1. A memoir
written by Robert Paul Smith
d by James J. Spanfeller
. Originally published by W.W. Norton & Company
in 1957. Currently out of print
Written from the perspective
of the author
as a middle-aged father
, this unconventional autobiography
is a non-linear chronicle
of the experiences, game
s and belief
s of a typical boyhood
spent in the early part of the twentieth century
. It is particularly admirable for the author
's keen ability to capture the often strange relationship
s between children and those who inhabit the strange realm
. Smith is disturbed by the increasing obligation
the play time
of children. This nostalgic
exploration of his childhood is typified in the brief conversation
in the title, which conveys the freewheeling lassitude
and creativity-spurring freedom
that he sees as lacking in the lives of his own children.
...when we were kids, we had the sense to keep these things to ourselves. We didn't go around asking grownups about them. They obviously didn't know...I think we were right about grownups being the natural enemies of kids, because we knew that what they wanted us to do was to be like them. And that was for the birds. "Pop, look at this. It's a pollywog, look at it." "Um," said your father. Another kid said, "Jeez, where'd you get it? Are there any more? What'll you take for it?"
"Hey, mother, you know what? Ted Fenster's kid brother eats dirt." "Well, don't let me catch you doing it," said your mother. "Go-wan," a kid would say. "Eats dirt? You mean, really eats dirt? Yer full of it." "He'll do it for a penny," you said, and you went off to find Ted Fenster's kid brother, and by God, he ate dirt, lots of it, spoonfuls of it, for a penny.
(p. 40-41, 1957 ed.)
2. A four-minute black and white film
produced by Charles
and Ray Eames
in 1960. Based on the book
of the same name.
3. An album
by The Serenaders
. A song
from this album is extant on a Hanover Records 45
(Catalogue number 4514).