My brother and I watched silently as our father padded his way back up the stairs. There were parts that had me laughing aloud, and others that had me sitting back and reflecting for a few moments. He no doubt felt he had fulfilled his manly duty by passing the ancient torch of knowledge from one generation to the next. The stories range from laugh-out-loud funny to rueful recognition of the pains of growing up. One day our older male friends would go to the secret place with their father and a few hours later they would emerge with the knowledge of the great secret of men and women. Baer Doug Keister has written a sweet, hilarious collection of essays about growing up in the middle of the country, in the middle of the century, as a middle child. A time when we went outside to play right after breakfast came home to eat lunch and went right back out until dinner time. About this time our family switched to Father Knows Best. What we were unclear about was when and where we would be given our peanuts.
He pulled up a bar stool and sat down. While I was born a few decades later, this book still stuck with me on a level and was something I enjoyed reading. About this time our family switched to Father Knows Best. However, these differences had little to do with sex and were more a matter of curiosity. The word pregnant was never uttered in middle-class households in our neighborhood. On the big day we were instructed to go to our equivalent of the cave: When we posed our questions to our elder siblings we were met with rolling eyes, smirks and all manner of behavior and insult that signified their superiority over us. Then we heard the footfalls and saw the shadow of our father on the stairwell slowly lumbering step by step down the stairs. Babies arrived bundled in a sheet via a stork with a Western Union cap. After the talk our friends seemed to have lost something rather than gained it. Although I am only one of those and not male , I SO relate. The heartwarming and often hilarious stories spoke of a simpler time when children invented their own games, had a somewhat skewed but enchanted view of the world outside their communities, and awoke each day with a sense of wonder. Douglas Keister, doug keisterphoto. Everyone in our circle knew about the talk. It was something to both look forward to and dread. Even on television, that window to the world beyond our sheltered neighborhood, there was no sex. What we were unclear about was when and where we would be given our peanuts. A time of innocence that sometimes would be nice to go back to. It is a quick read, full of personal stories and memories which make it so much more enjoyable and real. It reminded me of going to the drug store to get penny candy and sitting at the counter soda fountain. The author is available for interviews, lectures and book signings. A time when we went outside to play right after breakfast came home to eat lunch and went right back out until dinner time. After the proscribed amount of time, she disappeared under cover of darkness and returned a few days later in more or less the same condition and shape she was in when last sighted. But what makes the book most enjoyable is the writing--whether he's relating the "paper drive incident", a family road trip to Disneyland, or that rite of passage talk about the birds and bees, Doug's style is compulsively readable, laugh out loud funny, and clever. We certainly knew there was a difference between men and women.
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