The only reason for time is so that everything doesn’t happen at once . —-Einstein
I was reading a blog post today at No Facilities about …….about ………. I was reading a blog post today . I’m not sure what it was about , but it brought to mind a variety of things : the old ‘good old days’ idea that things used to be better ; Southern expressions ; technology developed to a point of near uselessness . It was thought-provoking . It inspired me to discuss time today . Stay with me , if you have a few minutes .
When I was a kid we “went out to play” after school , as in (mother ) : ” Go out and play !” We had to be back home for dinner , and dinner was at 6:00 . Don’t be late ! I don’t remember ever being late . But between about 3:00 and 6:00 we kids were on our own . “Playing”.
Sometimes we played Little League Baseball . Sometimes we organized impromptu football or basketball games , or kickball games with all the neighborhood kids on the street near the Dolans’ house . A little kid named R. J. Royce Chesum the Third lived in a house across the street from the Dolan house . I wonder what ever happened to R. J. Royce Chesum the Third . I wonder what ever happened to Mike Dolan , too . Last I heard he was , I think , selling insurance .
None of us had watches in those days . That gets to the point of this post . How did we judge time ? How did we know it was 6 o’clock ? Time didn’t matter at all until about 6 o’clock . Dinner .
My mother , in the earlier years , had a dinner bell that she would ring . Maybe she only used it once , or maybe she used it for years ; I don’t remember , but I remember that bell . Our play range had to have been smaller to remain within bell range , although the bell was pretty loud . Old Mrs. Ludke must have loved that bell , now that I think of it . Mrs. Ludke lived two doors down , and she didn’t like noise . She came out , no kidding , with a can of 3-in-one oil and oiled the kids’ tricycles so the wheels wouldn’t squeak so loudly . She would say that she didn’t mind the noise , but it bothered her husband . I’m not sure that I ever saw her husband. He was always inside the house . Maybe he was a figment of ………….
Bells aside now , how does a kid tell time ? We kids must have been able to do it , in the old days , without watches . Nowadays kids don’t generally have watches either , but they know the time if need be . They consult their smart phones . Easy .
In my case , there was sometimes an early warning system : Mr. Dolan would come home from work about 5:30 . The Dolan kids had a standing order that their homework needed to be done by dinner time , which was soon after he got home . When Mr. Dolan’s car turned the corner up the hill the Dolan kids would race into their house , hoping not to be spotted by their father . I’m sure that their arithmetic problems or spelling words were spread out on the table by the time Daddy opened the front door . Mike was probably making a show of helping his younger brother and sister with their work . Maybe Mike was developing a little initial sales talk as he persuaded his father that all was well . Early practice for selling insurance later on ?
At other time , when we played in the canyons , for example , I think now that we must have just guessed at the time , knew the time pretty well from the look of the sky , the feel of the changes in the air , from natural clues . We told time from familiarity with the day , as farmers are able to . We used to could do that . Maybe . How else did we get home in time for dinner ?
When I began teaching , a colleague of mine , Joe , argued passionately for the elimination of school bells . No need to regiment children , he said . ” Don’t you have an alarm clock that gets you up in the morning ? ” the principal asked , in rebuttal to the no-bells argument . My friend said , no , no he didn’t . And that was true . But , Joe lived near an oil refinery and , he told me later , the factory whistle woke him up every morning precisely at 7:05 .
I don’t like to go out , nowadays , without a watch on my wrist . As I think of that now , I am a little sad and disgusted . Joe was right . Why should we have to regiment our lives down to the minute ? Life as a kid was better with it’s lack of watches .
Well , maybe the school bells , even then , taught us regimentation and ruined our natural freedoms after all ! We, most of us , ended up such slaves to schedules ! Damn bells ! ( Not yours , Mom. )