moving

Posted by Ellen

Last spring, when we were packing up my mother's place for her cross-country move, we came across this relic of a much earlier stage of life.

My mother remembered it well, in considerable detail: it's a cap pistol that belonged to my little brother Charlie, and she confiscated it, oh, fifty-some years ago, when he and his friends were making too much noise with it in the house. She told him to take it outside, but he kept on shooting it in the house.

She doesn't remember exactly where she put the gun after taking it up, but it was obviously a really good hiding place. We found it in the back of a closet, and this was a different closet, in a different house, from the place we'd lived during the era of confiscatory gun control.

And that's not all. We also found another weapon, not pictured here, traceable to the same perp: a huge water gun of the Super Soaker ilk. That one, too, had been confiscated and squirreled away, presumably for exactly the same violation.

My mom is tough. Sure, teach a lesson, take the things away for a day or a week. But fifty years?

Whatever, it worked. Chuck didn't grow up to be a cowboy; he's a nuclear physicist now, who never shot anybody. 

The guns went to Goodwill, if I remember correctly. Somebody else's little cowboy can get in trouble with them now.

Posted by Ellen

 The car was packed, the trailer was hitched, and in late December 1956 this family set off to begin a new life in West Palm Beach, Florida, with three little kids in the backseat and another on the way. The photo was taken just before they left home, on Lee Highway in Arlington, Virginia.

This is a perfect picture.

I don't know the family, and I don't remember ever visiting Arlington in the 1950s, but I was living about ten miles away back then in Maryland, and this is exactly what the world looked like. My immediate neighborhood was a quiet little subdivision, but once we got in the car and went to the grocery store or anywhere else we went, this is what I saw--these same cars, that Texaco sign, those commercial buildings, the plate glass windows at the dry cleaners. This was how the world looked . . . from where I sat in the backseat.

I see now that none of the cars had outside rear view mirrors. But that wasn't too important because back before carseats and seatbelts, a driver could ask the kids in the backseat to get up on their knees and look out the back window and see if it was clear. Unless you were hauling a trailer, of course.