Back in the day of egg turners and diapers

Published 6:42 pm Sunday, November 12, 2017

Before living on the corner of Telfair and Tenth streets, my parents and I lived in a small house just off Market, on Ninth Street. This house is still there today and was rented by my parents until their future home on Tenth was completed. I was a baby and my Dad was driving a Blue-Plate Mayonnaise truck for a living. This afforded Mom and Dad their only means of transportation.

My Mom was raised on a farm in Old Ford and as a baby was taken care of like so many, by a nanny. Pie Jones attended to my Mom and being the youngest in her family, she never had to change a diaper. They did not have pampers like we have today, rather the big and thick cotton diapers that were held together by big safety pins on the sides. Lucky for my Mom and me, we lived behind Bo Lewis, whose Mom had just had his baby sister, Claire. This gave Bo plenty of experience in changing baby diapers and was called to assist my Mom in her first attempt. Bo Lewis changed my first diaper and was a good teacher in training my Mom for the future. We laugh today about that experience but Bo Lewis and Claire are dear friends of mine today. Thanks, Bo!

Another person who was important in my early years as a baby was Marshall Todd Singleton. He was called Mama Todd by me and still is today. After we moved off Ninth Street to Tenth, our home was right behind the Singleton family and Monkey (as I was called) was a part of their family.

Being all boy had its downfalls because at times I would need a spanking, and rather than use a switch, my Mom used an egg turner (spatula). The day that red-handled egg turner broke was a great day for me, but, oh no, Marshall Todd bought me a new one and gave it to me for Christmas. This spatula was blue with white rings around the handle, and Mom was back in business, thanks to Marshall Todd!

The Singletons would keep me when Mom and Dad went out, and I grew to love Miss Sally and Uncle Bonnie. They were like an adopted family to a little child, and many meals were eaten at their table. I can see Uncle Bonnie to this day in his white hat and Miss Sally in her apron. Uncle Bonnie would take me with him to the cotton gin and Miss Sally would always have us a big meal cooked when we returned.

Life was good and times were so simple. Never did Uncle Bonnie and Miss Sally ever lock their doors, and this was standard practice in the early ’50s. I cannot remember my parents ever locking their doors either. Everyone seemed to trust one another and neighbors helped each other. It would be so good if we could all do that today. These were the best of times!

Thank you for the compliments many of you have given me about this column, and I certainly hope you will enjoy this series as much as I do writing them. Until next week, Harold Jr.

Harold Robinson Jr. is a Washington native.