It’s The Pitts Museum
November 17, 2009
Mrs. Samuel recently brought her second grade class to my house to see my collection of cowboy collectibles. The kids were awestruck by the visit but it wasn’t because of my old bits, spurs and canes made from the reproductive organs of bulls. No, they had gaping mouths and inquiring minds because apparently my wife and I are living in the dark ages. Or so said several of the precocious little rug rats. Evidently the only thing my house needs to become a prehistoric museum are a few well placed velvet ropes to keep the kids out of the rooms that portray how people lived in the 1970’s. (Considering the apparent affluence of many of the children I think I might also add a wooden box by the exit that will read, “Donations Gladly Accepted.”)
I’ll admit that I’m not what anyone would call a “modernist,” and our home may seem like a museum to some people because every room is crammed with dusty relics from a bygone era. But enough about me. Speaking of which… I thought I did a great job as a docent to the It’s The Pitts Museum of Ancient History. “This is our dining room,” I said as I began the tour, “where people used to gather for meals before fast food was invented. There were three meals a day and people ate with silverware instead of their fingers.” At this point I had to stop a future felon from pocketing some silverware. (He would have been disappointed in its meltdown value anyway.)
“What’s this?” asked one of the little darlings.
“Believe it or not, that is a television. It’s not high def or plasma, and it does take several seconds to warm up, but don’t you think the wooden cabinetry is beautiful? And the cabinet also contains a radio and a record player that played discs like these,” I said, holding up an old 45. “We listened to music for free on the radio and got our news from Paul Harvey. How many of you have heard of him?”
Not one kid raised their hand, except a little girl who had to use the restroom. When she returned she asked what that funny looking thing was in the bedroom.
“That would either be an ironing board or my wife. Ironing used to take up much of women’s time as they ironed shirts and slacks for their hard working husbands. That was in an era when people at least tried to look nice, back before ripped jeans, tattoos, nostril rings and pants that look like they could fall of at any moment.”
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“Hey, what’s that weird thing?” queried a third grader as the kids dispersed throughout the house, making it louder than a farrowing barn.
“That’s a telephone. It’s how we used to communicate before iPhones and Blackberries,” I said, just as one of the second graders got a call on her cell. “Oh and there’s my wife again. She is now standing in front of a sink. It’s how people used to wash dishes. On one side you put soapy water and the other side was for rinsing. Then you placed the dishes on the drain board where they waited for a child to dry them.”
“How much did that pay?” asked a future businessman.
“It paid nothing,” I said as I poured a glass of sun tea for each of the kids. “You’ll notice that there are ice cubes in your tea that we make using these little trays.”
“But why don’t you have an ice maker? Can’t you afford a new refrigerator?”
I ignored the question and ushered the destructive tykes out of the house and onto the porch. “Here’s a doghouse where dogs used to live before they moved indoors. And these chairs on the porch are called rocking chairs. They don’t massage, recline, or heat up but they’re relaxing. We sit in them to play cards, visit with friends, watch a sunset or read a book, an activity that people used to really enjoy.”
“What’s wrong, don’t you have cable,” asked a current and future smart aleck.
Again, ignoring the query I said, “Over there is our garden where we grow food.”
“But why would anyone do that?” asked a future vegan and PETA member, “when they can just buy it at the store.”