Lake Charles American-Press from Lake Charles, Louisiana on July 26, 1964 · Page 42
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Lake Charles American-Press from Lake Charles, Louisiana · Page 42

Lake Charles, Louisiana
Issue Date:
Sunday, July 26, 1964
Page 42
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MY MOST INSPIRING MOMENT I am afraid, looked disdainful. "Would you like to offer the boys some candy?" I suggested at the door, holding a big antique candy jar I keep filled with hard candies. "No, thanks," they said in chorus, somewhat miffed, I thought. On an impulse I said, "Would you boys like to see the house?" Their faces lit up. "Yeah. Sure," they said in chorus. With this, Stephen came to life and, bustling with importance, ushered them in and gave them a quick tour of our four floors. "Geez," said the biggest one as they ended up in the kitchen, "my fadder oughtta see dis kitchen. He's a tchef." "A chef?" I asked. "Where?" (thinking of the Waldorf maybe). "At the Thoid Avenoo Bar and Grill" was the proud reply. The boys came to visit us often after that. The one who emerged as a personality was Larry. Larry was a year younger than Stephen, nearly as tall, thin in a balanced way. His eyes were alert and blue, his hair light brown and curly. Everything about him was shabby except his manners, which were considerate. On .my days in the kitchen (and he soon learned to know them) , if I dropped a dish towel on _the floor or cast an eye at the accumulating trash, Larry, not my children, made the first move to rectify the situation without being asked. There was no doubt about it. I had begun to love Larry as one of my own, and this affection was not lost on the baby of the family. He became quite indignant about those "dirty" kids always hanging around. "They smell," he stated flatly. I must say I had to agree with him. I don't like to make rules for friends, but in Larry's case, I had to. He was a constant visitor by now — more as my guest than Stephen's. I said, "Larry, I am going to make one rule. When you or the other boys come to the house, the first thing you do is to wash your face and hands and your arms as far up as you can reach. If possible, comb your hair, but I don't insist on that. I want to see what you look like clean." Perhaps I should tell you something about Larry's background. His mother is an attractive, tall woman — originally, I gather, of English descent. Like Larry, she is quick at figures, quick and proud in her manner. She is a widow. Larry is the middle one of her three children. The youngest is a little girl of six. Her oldest child — a "little mother"— is just a year older than Larry. A grandmother looks after their cold-water flat on the top of an old brownstone. The mother earns ?65 a week as a cashier. Several nights a week she has a nighttime job to bring in some additional income. There is sound discipline in the house, and a great sense of sharing and responsibility. Larry sometimes can't spend the weekend with us because it is his Sunday to get up early and walk the dog. He never tries to get out of this,, nor does he complain. I can't say the same of Stephen; household chores and walking the dog (much as he loves him) bring forth loud bleats of complaint. Well, Stephen is round and frankly can be very inactive except when prodded. Like many privileged boys, he prefers watching football on television to playing stickball in the street. He feels he must take a bus if he is going to visit the Museum of Natural History instead of hiking *cross town as Larry would. Until I put my foot cfcwn, he had a tendency to let Larry run his errands so he could avoid the four flights of stairs, an energy expenditure he greatly needed. F AIRLY EARLY in their friendship, Larry took Stephen to the Boys' Club which is only a block from us. Almost immediately, Stephen was home again, violently indignant. "The kids over there are tough. They are jealous of me. One of them pushed me in the pool!" He refused to go back. We saw less of Larry, who swam in the pool, played basketball in the yard, and was beginning, shyly, to go to dances. These latter began to interest Stephen somewhat, but he dismissed the assemblage as "tough kids," not his caliber at all, and refused to enter into any of this activity so near at hand. His weight climbed. His inactivity increased. He didn't like putting his nose out the door after dark. Our poodle was the best-walked dog on the block, but walked by Larry, not by Stephen, though it was Stephen who needed the exercise as well as the companionship. One winter afternoon, Stephen came home, slammed down his books, and went up to his room, obviously upset. At dinnertime he admitted very reluctantly that outside our church a boy on a bicycle had stopped, spoken to him pleasantly, and then said menacingly, "You better give me your money." Stephen at first said he had none and then, threatened, gave up his hoard —50 cents. Seething with frustration and anger, he came home too ashamed at first to tell us. "You big dope," said his older brother, "why didn't you fight?" "I couldn't," said Stephen in tears. "He pretended he had a Icnife. Maybe he had a knife. Those kids are tough." Then followed a bitter complaint about his having to move to the city, being exposed to such dangers, and being robbed practically at his doorstep. Even his brother's offer of 50 cents to replace the lost money was no consolation. His anger even spilled over to Larry, whom he "branded" as one of "them." H E SOON COOLED off, but the next morning I said, "I have come to a decision. I am starting you both on a judo course. It's a tough world everywhere, and I want my sons to be able to protect themselves under any circumstance. You just have to know how. I want you to learn." They were both eager and started lessons that very morning. I felt that Stephen was growing in confidence, and I knew it when I found Larry coming on an occasional Saturday to learn a few judo holds and to go with Stephen to his class as an onlooker. This is the beginning of our third year in this house. The neighborhood is improving all the time. I am sending Larry to tutoring school twice a week, and he is doing very well, particularly in math. He is learning certain social graces and better grammar, having meals with us, and spending an occasional weekend. Stephen, however, has learned a lot from Larry. We have received more than we have given. Larry has a bicycle now, brand- new, as Stephen's was two years before. It was a gift from me, but a selfish one. If Larry goes cycling, Stephen will go. The other night, coming home fairly late on a weekend, I met them out walking our poodle. The street was pretty dark. "Isn't it late for you two to be out?" I asked. "It's okay, Mom," said Stephen. "You forget this is Larry's neighborhood—and nobody pushes Larry around. And," he added proudly, "if anyone tries to mug me — wham I" He meant it. A child—any child—needs the opportunity to know intimately children with backgrounds other than his own. Larry, with his warmth and charm and brightness, his acceptance of the disciplines of his life, has given Stephen an example of male adequacy he might never have received from his well- Are you using the most modern way to relieve hemorrhoids? You can be sore —with The PAZO Formula in convenient suppository form ... most modern way to shrink hemorrhoid tissue without surgery. Here's why ... MODERN IN FORM. P4KO | suppositories are ideal for I today's active people. Handy to carry in pocket or purse, simple to use wherever you go. Foil- wrapped. Stainless, pure- white. No messy applica- [ tor, no messy stains. MODERN IN FORMULA. Some products claim all-purpose ingredients which are expected to do many jobs. 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