Babies are more in focus these days than seventy years ago. They are the focus. Parents and grandparents, aunts and uncles could let children struggle to understand and learn. I remember doted upon, but not smothered. When at a year and a half I carried a Lionel locomotive across the living room to my grandfather and father, I wasn’t told to stop, or conversely praised for being a little girl with a heavy load. Nothing was said until I arrived with my prize; then I was told to put it back.
We certainly were set loose in a minimum of clothing. Underpants were the uniform to age three or four, when I grew up in the early forties. Kids would get dirty anyway, so save the clothes. And how about those big, floppy diapers.
Here are my little brothers, Walt and Mel. In another clip Aunt Flo reminisces that Melvin was the cuddly baby. Walt was the brave bouncer. Mel is the blond, curly haired cherub sporting the flapping diaper. Melvin was born in 1948, so this clip is 1949. I recall two birthday presents. My bicycle and my brother Mel. Actually, he wanted his own birthday, and took April 1st, the day after mine.
We lost Mel many, many years ago. He’ll always be twenty eight, with piercing blue eyes, blond curls and an impish smile. Walt is still Jan’s big brother, the one who picked her up, dusted her off and put her back on her bike. And here they are at a picnic.