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Chuck Hinman: IJMA. The Birds And The Bees

Chuck Hinman: The Birds And The Bees. Chuck reports on a spanking for exploring differences and a little book 'of the times' which his brother found and shared - widely.
Next earlier Chuck Hinman column - A Predicament

By Chuck Hinman

The Birds And The Bees

Who doesn't snicker and have all kinds of nostalgic memories when the subject of "The Birds and The Bees" is mentioned?

I suspect the time period in which you lived makes a great deal of difference in your 'street savvy' on this subject.

Naive little boys didn't know there was anything to know

No one would argue that our children's and grandchildren's generations are much more aware than somebody like me and brother Bob born in the 1920's. We were little boys growing up on our farm between Liberty and Wymore in southeastern Nebraska. We didn't know nuttin' because we didn't know there was something to know anything about. Does that make sense?

We were so naive, it would not have surprised me to find out our parents were sexless. In fact, the whole world (except maybe dogs) was probably sexless.

Exploring differences on the first day of school at age five

No, I stand corrected. There was that time when I got a spanking on my first day of country school for exploring differences of anatomies with a girl. No big deal at the time. We were both five years old and as I remember, maybe I was decorated just a tad fancier than Georgia but I suppose over time, that has changed. I am 83 years old and will probably never know. She may not be living.

But Miss Mack, the teacher who spanked me, felt it necessary to beat out of me whatever I saw. And I guess she was successful. I was just a little guy who happened to be 'in the right place at the wrong time'.... Is that the way that goes?

Information access on the playground

We weren't bombarded with TV which is probably, by default, the designated teacher of Birds and Bees 101 in our children's and grandchildren's time.

If there is one single way in which our generation had access to more street savvy than more recent generations, it is because we went to country school where the age span ran from five to fourteen years old. That is significant among boys because boys notoriously share knowledge of things learned from the playground. It doesn't make much difference which end of the age span you are on, you are privy to the same illicit information whether you are ready to handle it or not. Who among us old men (I'm 89) is there that can't remember the little booklets floating around the playground with our favorite cartoon characters (Maggie and Jiggs, Tillie the Toiler, or The Gumps) being 'naughty.'

Booklet Mom intended to use at the right time

Brother Bob, two years older than me, discovered prematurely the little booklet of the times on "The Birds and the Bees" that our Mom intended to use at the appropriate time on us boys. He discovered it just snooping around on the cold-air register in the attic. As I remember, it was sufficiently illustrated to be lurid to a young inquisitive mind.

Bob kept the book secreted away somewhere in the haymow. After he and I had taken plenty of time after school to point, giggle, and enjoy, he stuck the book in the bib of his overalls for the enjoyment and education of all the boys at school. I imagine the teacher wondered what was so interesting that all the boys, ages five to fourteen, gathered in and around the toilet. There was a lot of giggling which should have tipped her off.

In due time, after the newness wore off, Bob returned the booklet to the special place in the attic where he found it.

Mom decides the time is right

When the time was right, Mom gathered Bob and me mysteriously in the kitchen one afternoon after school saying "she had something she wanted to talk to us about." Oh, oh! What's this all about? I had forgotten about 'the book' -- then I saw it on the table.

My face flushed ten different shades of red and my hair literally felt like it was crawling off my head.

"I imagine you are wondering what Momma wants to talk to you about," she said nervously, yet motherly.

Chuck confesses the booklet has already been read

I couldn't stand the pressure and decided to 'fess up' immediately and get it over with while Bob was shushing me frantically. I, without looking directly at her, said, "Mooooom, we have already read that book," pointing to the one in her hand. The silence was deafening while Mom's face flashed and she was gulping nervously and gathering her wits. And before she had a chance to continue, I blurted out... "and Bob took it to school and all the boys at school read it too...."

I'm not sure how the meeting ended but I suppose she asked if we had any questions, and there being none, the meeting was quickly adjourned much to everyone's relief.

Anyway, that was the extent of my and my brother's Birds and Bees instruction, good or bad. I suppose it was adequate. When I get to heaven and see Mom, I want to kid her about that time when....

Written by Chuck Hinman. From It's Just Me, 2005. With some revisions from a shorter version numbered 374 sent Friday, 29 April 2011. Slightly edited by RHS.

This story was posted on 2014-02-23 00:25:02
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