Maybe it’s because I am old enough to remember an Indian-head test pattern on TV or maybe it’s because I also enjoyed playing with chickens. Robert Montgomery’s Under the Bed: Tales from an Innocent Childhood grabbed me from the first time I picked it up.
Just to be thinking about Winky Dink and You and my magic coloring screen brought a smile to my face? There are dozens of examples just like this one that helped me recall many joys from my childhood. A few that come to mind are bicycles for Christmas, baseball on the radio and schoolhouse playgrounds.
Under the Bed tugged at my heartstrings and refreshed my recollections of growing up in a world much different than today. The memories it brought back were welcome and fond memories of my own innocent childhood. Montgomery’s tales of youth and innocence continuously made me think of experiences that many kids today miss out on and may never understand.
The short entertaining chapters make the book perfect for picking up during a work break. The only problem I found was setting it back down and getting back to work. Every single chapter offered something to warm my heart or jog my memory.
Montgomery wrote most of the essays, but the stories from nine guest writers compliment his. All the stories underline the value of growing up in an era where youngsters could play kick the can until well after dark and doors could be left unlocked.
One of the most surprising revelations to me was the number of times he spurred my memory of an event and it seemed like it happened yesterday. The reality is that many of them happened 40 or more years ago. It was his crisp and detailed accounting of the events that made me relive them as if they were yesterday.
Montgomery is a self-proclaimed member of the “Grammar Police.” His membership will remind readers of a time when words were more likely to describe an actual thing or event. Many of the words used back then would not be politically correct today or they would mean something entirely different. With that said I urge you to read the book and search for his tale of a hot dog on a stick.
The story about how a chicken made it from the barnyard to the dinner table was a tale about his grandmother. The recollection it brought for me was my mom and her ability to bring the “finger-licking good” chicken to the table. As with the hot dog on a stick, I will leave the details for you to discover when you read the book.
Montgomery said it himself in the Introduction, “I believe these essays will help you recall, relive and enjoy the humor and innocence of childhood.” I agree fully and would add that Under the Bed is an extremely entertaining and at times educational read. I highly recommend it for your own personal pleasure and also for reading to children so they can have a glimpse into a time of innocence portrayed in its pages.