“I never thought I’d hear myself say it, but safety first!”

The bird’s beak rat tat tatting against my house woke me up this morning, but I’m getting so used to it I fell back to sleep. When I woke up, I looked out the window, saw the gray skies and decided to lie in bed a while and finish reading the James Patterson novel 12th of Never (Women’s Murder Club). Patterson must grind out a book every month which is probably why his novels are getting shorter and shorter like Mary Higgins Clark’s did with all the blank pages between chapters. I stopped reading Clark. I fear Patterson is next.

When we were young, most kids used their nicknames. Ours were never cruel or mean. Mostly they were just shortened versions of our own names. James was always Jimmy and Robert was always Bobby. I was Kathy except to my family who always called me Kat, the name I preferred. Once in a while, in an argument, you’d hear four eyes for a kid with glasses or cry baby if someone was brought to tears but that was about as mean as kids got. We never swore. Even someone saying hell would make for huge gasps from the crowd at the horror of it all. I never saw a physical fight when I was kid except between two adults; however, I admit I did punch someone in the school yard when I was in the fifth grade, and when I was 17, I punched someone at Fenway Park, but those are my only transgressions. Both of them were deserved.

Our innocence lasted a long time. We walked or biked all over town and not once did we wonder about our safety. We didn’t know about all the bad guys out there. We were afraid of the bomb but knew we were safe under our desks. Even though I knew it was only a story, I was a little afraid of the man with the hook so a branch against the window sometimes gave me pause. My mother taught us never to talk to strangers or take anything from someone we didn’t know. That was her only worldly advice. I guess she figured it covered just about everything.

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20 Comments on ““I never thought I’d hear myself say it, but safety first!””

  1. im6 Says:

    Okay, Kat, you can’t just put that out there and leave us hanging… spill the beans about your “transgression” at Fenway!

  2. olof1 Says:

    I wish I had been home today so I too could have stayed in bed 🙂 Snow, cold, rain and even some hail today together with a nasty wind. We might get just the same tomorriow, at least in the morning. The snow is already gone but it doesn’t make me happier to be honest 🙂

    Yes kids now days loose their innocense much earlier, I’m not sure if the world has become so much worse or if it’s the parents that is a bit paranoid. I rarely hear or read about children getting in trouble because of strangers, much more often because of family problems. Even the alchoholics looked aftyer us kids when I grew up, not going home when they told us so could mean a slap on the head 🙂

    Most people here only use my name but back in Gothenburg it’s my nickname that is used. I did teall people what my nickname was but they still never use it here 🙂

    They will show all Star Wars movies on channel Six this weekend so I’ll be sitting by the tv all night from now on 🙂 There will most likely be just as much time showing commercials as the actual movie I’m afraid 🙂

    Have a great day!

    • Kat Says:

      I didn’t even get dressed! It’s raining right now and ugly outside. They’re saying maybe sleet later.

      I think it is a little of both. Parents make their kids paranoid about safety because kids go missing or are hurt both by family members and strangers.

      One of my friends calls me Miss Kath. I like that.

      The Saturday SyFy movies are about vampires, and I am tired of vampires. They don’t seem to realize they have been replaced by zombies.

      Have a wonderful Star Wars time!!!!

  3. Beto Says:

    I would write a long comment about growing up on the other side of the tracks and the daily pugilism but here is a link to an account of my most impressive victory. Never trust a man with an open face peanut butter sandwich.

  4. Bob Says:

    Today is my birthday and I took the day off from work to see the movie “42”. It is one of the best movies I have seen in recent years. Of course, I am prejudiced because I was a huge Brooklyn Dodger fan and adored all of “The Boys of Summer”. That is the title of the famous Roger Kahn book about the Brooklyn Dodgers of the 1950s. Harrison Ford in this film is Branch Rickey and the movie will take you back to the 1940s when in every major league ballpark The dirt was brown, the grass was green and ballplayers were white.

    I used to watch games in Ebbets field in Brooklyn until we moved to Texas. The CGI in this movie of the old ballparks was amazing. The detail went down to the Abe Stark clothing sign which was at the bottom of the scoreboard in right field at Ebbets field which read “Hit sign win suit”. I lived in Dallas Texas in the late 1950s and I had forgotten how terrible racial segregation was in the South. This film brought back some of those memories as well as memories of the good people who did the right thing for African Americans even when it was not popular nor safe. Jackie Robinson breaking the color barrier in 1947 led the way for the civil rights movement in the 1960s, the voting rights act and indirectly to the election of Barak Obama as President of the United States. I never thought that I would live long enough to see a black man elected to the Presidency, but I saw it twice.

    • Kat Says:

      Happy Birthday!! May today be the best of all days for you!! I am so glad you did something you enjoyed.

      I never saw the obvious signs of segregate that you did. We had bussing which was an attempt to mix races from the different neighborhoods, and that’s when I first saw racial hatred here. South Boston was deplorable and hideous in its response. Other towns had had Metro, bringing city kids to suburban schools, for years and there wasn’t a single issue until full scale bussing to South Boston. It voted both time for Obama. Times have certainly changed.

      • Bob Says:

        Thanks for the good wishes. It’s also my daughter’s 19th birthday. Today was absolutely beautiful with clear skies and the high temperature is just below 80 degrees.

      • Kat Says:

        Both of you make great wishes then blow out all the candles!!!

  5. Coleen Burnett Says:

    Hey Kat!

    For some reason I would love to hear the story of how you punched somebody in Fenway Park…

    I will try and see the new Jackie Robinson movie as soon as I can. I am a bit nervous about it – – I want to see it do well but I fear I will be disappointed. Guess I’ll take my chances…

    And my nickname was always Col. Just Col.

    Waving from Jersey – –


    • Bob Says:

      I had the same trepidation, but I enjoyed the movie throughly.

    • Kat Says:

      Hi Coleen,
      I read the review in the paper, and while the review could have been better, tit did make me want to see the film.

      I didn’t know anyone named Coleen when i was growing up, but I think Col would have been just right!

      Waving back through the rain!!

  6. Caryn Says:

    Hi Kat,
    My brothers called me a shortened form of my name that I would spell as Caa but it didn’t sound like that. There’s some weird nasal “e” sounding thing in there, too. 🙂
    My friends from junior high school on called me either Crayon or Kraken depending on which friends they were. Both of those names got shortened to Cray/Kray. Nicknames for a nickname. 🙂
    My mother gave us the don’t take candy from strangers lecture, too. She had a lot of strange prejudices and fears but she didn’t pass them along to us when we were kids. I don’t know if that was a conscious decision on her part or not. Years later, for instance, she told me that every time I went in to Boston as a teenager, she was positive I was going to be kidnapped by white slave traders. But she didn’t stop us from doing things because she was afraid.
    Expensive day for me today. Repairs to the jeep totalled $1000. Ouch. Still, it’s cheaper than a new car.
    Enjoy the day.

    • Kat Says:

      Hi Caryn,
      I had one friend named Margaret, called Maggie then ended up being Maggot. I figure she wasn’t really thrilled with the last one.

      I don’t know if my mother had any of those hidden fears. She never told me. I know when I went to Africa she was scared but that was what I expected as it was so unknown and we didn’t have the luxury of the internet to see and read about the country.

      I wonder how many white slavers operated out of Boston? I don’t mean to make fun of your mother, but that one did make me smile.

      My friend also just spend $1000 oh her jeep. It must be catchy.

      Have a great evening. Stay dry and cozy!!

      • Caryn Says:

        The thing is my mother worked in the Navy Yard during the WWII. I’ve been in town when the fleet was in and that was probably a shadow of what it was like in my mother’s day. I thought maybe she was speaking from personal knowledge or something but no. It was a story she got from her mother and who knows where my Nana got it. 🙂

      • Kat Says:

        Family lore always amazes me. It goes from generation to generation and becomes truth in time.

  7. Cuidado Says:

    My sister was Cathy Ann to everyone during childhood but Cath in the family. Now in her 50’s she is Cathy to everoney else but Calf or still Cath to her family. Nieces and nephews started the Calf and it stuck. She is Aunt Calf to my grown kids.

    • Kat Says:

      Being Kat, I was the first name my niece and nephews could say. Aunt Kat was an easy one. That’s what they all still call me.

      Only old friends from way back call me Kathy. Some call me Ry, the first part of my last name.

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