Friday, June 03, 2016

Shovels and Sandboxes

It's Friday and this afternoon I am meeting a friend for an ice cream cone lunch date. I think I'll get a baby-size twist...

Once upon a time, about 50 years ago, when children's playthings were made of metal, a little girl went out into her backyard to play in the sand. This was back in the days when parents were not thought negligent or incompetent for letting small children play outside alone. Even at 2 1/2 years of age the little girl could feel safe playing in her own yard while Mommy was inside the house, checking occasionally on the little girl's safety by looking out the back window while she worked in her kitchen.

It was a  nice sandbox, built up off the ground a bit, with seats on the side and a nice wood cover to keep out the neighborhood cats. There she was, playing in her sandbox, when along came a slightly older neighborhood girl. She might have been 4 or 5 years old, and she was alone too because back in the olden days children of 4 or 5 could roam the neighborhood and still find their way home in time for lunch. (The little boy was not there. He appeared solely for the photo op.)

The first and younger little girl would have been more than happy to share her sandbox with the slightly older child, whose name was Valerie, but Valerie was not happy with that arrangement. She was ticked off with the small child for even daring to have a sandbox when she did not, so Valerie took the metal sand shovel of the smaller child and proceeded to beat her in the head with it.

When the small girl's mother chanced to look out the window to check on her child, the child was laying face down in the dirt, which caused the mother great concern. She called out the door to the little girl who did not answer. Upon closer examination, and with great consternation,  the mother picked her small girl off the ground, and found her covered in both sand and snot. Sand, from the bucket Valerie had dumped over her head, and snot, from crying.

The mother tucked her small and sobbing, snotty faced child under her arm and carried her into the house where she took her into the bathroom to wash the sand out of her hair in the sink. In the sudsing process, the horrified mother discovered that her little girl's head was covered with multiple purple goose eggs. She would later lament, "I was so mad, I just shook!" and "It was a good thing for Valerie that she had gone home!" When subsequently asked by her mother why she had done such a thing, Valerie was said to have replied, "Because she has a sandbox and I don't."

Needless to say, the small girl in later years, had developed a bit of anxiety regarding older children. A little more than just a "healthy" respect, and she decided that Valerie was one of the ugliest names ever. (If your name is Valerie, be not afraid. She no longer despises the name nor does she fear those who own it.) And, there are days while watching her own children and grandchildren play in the sand that she is grateful small sand shovels are now made of plastic.


  1. This story makes me hurt. *OUCH!*

    1. Funny thing is, I can still remember Grandma washing my hair in the sink, but have very little recollection of the beating. (I forgive the little brat, really, I do. :0) )