I noticed each little boy had an endearing twinkle in his eyes, a mischievous look on his face.
“A person who behaves badly but in an amusingly mischievous rather than harmful way; often for personal profit.”
There was such a scallywag in one of our old neighborhoods, a darling little boy I was very fond of. The other children used to pick on him and I would hear him call out my name for help. All I had to do was open the front door for others to scatter in all directions. He would run in the house and I would give him milk and cookies, and he stayed with me until his mom got home.
Times were changing and most all of the moms went out to work on our road. I had a small cottage industry that allowed me to stay home, so I became the unofficial nanny to several of the neighborhood kids. I didn’t mind because our son had lots of company.
My little scallywag, however, had a lot of time on his hands, as his mom worked longer hours than most. She also traveled on business and had a live-in nanny who was as old as I am now, and he spent most of his non-school time running all hours around the neighborhood.
One time, just before the holidays, I noticed there were paper plates in the gutter in front of my neighbors’ houses, including ours. As I looked a few doors down, there was my little scallywag sitting on the curb. He was stuffing his mouth with cookies from one of the plates that had been previously festively wrapped.
His mother had given those cookies to all the neighbors as a gift, and placed them in the letter boxes for them to find when they came home and checked their mail. Scallywag said he thought it was okay to take them back, as they were his mother’s cookies, he had helped her bake them and he was hungry.
We had a little chat about that. I told him a) he would get into trouble going into people's letter boxes and he shouldn't do that anymore, and b) once his mother had given her cookies away, they were now the neighbors' cookies, not his mothers and not his.
He was six years’ old and we had our very own artful dodger on the loose. Not really, but I think you know what I mean. He's probably chatting to his own kids now, giving them talks like, "I understand, when I was a kid there was this time..."
When his mom remarried and moved out of state a couple of years later, I really missed that little boy, and even now the thought of him makes me smile.
After reading this Gregg said what he remembers is that he was a natural athlete, could kick a soccer ball and run like the wind.
What I remember is that kid sure loved his cookies and milk.
The photo was given to me by Gregg who belongs to an online historical photo group. Seeing all those little boys sent me on a trip down memory lane. A great trip for me, thank you Gregg.