‘Would you trust your kids with him?’Our youngest brother sent us a link to KDAL radio personality Johnny Lee Walker’s blog, where Walker has posted an old photograph of Pat Cadigan, another KDAL radio personality, with 9 children.
By: Linda Grover, for the Duluth Budgeteer News
Our youngest brother sent us a link to KDAL radio personality Johnny Lee Walker’s blog, where Walker has posted an old photograph of Pat Cadigan, another KDAL radio personality, with 9 children. The caption reads: “Would you trust your kids with him?” Below the picture is an explanation of the event:
It was an old radio promotion where Pat Cadigan would come to your house and babysit your kids while mom and dad would hit the town. Pat was stuck with nine kids!! Thankfully his fiancé came along to help but what a picture and what a promotion!
The picture is of Pat Cadigan with the LeGarde kids that night in early 1962: Linda, Janet, Nancy, Jerry, Susie, Colleen, Gail, Jeanne and Jimmy. What a picture, indeed. We have been having a great time making comments to each other on our family website and remembering what we wore, how exciting it was to have a radio star right there in our house, and how much fun we had.
Pat Cadigan is a well-known longtime radio personality here in Onigamiising, and when this picture was taken his morning show was playing in kitchens all over town every morning. I remember his voice very clearly, as well as his upbeat patter that appealed especially to my mother and her friends, all parents of young growing families.
KDAL’s promotion was a contest: Pat, a bachelor, was offering to spend an evening babysitting for a mother who would write him a letter explaining why she needed a night out.
Our mother (also named Pat! In this column I will use her nickname, Patsy) wrote about her five youngest children who were just getting over the chicken pox. Pat called her during his show to tell her that her letter was chosen. Because he got a busy signal he announced over the radio that he was trying to call her. She heard it because while she was on the phone with her sister Peggy, of course they were listening to Pat Cadigan.
The night Pat came to babysit the house was, of course, spotless. The little children had had their baths and were in pajamas; we older kids were used to helping around the house and were ready to help Pat. Pat had brought his sweetheart along, everybody was introduced, Patsy told him what she called the “magic word” for bedtime, and then she and my dad, Jerry, left.
We had a super time. Pat sat on the floor and colored with the middle kids; his sweetheart read stories and played with the babies. They both talked to us older kids as though we were adults. Soon after our mom and dad had left, KDAL TV news arrived at the house, where they took some photographs and interviewed us. They told us to be sure to watch the 10 o’clock news. In those days before instantaneous technologies it was amazing that our pictures would be developed and ready in just a few hours!
When bedtime approached, Pat tried the magic words: bedtime surprise. At our house, that meant that it was time for a little snack (Surprise! We never knew if it would be cereal, a cookie, or, the day before grocery shopping, soda crackers with butter … ) and then bedtime. Pat and his sweetie were surprised at how the magic worked, and said they would have to remember that one!
Patsy and Jerry got home early, and spent the rest of the evening socializing with Pat and his sweetie in the kitchen, with coffee and cake. In bed, we could hear them talking and laughing until late.
Johnny Lee, that picture on your website is a real treat to look at, a 1962 family with all the accoutrements of those happy days: kiddies in pajamas that snapped, bottoms to tops; a tweener girl (me) in cat-eye glasses; stair-step children, like so many families of that time; stylish new brass lamps and textured wallpaper, the palest Jackie Kennedy of pinks. And on the wall a portrait of the twins, Jeanne and Jimmy; on the other side of the wall, our dad’s “’End of the Trail” print, with our Easter palms tucked safely into the frame.
We first nine LeGarde kids remember all of this, and remember that night. We are sorry the next five kids who weren’t born yet missed it, but are glad they can see the picture. Many thanks, Johnny Lee Walker.
Pat, we surely are glad that our mom and dad trusted their kids with you! And it’s still a pleasure to listen to your upbeat patter on the radio.
Monthly columnist Linda LeGarde Grover is a professor of American Indian studies at the University of Minnesota Duluth, an award-winning writer and a member of the Bois Forte Band of the Minnesota Chippewa Tribe. E-mail her at email@example.com.