CAN YOU EXPLAIN THE MICHAEL JACKSON HYSTERIA?
Tuesday, January 13, 2004
When I was a little boy my family was not
rich. We weren’t poor, but during the
depression nobody I knew personally had a lot
of money. Even though my daddy had a job –
most of my friends weren’t that fortunate.
During the summer, when school was out,
Netherland family kids came to visit us.
Sometimes they were accompanied by grownups
for the first few days, but mostly they were
supervised by my mother.
Uncles, aunts and in-laws without jobs let
their children spend a week or so at our
house. That way they could eat better and
have a comfortable place to stay and play
while the financial burden was lifted from
their parents for at least a couple of weeks.
After less than a month, the kids moved to
Most of the summer I had eight or ten
playmates. We all had a wonderful time. It
never occurred to us that there was something
strange about having parents who “tramped”
from town to town looking for work. I had
several uncles who did that, and aunts who
took in washing and did housekeeping for the
We used to have contests to see who could
gather the most clothes hangers from people in
the neighborhood so we could sell them for a
penny-a-piece to the laundry. Another contest
was gathering empty soda-pop bottles and
returning them to the corner store. Mr. Kirby
paid us in candy!
I guess the most exciting was the pancake-
eating contest! Every Friday for supper,
mother and daddy would cook ‘em and we would
eat ‘em drowned in sugar-cane syrup. It was
cheap, and filled the kids’ stomachs, and fun!
When you have two bedrooms and ten kids there
aren’t enough beds to go around. You have to
Now, I don’t know what Michael Jackson does in
bed with little boys – that’s an entirely
different story. But sleeping with a lot of
kids in bed together, whether with other kids
or with grownups, doesn’t seem to be a big
issue to me. Sometime we divided up. Some
slept on chairs and the floor when the bed was
full. Sometimes we slept with mother,
sometimes with daddy, it didn’t matter.
Sunday mornings we hopped into bed with daddy
and he read the funny papers out loud to us.
Before the age of radios, it was great fun to
follow the adventures of Dick Tracy, Flash
Gordon, Mandrake, and Orphan Annie all piled
on top of one another snuggled close to daddy
on that special day.
After that, mother fed us waffles and syrup.
Then we got dressed and were marched into
church like soldiers.
It never occurred to me – and I believe the
others either – that there could be anything
wrong with kids sleeping with grownups! One
summer I went with some of my cousins to visit
Uncle Val. He lived in a big brick house in
Shreveport. There was only one bedroom – we
all slept in the same bed and, in fact, it
seemed quite normal.
So, I don’t understand the excitement and
worry over the fact that Michael said in an
interview that kids slept in his bed. So
If he did naughty things with the kids, that’s
But sharing his bed with little boys is not a
What do you think?