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Babysitting
by Wanda Morrow Clevenger

Sometime in the early 70s, I got roped into babysitting for the grandson of one of my mom’s bosses.  Considered too young for a real job, too young to date, too young to walk uptown to the square (otherwise known as the vortex of evil where only loose girls hung out), too young to initiate a singular thought or action that wasn’t first scrutinized to splinters, but old enough to be responsible for the safety of someone’s child it seemed.

The boy hid out in his room while I watched TV.  He had little use for me, I had less for him but for the cash payoff at midnight—an acceptable first job tradeoff.

And so it went, while his parents drank and dined the night away, he played quietly in his room.  I got bored and began casing the joint, my eyes and hands caressing the belongings of total strangers.  There was little of interest in the small trailer-style home and I wasn’t brave enough to help myself to a snack so returned to the living room lit only by the television.  And that’s when I saw it: a stack of adult magazines piled up on a small corner table.

I soon gave up babysitting and after high school got roped (again) into going on an interview for a jail matron position—a woman was needed on the premises when female prisoners arrived or were moved.  At five foot nothing, ninety-five pounds, I knew I hadn’t a snowball’s chance.  And too the only other candidate was the brash woman whose child I happened to have babysat sometime in the early 70s.  I was told she had some political pull.  A shoo-in for sure.

Was I too young to look through those magazines?  Of course I was.

AUTHOR’S PHOTO CAPTION: My mother brought up four girls by herself.  I was the youngest and as such was considered too young for everything.  Absolutely everything.  It’s a wonder I managed to survive to a ripe old age.

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
Wanda Morrow Clevenger
is a Carlinville, Illinois, native. Over 438 pieces of her work appear in 152 print and electronic publications. Her nonfiction “Big Love” was nominated for 2016 Best of Net by Red Fez literary journal. Her poem “When I Loved You” was commended by the judges in the 2015 Lost Tower Publications “The Double Happiness Love Completion.” Her debut book This Same Small Town in Each of Us (Edgar & Lenore’s Publishing House) was released in October 2011. Visit her magazine-type blog, updated at her erratic discretion, here.