1. A memoir written by Robert Paul Smith and illustrated by James J. Spanfeller. Originally published by W.W. Norton & Company in 1957. Currently out of print in hardcover form. Written from the perspective of the author as a middle-aged father, this unconventional autobiography is a non-linear chronicle of the experiences, games, superstitions and beliefs 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 relationships between children and those who inhabit the strange realm of adulthood. Smith is disturbed by the increasing obligation of parents to regiment and formalize 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 for CBS 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 entitled Alaska (Catalogue number 4514).

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