparently has been a sale on Rose-tinted glasses.

MadisonMan:

Meaning, what?

Revenant said...

Revenant, admiration does not equal impact.

I didn't say it did. I did, however, point out that no teacher has the same impact that a CEO can.

rcommal said...

rcocean,

It's good to know that there is a life after "boomers." That reassuring.


Exactly! I'm pretty sure that even I--a member of the back-asswards last of that generation--born in 1961 will die soon enough.

rcommal said...

Often I think that people don't think often enough.

NotquiteunBuckley said...

Sure sure the timing mattered, and I do not intend to discount that and when I do I am in error.



Iris

CWJ said...

Revenant, stop digging, your hole is deep enough.

I'm embarrassed for you.

I express admiration. You argue impact. I say admiration is not impact. You say impact.

Argue with yourself. Leave me out of it.

rcommal said...

I say this, *given* the reality and *to it*. And also, to so many of you.

'Cause you're players and that's all it's about.

EMD said...

I have to disagree on that point as well. A CEO can have a vastly greater positive (or negative) impact than any teacher. Compare, say, Google's work putting information in people's hands, multiplied by the hundreds of millions of people who use it. I don't care how great your favorite teacher was -- she didn't impart anywhere *near* that level of knowledge or improve the world anywhere near as much.

I concede that point in general, but perhaps he was speaking on a more personal level. Teachers have the capacity to engage minds on a one-to-one level.

kentuckyliz said...

I'm 47, and I'm on the tail end of having the smartest-women-who-came teachers and running around free. Johnny Gosch was the brother of a classmate of mine and I worked with his sister. Then moms started driving kids to school.

When I was in college, my brother bragged about hiring away a bunch of teachers because they made great stockbrokers.

Then he had a really hard time finding a decent education for his bright and sensitive kids.

EMD said...

Those were the days.

Chip Ahoy said...

My early teachers did not engage me. The whole thing was wawawawawaCHIPwawawawaChip wawawawawa

I didn't understand anything they said. Even when it went like this: wawawawa Chip come up here wawawawawa you won the contest wawawawa from painting the gas station window wawawawawa now everybody's looking at you wawawawa here's three dollars wawawawa

What?

The only name I remember is Mrs. Burger(bits).

creeley23 said...

My family was so screwed-up that there were no adults on deck to keep track of me. That had its downsides, but I was free to do as I liked and since I mostly wanted to read, be with friends, and tend to a variety of hobbies -- surfing, chess, astronomy, and bike riding -- it worked out pretty well.

Wherever we lived there were some woods to play in and manageable traffic so that biking wasn't dangerous.

I feel sad there aren't nearly so many places for kids to play these days.

I'm glad I didn't have parents hovering over me with all sorts of expectations. I don't like to be told what to do either.

Kirk Parker said...

We played pickup baseball all the time. Home plate and the pitcher's mound was in our side yard, the outfield extended up the street. Yeah, the field was narrower than standard, and yeah we broke a few neighbors' windows now and then.

The big collateral damage, though, was overhead: this was before the days of bundled telephone cables. Instead all the individual wires were strung overhead, on crosspieces below the ones for the power lines. Well, every once in a while a harder-than-usual pitch would result in a harder-than-usual popup that hit a wire just right... ... ... and down it would come.

We'd wince (and worry if the wire was going to shock us), but no one ever said anything to us. Eventually, though, the phone company did get its revenge. The old wires came down, the new bundled cable went up. And... ... ... apparently with all the extra insulation it was a lot heavier than the old system, and so the telephone pole where the cable stopped got a new steel cable support wire that came down at an angle and was buried in the ground right where our pitchers mound was. We tried for a while to dig the damned thing out, but apparently the telco guys really wanted it to stay put, because it was buried far deeper than we dared to dig.

Across the street the other way (we were on a corner lot) there was "the hole". Two empty lots, on one of which someone had gotten as far as excavating for a basement and then gave up. By the time we got to bike-riding age the sides had long since given way, leaving a nice 45 degree slope one one side, and a much more gradual one at the back (the lot itself had a bit of slope.) So we widened some of the footpaths big enough to ride on, and created one big new one right down the front of the steepest, longest, slope. The "little kids" knew they had arrived at big kid status when they could ride their bikes all the way down the precipice w/o falling.

Also, to give you an idea of how tolerant of risk our parents were: I think this has a public-enough setting you can see it w/o having to log into Facebook. My friend (in whose yard the tree-"house" was) swears he measured the height of the fourth floor as more than 40 feet about the ground; my SWAG based on eyeballing the picture says no more than 30 feet. Either way, nobody suggested we ought to add handrails or anything sissy like that (nor complained when we killed the tree by removing too many of the leaf-bearing branches to improve the view.)

Kirk Parker said...

OMG Emmster, that link from Fairfax County is 20,000 leagues beyond pathetic! For the rest, here's a sample if you didn't read it--just the introductory paragraphs are majestically barf-worthy:

"When is it safe to leave a child home alone?

"For most parents, answering this question can be difficult.

"Fortunately, here in Fairfax County, social work and community professionals have developed guidelines to help parents decide when it might be safe to leave a child unsupervised. [emphasis added]"

Dear ghu what an inflated opinion the "experts" have of themselves!

SOJO said...

Oh Christ people, this isn't hard. Of course it's better to be a CEO, a real one, that is. The restriction of women to a few professions was freaking INHUMANE - never mind the CEO part.

It was a sick, sick time and I'm glad that Scalia of all people is at least acknowledging it in his backhanded, narcissistic way.

All you happy teachers out there that take pride in your proefession? Good for you. Have fun. I'm not talking to you.

It was only a silver lining for the men who got quality teachers as the women just got on the same loop back to teachers, at best. God. What a nightmare. Just the thought makes me want to puke - and I never wanted to be a CEO or a teacher.

I can't believe people are actually discussing this time period without great shame. It's like saying black people should be restricted because a few spoiled southern white kids really, really loved their Mammy. (Silver Lining!!)

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stlcdr said...

In the times of yore, societal norms dictated that women were restricted to few professions, teachers being one of them.

Now, assuming women are as smart as men (don't get any ideas; that's sarcasm) I think it would be a fair bet that the smartest and brightest women would be teachers simply because of the little choice they may have had.

Consider the effect on the education of those children.

Contrast with today, not to disparage the teaching profession (and apologies to those teachers that feel so; but you need to evaluate your own profession), but the smart money is anywhere but in education. A top heavy bureaucracy, with actual teachers doing the job with one hand tied behind their back. It would be no wonder that you would have to be very dedicated or quite foolish to be a teacher these days.

Unknown said...

Me? 71 YO white male--grew up in Miami always played basket ball and pick up softball games bare foot. But to Justices Scalias point: My high school pre calculus teacher was Ms Verna C Kimler. an archtypical southern belle who always wore her grey hair in a bun. She taught the AP math thing. Not into self esteem she make us go to the blackboards every day and put our problems up and then we had to explain them. And she was unforgiving. But she prepared me for life. And there was Dr Del Franco at the University of Miami who taught me the chain rule and how to do calculus word problems. They would have excelled in any field, but they were wonderful teachers and are still in my thoughts today.

for those not familiar with the chain rule: differentiate sin x squared. never use it now but I learned much from it (answer: 2x cosine x

Oso Negro said...

SOJO - I see the indoctrination is strong in you.

Tank said...

While I know nothing of Ann's parents, I think most parents (of those of us above a certain age) were just like this and it had nothing to do with libertarianism.

More like:

1. Our parents were not living through us.

2. For better or worse (better I think), our parents were simply not as involved in our lives. They were not planning and getting involved in everything we did. We were kids. Kids went out and played with each other, and, along the way, figured out a lot of life things.

sinz52 said...

Scalia was a city boy, growing up in New York City as I did.

New York City favored a kids's independence, because there were real streets with wide sidewalks, and often stores were within walking distance. And a kid could go anywhere in the city via its excellent mass transit system, as Herman Wouk reminisced in his novel "City Boy."

There was also less crime back then, less reason to worry about a kid being abducted and murdered. My eighth-grade teacher took us kids on a field trip. After it was over the teacher just said "Go home." We all raced to the nearest subway station and went home on our own. That gave us a lot of independence.

But now in sprawling suburbs, going out and playing is harder for a kid. Often there are no streets. There is no mass transit. And so kids have to be chaperoned everywhere by their parents in their SUV or van Mom-mobiles.

When nothing is within walking distance and your parents have to drive you everywhere--even just to visit your best friend--you lose independence.

X said...

when I was young a felony double murderer terrorist intent on overthrowing the government would never get a teaching job, so yes, times have changed.

ken in sc said...

Bagoh's right about not being able to fire students and parents. Actually the parents are worse than than the students. My last two years of teaching, I taught alternative school and was surprised to find it easier than regular school. I still had the same number of disruptive students, but I did not have all the other students to worry about. The kids were pretty much on good behavior because if they got kicked out, the next stop was juvenile detention or adult jail. The parents of alternative school students do not care very much about their kids and almost never come to parent/teacher conferences. Nor do they send teachers nasty emails. I would have been glad to teach there a few more years, but the school district canceled the program.

Seeing Red said...

My dad would never be home. One of their past-times was putting cherry bombs on the street car tracks.

Seeing Red said...

My dad would never be home. One of their past-times was putting cherry bombs on the street car tracks.

ken in sc said...

Hey, Red, ever heard of railroad torpedoes? The railroads used to use them as warning devices. They would put a line of them on the track before and after a stalled train on the tracks. When another train came and ran over them--they were as loud as cherry bombs—the noise would alert everyone to get away because there was going to be one heck of a train wreck. People also used them as fireworks. One of my uncles had a toe blown off by one.

RonF said...

I was raised about 20 miles SW of Boston and 9 miles N of Providence, RI. My experiences were much the same as Bart Hall's. Any mom or dad had the right to discipline anyone else's kid if they were on your property. Don't like it, don't play in my yard. And in a town of 8,000 where the police chief went to high school with my mother, little would get on the police blotter but a lot would get you in trouble.

And God help you if you mouthed off to a teacher. Don't even think of complaining to the parents, because whatever the teacher did to you you'd get 2x that at home - or worse.

RonF said...

Mom would shoo us out of the house with great regularity if the weather was at all tolerable. Tolerable pretty much equalled "No visible lightning".

furious_a said...

...and one of the benefits of the exclusion of women from most professions... was that we had wonderful teachers..."

...and Jim Crow and polio, too! Good times in teh Good Ol' Days...

Tarzan said...

My parents were Libertines.

God what wild times!

Tarzan said...

My parents never bought me the Stingray bike I wanted (to the point of almost fainting) when I was a kid, so when I was a teenager I made my revenge by getting into dirt bikes, as in 'motorcycles'. Of course I could never afford the good ones, but man did I have a blast on the old Honda 50, the Hodaka (crap, really) and then the Rickman 125 which was such a sweet thing I almost piss myself to think of it (until the gearbox exploded during a bit of a hill climb. My friends had bikes too, none of them like the 'rich kids' with their lime green Kawasaki's. Honda ct70, Indian 100cc off road bike, THE PENTON (125, loudest, coolest fastest 125 EVAH ;). We could take trails or powerlines EVERYWHERE, with occasional dips on the back streets to get from one trail to another.

That was on Cape Cod in the 1970's. It's ALL been developed now and the quaint streets with old families are now paves with trophy houses and BMW's. Such is life!

THEM'S WAS THE DAYS!