Cheaper by the Dozen (Perennial Classics)
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What do you get when you put twelve lively kids together with a father -- a famous efficiency expert -- who believes families can run like factories, and a mother who is his partner in everything except discipline? You get a hilarious tale of growing up that has made generations of kids and adults alike laugh along with the Gilbreths in Cheaper by the Dozen.
Translated into more than fifty-three languages and made into a classic film starring Clifton Webb and Myrna Loy, Cheaper by the Dozen is a delightfully enduring story of family life at the turn of the 20th century.
line. Memorize them. Get to know them forward and backward. Get to know them so you can say them with your eyes closed. Like this.” Dad closed his right eye, but kept his left open just a slit so that he could still read the chart. “QWERTYUIOP. See what I mean? Get to know them in your sleep. That’s the first step.” We looked crestfallen. “I know. You want to try out that white typewriter. Pretty, isn’t it?” He clicked a few keys. “Runs as smoothly as a watch, doesn’t it?” We said it did.
they’re very affectionate, but they’re not accustomed to having children around any more. They’re going to love you, but they’re not used to noise and people running around.” Mother had spent a good bit of money buying us new outfits so that we would make a good impression in California, and she thought she ought to economize on train accommodations. We were jammed, two in a berth, into a drawing room and two sections. She brought along a Sterno cooking outfit and two suitcases of food, mostly
when he got a job with an automatic pencil company, he decided to photograph us burying a pile of wooden pencils. We were in Nantucket at the time. Tom Grieves built a realistic-looking black coffin out of a packing case. For weeks we bought and collected wooden pencils, until we had enough to fill the coffin. We carried the casket to a sand dune between The Shoe and the ocean, where Dad and Tom dug a shallow grave. It was a desolate, windswept spot. The neighbors on the Cliff, doubtless
house. They should last us for years.” In justification to Dad, it should be said that automatic pencils always were used once the supply of wooden ones was exhausted. Dad simply couldn’t stand seeing the wooden ones wasted. The next summer, when Dad was hired as a consultant by a washing machine company, we went through the same procedure with the washboard and handwringer at Nantucket. This time, though, Tom was prepared. “Wait a minute, Mr. Gilbreth,” he said. “Before you bury my wringer I
her come to live with them. Finally, when she was too old to help even with the housework, they turned her out into the street. There was a snowstorm going on, too. The fade-out scene, the one that had Dad actually wringing out his handkerchief, showed the old woman, shivering in a worn and inadequate hug-me-tight, limping slowly up the hill to the poor house. Dad was still red-eyed and blowing his nose while we were drinking our sodas after the movie, and all of us felt depressed. “I want all