One day last week as I left the house to take my usual morning walk, I realized I had not written down the time I left the house. I write down the time every day, then, when I get home, I can figure out how many minutes I had walked. My goal is to walk my planned route in 26 minutes.
So, as I looked at the clock in front of our church, it was 9:52. So, I needed to remember the “52” part. But how? Several different ways came to mind, and then I decided to use the year 1952. And during the walk, I would try to remember anything I could from the fall of that year. It was my junior year at Willis High School, and the memories I recalled were a good way to spend the time during the rest of my walk. The following are just some of things I remember about that year of ’52:
1. Black and white TV. Better to have the black and white for the next 20-plus years, than none at all. Then, somewhere around the mid-‘70s, everyone seemed to be getting color TV, while we still had black and white. That’s about when our 3-year-old daughter, Carolee, took her paint set and used the brush to paint our TV screen a big variety of colors. And when I walked in the room, she said, “Look, Mommy, color TV!”
2. I will never forget the big house on North Sandusky Street where all our family lived. My family, at that time, included our parents, and all my siblings, a niece, and our brother-in-law, recently home from the Navy.
That was the only part of our lives when we had 10 or more people sitting down together for meals at our kitchen table. That’s when one of my siblings said to me, “You talk too much.” I still remember those four words.
3. I remember the bedroom I shared with my two younger sisters. It was at the front of the house and next to the bathroom. I remember that bathroom because the next house our parents moved us into didn’t have a bathroom.
4. I remember my job after school every day of my junior year. I was asked by the Ditslear family in Delaware to babysit their two children from after school until they got home from their jobs at 5:45.
I was paid 35 cents an hour. My job was not only to babysit Roseann, 6, and John, 8, but to “pick up the house” and fix their supper. There was always a note on the kitchen table telling me what to fix. Mostly some kind of meat with potatoes and other vegetables, as well as a good dessert, just so everything was done by 5:45. Unlike our family, they ate every meal in their dining room, so I had to set that table as well.
5. I remember singing in the choir at the First Presbyterian Church. Choir practice every Wednesday evening at the church. That’s how I got to know other families who needed a babysitter, so got some evening babysitting jobs also.
Those five things are about all I remembered on my walk that day last week. But I did remember the number 52, so when I figured how long I had walked, it turned out that I did the whole route in 27 minutes. I am now reminded of a line by some doctor who said, “You need to walk your dog every day, whether you have one or not.” Well, I don’t have a dog, but I walk it anyway.
Kay E. Conklin is a retired Delaware County recorder who served four terms. She graduated from Ohio Wesleyan University with a degree in sociology and anthropology.