We were playing in the sandbox … we have a large yard, a half-acre lot, and at this time in the early 1950s it is without trees or landscaping. At the back of the property, beyond the barbed wire fence, are farmer’s fields that are destined to be a housing tract but right now, the cows are grazing freely. Daddy built a sandbox for us. It’s probably about three or four feet square, with triangular seats on the corners, painted the same maroon as the clapboards of our house, and it is placed so that Mummy can watch us playing from the kitchen window.
Yesterday, Deborah, who is my very best friend, and I played happily and quietly in the sand. At least I thought so but Mummy was watching from the window and she saw Debby taking the toys from me. To Mummy it seemed that whatever I played with, Debby wanted. Me, I’m pretty easy-going and would rather play than confront. But Mummy decided to give me my first lesson in assertiveness today, and she told me I shouldn’t let Debby do that. Now Mummy is overseeing us from the kitchen window … watching us fighting over the toys in the sandbox. She’s thinking, no doubt, that she should have left well enough alone.