Tuesday, December 2, 2008

The bells are ringing

There was a long hall running in the back of the house, running from the didning room to the bedroom area. In it were three cuboards with a counter top covering all three plus two knee holes. We had taken the children to see a movie, I think the name was 'The Bells are Ringing.' It was about a girl working for a telephone messaging company. Our three girls instantly became that girl. All three of them sat in that hall taking orders for a furniture company. They had discontinued order books, they had pictures of discontinued furniture, and they had a telephone they answered, (one they were allowed to disconnect from the bedroom) sounding just like the person in the movie. They took orders that were written in some foreign language. This game lasted for months. They invited all their friends to learn the things you have to know if you want to be a Bells are ringing kind of girl.

It was amazing how much language they had learned from the movie, but also how much they had learned from listening to their father talking to his customers. They knew about the range of the fabric and the difference in price. It was as much fun to listen to them 'working' as it was seeing the movie.

In the cupboards we kept all drawing and painting and craft supplies and it was constantly in use by some one of them. When our youngest, Jane, was sitting there one day, I saw a drawing of hers that was really fascinating. There were two girls, consisting of heads, and legs coming out of the heads. One girl had longer legs than the other, and those legs were folded up sideways at what was probably the knees. When I saw it I said tell, me about this drawing. Jane said 'that is me and that is Anna. Why are her legs looking like that? 'She is tired'

In the San Francisco Chronicle, on the comic page, was a Jr Art Contest. I sent in the drawing. Jane was three at the time. I didn't want Anna to be teased by her friends, so I titled the drawing 'Me and my tired sister. About a week later there was Janes drawing in the paper. She had won two dollars and her name in print. We waited and waited for her price money to arrive in the mail. Finally one day there it was. I said Jane your money has arrived and I gave her the envelope. She tore it open. And then she cried. 'I wanted pennies' I tried my best to assure her that I could change the check into pennies.


Anonymous said...

Piaget strikes again! More is more!

Martha said...

I love reading your stories. My mom is almost 88 - we lost my dad 4 1/2 years ago. I am the youngest of 7 children and can't wait to read each of your posts. Love your grandaughter, Shreve, too!

Amy said...

I was curious about the movie, so I looked it up. It was first a Broadway musical, then made into a movie in 1960. It looks neat! Here is a link to the info about it that I found -


I love your website. In fact, I have been inspired to ask my grandmother to write her stories, as well. She is thinking about it and I hope she will agree to start a blog!

Melissa Weisbard said...

It is amazing how much children learn just by watching others. Even when you think they aren't paying attention, they are.

Anne said...

I loved today's post. And it reminded me of some of my early drawings that mom saved. I too had arms and legs coming out of the head. I can remember wondering how to attach limbs so they wouldn't come out of a head. I finally decided on a series of small circles coming down from the head to a large triangle. Arms were attached to the circles and legs were attached to the bottom of the triangle. Thanks for the fun memories (I'm 64).

Sandra @ The Memory Workshop said...

I love the new portraits that you've added!

Plot Whisperer said...

Me, too! Portraits a great addition!!!

Anonymous said...

G: Did you paint the portraits?
They are beautiful and look so very pretty on your blog page.

Sorry I missed you yesterday, will be in touch!!


Ter-o-fla said...

I also really enjoyed this installment!
Drawing was a big part of my childhood, and also my childrens'.

When my daughters were very young, they also drew legs coming out of the head... and they often drew them away from themselves; upside-down, if you will. We were rather perplexed at first, and then realised that probably they were thinking of "drawing themselves from the head down", as if they had the pencil on their heads and moved downwards towards the feet. Fascinating!