My childhood babysitter has died. She lived a long life. But it's still sad, and takes me back. Way back.
1. My mom learned to never drop one of us kids off without an undershirt on. MY kids have undershirts because it was an "Evelyn rule."
2. I MUST have popsicles in the fridge in the summer - enough for our kids + anyone playing with them. Popsicle day was "special" and exciting. And to this day, they give me that same little kid excitement and happiness.
3. She rescued me once. A neighbor called her because I was crying on the sidewalk trying to walk to her house from school in the snow. I was so cold I "could not go on." Evelyn came and picked me up - and sent me home that day with a hand-me-down-coat that I thought was the best coat I had ever seen. (I still remember: furry brown - with white furry trim and cool latches to close it up.)
4. She did not tolerate bullying. I remember picking on a fellow kid about how she always walked on her toes ... and Evelyn came after me. She sternly reminded me of my bad habit of picking at mosquito bites. (Sorry Evelyn, I still scratch and pick.) But at the same time - she also helped me learn about standing up for myself. A kid who picked on me all the time at school would sometimes try to follow me when I walked to her house and he'd torture me on the way. I remember I was wearing a cute blue dress, and blue tights and a red ribbon in my hair - and he splashed mud on me. And I cried. She gave me a talking-to about giving it back to him. She was all tough love. From that point on, I started pushing back. MANY years later, that same boy asked me out. I politely turned him down.
5. She had the best driveway for riding bikes. And she had some great trikes with giant wheels that were so fun.
6. She loved her dog Rueben.
7. She struck fear into our hearts with her ruler. But she never used it.
8. She's the only person I knew who invited the mailman in and had a cup of coffee with him and just chatted. No one probably does that anymore.
9. She always had a present for each kid at Christmastime. And was genuinely excited to see us open it. I remember getting a Barbie doll and having a huge smile on my face that matched hers.
10. I remember a victory when I pretended to nap and she believed it and praised me for sleeping. She was VERY hard to fool.
11. She would put everyone down for naps - then watch her stories. There were many times when she either let me stay up to watch ... or let me "nap" on the couch where I could still see the stories. I still enjoy the soaps. Got my start with her and Erica Kane.
12. I loved when I got to do special things - like go play with her granddaughter who lived up the street ... and there were two girls who came for babysitting who also lived right across the street...and sometimes I got to go over to their house and play. I also got to play with the little boy who lived next door. Him I DID date many, many years later.
13. She was someone who washed your face and you felt like she was gonna wipe it right off!
14. I remember how "cool" and "grown up" I felt when she let me help at lunch time - and "watch" the babies. I'm pretty sure I learned a lot about proper diaper changing from her.
15. I learned about kids with single dads, single moms, tough times and "different" circumstances. I learned that a new dad could adopt you and change your last name. I experienced acceptance of difference and making the best of things. And that a babysitter could be a support system for families. A babysitter. I think many of those kids who spent many a day at Evelyn's would agree she was more than a babysitter.
God Bless you Evelyn. On behalf of the children, thank you.
I have to believe there are popsicles waiting for you in heaven.
(My mom added some memories in comments. Feel free to add yours, too.)