Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Child care, Chicago, c. 1920

St. Patrick's day always brings memories of my grandmother and her sister, my great Aunt Gertrude Hickey (nee Houlihan).

Aunt Gert died in 2001, just after celebrating her 101st birthday. She was a pistol, without a doubt one of the most memorable people I've ever known. A whirlwind of tales came out of our every visit, one never knew what was coming but she never disappointed. She also never told the same story twice unless you asked her. Gertrude was more with it than people half or even a quarter her age.

Beth reminded me this morning of our favorite Gertrude story, this one has perhaps a touch of the blarney, but it could just be true.

Seems that back in 1920's Chicago, South Side, if a couple with a baby wanted to go out on the town and needed a babysitter, what they'd do is this:

Put the baby on the front porch along with a bottle of beer and an opener. The first passerby to arrive at the scene would find the beer, help him or herself to it, then feel compelled to watch the baby until the parents came home.

Seems reasonable to me.

God bless ya Gert!

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