The Clemstead

A place heavy with history and screaming for new thoughts.

Mag 185: An Outing

“Ronnie, please don’t touch that”, we’d only been here for 30 minutes and I was already exhausted. Ronnie kicked the trash can in the corner of the room. “How come Dad didn’t have to come?” “Oh, don’t worry Ronnie after tonight Daddy will be wishing he did come with us.” I replied back through a toothy smile.

“Stephie, I can’t read the small print under that painting can you tell me what it says?” trying to at least engage one of my two children at the Norman Rockwell museum. “Boy in a Dining Car. 1946, Peter Rockwell was the model for the boy in the painting.” She looked back to the painting and back up at me. “What’s a Dining Car?” Ronnie piped in next to me, “That is like the Roach Coach Dad talks about that serves sandwiches at lunch time.” “Ewwww”, Stephie bellowed. Two older couples shushed the kids from across the room.

I tried to salvage the conversation. “Ronnie, take a good look at the picture. Can you tell what a Dining car is? The painter put in a clue for you…look through the window.” Both kids leaned really close to the painting. Ronnie pulled back and crossed his arms “All I see is a train.” “Correct.” “Now what is a Dining car?”

“Mommy, how old is that boy?” I looked at a few articles I had printed out off of the Internet to see how old Peter could have been when his father used him for a model. “Well, it says that Peter was born in 1936 and this was done in 1946. How old is he?”

Ronnie brightened up, “He’s my age…10 years old.” “Yes, he is” I smiled glad to see that he worked through the Math. His smile crashed, “Why is he holding a purse? Daddy says that boys should not have those otherwise they are called …” I covered up his mouth as a gay couple walked into the room. “Ronnie, back then little boys had what they called change purses and it was OK for them to have.”

“Mommy...” Stephie pulled at my arm, “why is he in dirty socks and stinky sneakers? He is wearing good clothes shouldn’t he be wearing his good shoes?”  Leave it to my daughter to notice the sneakers. I decided to shock her further. “He might have a t-shirt on underneath and jeans.” She stared at me mouth wide open. “Na..uhhhh.”

“Mommy is he in trouble?” I grabbed him by the shoulder and pulled him closer to me. “Why would you think he is in trouble Ronnie?” He looks worried and that man is just grinning like a clown grins when he’s trying to be funny.” I rubbed his back. “Well, It looks to me like he is trying to figure out his bill.”

“That’s it!!!” Stephie cried, “He’s on a train… that has a car where he ate food and now he has to pay!” “Yes, dear” Stephie stuck out her tongue at Ronnie. “Alright you two, I think we have all had enough. Let’s say we ditch the rest and go get some ice cream.”


Tess Kincaid September 11, 2013 at 2:45 PM  

Delightful...I like how Stephie noticed the stinky sneakers...

Helen September 12, 2013 at 1:51 PM  

I am laughing .....

About Me

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I come from German (Mennonite/Brethren) stock with bits of Norse, Celtic, Native American, and some mysterious unknown combination from an adopted grandparent. Not an uncommon blend for most of us who settled early in Pennsylvania. This type of diverse heritage left me ripe for the genealogical bug. I make a pilgrimage once a month and attempt to trace all the branches of my family tree. Unearthing facts that were never documented previously always brings excitement.

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