The Babysitter
by Ellen Evans

When we moved in there, it was far from being a neighborhood. But my dad was job foreman for a company that built houses for those whose white collars fit exceptionally well. It never really dawned on me until just a recently (some 50+ years), that my dad’s was blue.

One of the first families to move in became fast friends with my folks. After knowing them for a while, and being six, maybe seven, I slipped up one day, and instead of calling her Mrs. Leighton, I called her Aunt Shirley (I already had one of those, married to my Uncle Jim). But by the time I was twelve, that informality was gone. She was about to become my employer. When her first daughter turned three months old, I began babysitting. As more neighbors with kids moved in, it just seemed natural for me to watch them as well. And, I was considered “cool,” and could go a little Mary Poppins, which seemed to work well.

I don’t remember what my starting wage was, but by the time I was in ninth grade I was getting referrals from some of my dad’s wealthy clients. I do remember that when asked what I charged, I told them I would accept their judgement based on their satisfaction. I can recall it falling in around $10/hr—not 2017 $10/hr, but 1968 $10/hr. Not bad. Not bad at all.

Copyright © Ellen Evans – 2017

IMAGE: Illustration from Mary Poppins by Mary Shepard.

NOTE FROM THE AUTHOR: To write this poem, I went back to memories that I hadn’t really visited for quite a long time. I have thought about other aspects of my past relating to the same general time, but not to the babysitting. They are probably some of my fonder recollections from those years.

Ellen Evans, July, 2016

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Ellen Evans lived in Israel for the 12 years prior to the first Gulf War. While there, two of her poems were translated into Hebrew, and appeared embedded in a novel written by David Ben Joseph. She recently has had two poems chosen for the online journal Wild Women’s Medicine Circle, and she has had six poems chosen for an anthology issued by a poetry blog site. In addition, she has had two poems included in the chapbook Porcupine, published by Lost Sparrow Press. She currently resides in Providence, Rhode Island, where she is working on a chapbook of poems about migraines, written during migraines. The neurologist treating her has used some of the poems in a lecture. Visit her on Twitter @smilelady51810.