The Beaver's Life and Times
When I was a kid, Leave it to Beaver was just funny; as an adult I discern the eternal insights. Having spent most of a nostalgic Sunday laying around watching a Beaver Marathon--these old shows being the bridge between young and older me, and therefore a link between Chico me and Chicago me-- I have the following great insights to report:
On friendship and loyalty—who’s ever expressed it better? My friends everywhere, take note:
Theodore "Beaver" Cleaver: We can't just say we're going to be friends. We gotta have an agreement or something.
Larry Mondello: Okay.
Theodore "Beaver" Cleaver: I, Beaver Cleaver, swear to die for Larry Mondello and always stick up for him and never snitch on him and be his friend forever.
Why your house CAN be too clean, thank goodness:
Eddie Haskell: Your kitchen always looks so clean.
June Cleaver: Why, thank you, Eddie.
Eddie Haskell: My mother says it looks as though you never do any work in here.
On how the guys still sadly have it harder in some ways…
[Richard, Beaver’s friend, has lost the three dollars his mother gave him to have the family’s laundry washed]
Richard Rickover: I wish I was young enough to cry.
Theodore "Beaver" Cleaver: Yeah, now the only place you can cry is in the movies where it's dark.
On the wonders of the imagination:
[Over June’s elaborate dinner of barbecued pork ribs]
Ward Cleaver: Well, you boys are very quiet tonight. What are you thinking about?
Theodore "Beaver" Cleaver: I was just thinkin' what I'd do if I was a pig eatin' people’s ribs.
A helpful perspective on the Almighty that would probably change life as we know it if everyone took it seriously; it certainly shows how things do change:
Theodore "Beaver" Cleaver: I wouldn't wanna do anything to hurt God. He's got enough trouble with the Russians and all.
Having seen a few split-ups of picture-perfect families, (btw marvelous people are still marvelous inside or outside the family sphere), there is a poignant truth to this little scene:
Theodore "Beaver" Cleaver: Hey Wally, how come Dad's taking us out to dinner and a show?
Wally Cleaver: I don't know; I think it's on account of togetherness, like you read about in the magazines. You know, it's supposed to make us a happy family and all that kind of junk.
Theodore "Beaver" Cleaver: Couldn't we be a happy family just eatin' in the kitchen?
Wally Cleaver: Na, that's no good. Ya' gotta' go out and show people you’re a happy family.
Why I wish my Dad had been Ward:
"As you go through life, try to improve yourself, not prove yourself."
Ward on having kids:
"You know, before we had kids, I never thought I could be furious at someone, proud of them, and utterly confused by them all at the same time."
Well, at least my Dad got two out of three of those right.
For those of you about my age, here is a classroom scene that will bring back lots of memories! Kids, life was like this for me...