I played with dolls until I was eleven. Then at twelve I began baby sitting. I loved babies, and had a lot of people who called on me to do that. At first, when the baby would sleep, I would read the baby books that most homes with children had, to learn all I could. Some of the families left cookies for me. I often did the dinner dishes for the family, and if they had clean diapers in a basket, I would fold them. Everyone had cloth diapers in those days.
When I was babysitting I felt really happy. I could pretend and dream of when I would have a home and a family of my own. I could decide when and if I would do things and it gave me a feeling of freedom. I could listen to music I liked. And I loved the children. I could get them to do things their parents couldn’t, like pick up their toys at bedtime. One young boy was adopted and had trouble with speaking certain letters of the alphabet. I worked with him a lot. Once his mother had to have surgery, and I took care of Steven. Later she gave me some beautiful clothes that fit me perfectly of a quality I couldn’t afford. That was really fun.
People would tell me what time they would be home, but often they were much later. Then I would do exercises on the carpet until I heard their car drive up, to try to keep myself looking as good as I could.
One couple thought I should get to go out more. He was Commander in the Navy so they arranged to take me on board his ship for dinner with them and a young Ensign. They took me on a tour of the ship too. That was fun.
The going rate for babysitting was twenty five cents an hour. One couple gave me a dollar an hour which was wonderful to me.
One of the families arranged for me to be available when the second child was born. So I got that call in the middle of the night. Another had me care for a three year old and a new baby when the mother became ill and had to return to the hospital. I had many many friends through child care.