Fall Advice for Children by Fiorello La Guardia

23 Sep

That time of year thou mayst in me behold
When yellow leaves, or none, or few, do hang
Upon those boughs which shake against the cold,
Bare ruin’d choirs, where late the sweet birds sang.

Well now, the equinox is upon us. It’s autumn; the sunrise and sunset are almost exactly twelve hours apart. Days continue to shorten. And I am not the author of the verse which opens this column. William Shakespeare penned those words. Of course, he lived in a much colder place and didn’t have to look forward to football.

As we move toward spending more time with the family all gathered around the hearth, there are a few things for you, children, to keep in mind this season.

Do not play with dull knives, old fireworks, or rusty guns. Make sure they are all in working order first. This is solid guidance for people of all ages, honestly.

As the long nights slowly settle in, you are encouraged to pick up an instrument, preferably the cornet—it certainly is my favorite instrument—and entertain your parents and siblings after supper. Remember to clean the spit valve often. “Satchmo” Armstrong started on the cornet. And look at him now. You, too, can be the next Louis Armstrong. Just remember . . . the valve.

Read the comics every day. And do so out loud, so everyone in the household is privy to the humor. There are some very clever works in the funny papers. My favorite is The Katzenjammer Kids. Hans and Fritz are such mischievous twins, aren’t they? Everyone needs to laugh during these trying times.

Bug your mother to buy a pressure cooker. They are a good way to conserve fuel while preparing dinner. We all must do our part for the war effort. Saving fuel helps our boys overseas.

Seek harmony and peace. Try to get along with people, as well as animals, that don’t look like you.

Make a pile of dead, brown leaves around a solid, hard object like a cinder block. Then coax your friends to come jump into it. It’s fun seeing their reactions.

If you are struggling at school, don’t worry. It won’t last forever. But if you are itching to leave, remember: we are expanding the New York City subway every single day. And we could sure use some extra hands, especially for digging. Even small hands are fine. You’ll work long hours, consecutive days, for low wages, but you’ll certainly improve your fitness and overall health.

Your opinion is valuable. But always keep it to yourself.

Mind your peas and queues.

If you come upon a bear and don’t have time to run, hug it. Bears cannot scratch their stomachs.

Do not worry too much if you come up short. It’s the thought that counts. And remember what I said about the subway.

All little boys want to become firemen, don’t they? If you do, then remember to light up as soon as it’s possible. Cigarettes will acclimate your lungs to smoke in a building fire.

If you are one of our young, flying men heading across the Pond to do your bit for our country and pilot those wonderful flying war machines, remember: “fly slow and low.” Stay alive. We are all waiting to welcome you back when your service is completed.

When you are running with scissors, point them down.

Finally, remember: Carpe Diem! Go ahead, what could possibly go wrong?

I hope everyone stays healthy and has a great Fall. For the greatest falls of men, especially from very tall buildings like we have here in New York City, make the best-selling novels. Thank you for listening to tonight’s program and God bless.

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