April 13, 2010

Farmer Gram's Homemade Dog Wagon

sweet_juniper_amish_dogwagon.jpg

I've had Jim's incredible, homemade Dog Wagon parked in my browser tabs for a week now, and I literally woke up at 5:00 and realized I had to post about it right now.

Not because he basically invented this thing for $30 using the Internet and a thrift shop. Not because their adopted, purebred Detroit street dog absolutely loves it. Not because the way Gram wears his Amish cowboy hat makes it look like he's racing into the wind wherever he goes.

No, it's because of Petey. I was lying there in bed, and I suddenly remembered that they had some kind of crazy-awesome dog cart on Little Rascals, too. Jim writes about dogs working alongside humans for thousands of years, but what he's tapped into an ancient history of childhood. And by ancient, I don't mean just our own memories of being kids; it's our grandparents' experience as kids. The parenting style of our great-grandparents' generation, which--have you ever even considered your great-grandparents as parents?

But it's not necessarily them personally; it's the era. His street urchin photo archive is the tip-off. Can you imagine your kid watching Little Rascals, much less living it? You think there's a warning label on Old School Sesame Street. Was there even one, single parent in the whole Little Rascals universe? Didn't some kid babysit his baby brother by gluing him to the floor?

Hmm, in the 1927 short "Baby Brother," Farina paints "a black baby with white shoe polish so that he can sell him to Joe Cobb (right) as a baby brother. Problematic, to say the least. But check out that awesome Enzo Mari X Duchamp jalopy!

ourgang_baby_brother.jpg

Holy crap, they did a Little Rascals movie in 1994? Never mind, Jim's all we got left, folks.

The Dog Wagon [sweet-juniper.com]
Our Gang [wikipedia]

1 Comment

There must be a lot fewer kids in the 2-5 range riding around on their own gas-powered mini dirt bikes and ATVs in your neck of the woods. Parenting by street is alive and well in plenty of places.

I'll have to see if I can dig up the photo of my great-grandmother in her goat cart c. 1900. I think it survived to be used by my mother in the 1950s.

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