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24 JANUARY 2001
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in a nutshell

A child care episode at Pioneer House

Henry Maier

A few weeks ago I was requested to produce an account about my care work with Fritz Redl and David Wineman at Pioneer House. It contained the following episode which I think might be of interest to readers of CYC-Online.

Pioneer House had always at least five workers on duty for the five pre-adolescent youngsters. In the summer of 1947 by chance I suddenly found myself alone in the house. I quickly checked all the rooms without spotting any trace of the five boys. I then stepped into the back yard and there, to my surprise and shock, I saw all five sitting happily on top of the roof of the three-story house. I immediately asked them to come down as they were in a very dangerous place. My ridiculous request met with laughter and taunts for me to come and get them. I feared that would heighten their danger.

By chance, David Wineman. (the Director of Pioneer House) came through the back yard. In spite of noticing my powerless position he just passed me with a “Hi, Henry" and disappeared into the house. A few moments afterwards he called loudly from the kitchen window, “Henry, come quickly to help Emily. The ice cream is melting away because she's cleaning the refrigerator and can't do it fast enough!"

Always eager to be helpful, I walked back to the house. When I stepped into the kitchen I saw the five boys who just minutes ago had been on top of the roof. They were grinning at me and slurping up trays of ice cream. They invited me to join them, which I did, and in a short time we rescued the cook. She thanked us for all our effective help.

With stomachs full of ice cream the boys happily agreed to go with me to the park to throw the football. There was only one aftermath of this roof-climbing expedition, namely: the handyman sawed off the big branch which had provided easy access to the roof .

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