Growing up, Fridays were typically Family Night, while Saturday Nights were social…at least for my parents.
My parents were not “party people,” so no bar-hopping or swinging-’70′s party scenes for them.
But a couple of times per month, they would go out to the symphony or to their Couples Club (a monthly get-together of similarly-aged young parents who all attended our church and would rotate hosting duties).
The Brother and I loved when the parents would leave! Because that meant we had a babysitter! We practically shoo’ed them out the door! Yes! Go be social, see you in the morning, adios!
Our first and favourite babysitter was Cathie. She was the daughter of our next-door neighbours. Since I’m also Cathy, she was known as Big Cathie while I was Little Cathy. [Sidenote: Cathie and I are still in touch to this day, exchanging Christmas and Birthday cards!] When she got too old to babysit, we progressed through sisters Michelle and Tracey from further up the street, and occasionally Beth would come over, from a few houses down.
Our evenings followed a similar flow: after mom and dad
escaped left, we’d set up the board games. Parcheesi, Snakes and Ladders, some game where we rolled dice and progressed around a circle…or, we’d bring out jigsaw puzzles, have colouring time. I don’t remember TV as being part of the entertainment, at all! The Brother and I would enjoy a snack before bed – I remember my mom always organized a plate of homemade cookies for the babysitter, and for us.
My most prominent recollection, though, is of each girl’s friendliness, patience and kindness towards us. They were fun! As the oldest in the family, I always wanted an older sibling – babysitter nights were like having a big sister parachute into my life!
We even took great pleasure in watching our sitters complete their homework – I remember Michelle, especially, as being quite academic, and I would be entranced with her shorthand class homework (yup, this was the ’70s!). They’d show us the novels they needed to read for English class, and explain math homework. Really, this world of high school was so intriguing!
When I started babysitting, I followed the same example set by our sitters: playing hide and go seek with my charges, reading stories, just spending time chatting with the children.
These evenings were win-win for both our parents and for us kids. Sunday morning breakfast we’d all recap our evening fun – good times for all!
Guess who was in the next city over last night!
None other than Pauly D of Jersey Shore fame!!! Yea, way to make the guy love Canada – bring him to Guelph in the middle of January! But for $40 000, I’d just wrap myself in goosedown and show up, too!
Sadly, B didn’t advise me of this news until last eve…yea, can’t you just see me and B gettin’ down with the kids at the club (I jest)…so we did the next best thing
since we’re too old and just watched the latest episode on our couch, in the warm Condo Casa. Woop Woop, homies!