The Cleavers

(Photo: 1164.com)
(Photo: 1164.com)

By Wayne Brown


“That’s a Beaver Cleaver house”, I think to myself as I drive along the streets and see that special house that seems to match all the characteristics of the one that housed the Cleaver family in the television series, “Leave It To Beaver”. In some ways, I guess you could say that I was indelibly marked by that television series of the late 50’s early 60’s era, so much so that I dreamed of living in a house just like theirs.


The house I refer to was really the Cleavers second home in the series and it was located at 211 Pine Street, Mayfield, Somewhere, USA. It was complete with two stories, roof dormers, an attached garage, and a wood shingle roof. Back in those days, I was a bit naïve to say the least and it seemed to me that the Cleavers were living the perfect life in the perfect home. Now, years later, I still catch myself settling down on the sofa to watch reruns of the series and to relive those dreams of having my own room in the Cleaver household.


Of course, Wally and “The Beav” had the perfect mother. She was always dressed like she was on her way to church in those flowing pastel dresses and high heel shoes. What boy of the day did not take note of how special it was that she made mash potatoes every single day for her family and served it formally in the dining room every night. She was a compassionate woman who constantly wondered “what was wrong with the Beaver”.


Back home in my life, mom only served mash potatoes on Sunday and she didn’t wear heels. The show quickly brought out the inadequacies that I was suffering on a daily basis. I’m pretty sure June Cleaver spent most of her day planning a well-balance dinner meal for her family replete with all the required food groups balanced in perfect harmony. That’s what you get when you cook in high-heels, I’m pretty sure.


“Oh June, Oh June, I’m home,” Ward Cleaver, would announce as he came through the front door of the Cleaver home, sounding more like a sea captain returning from a long sea adventure that a local Mayfield businessman. Those were the magic words for suddenly June would put down the bowl of potatoes she was mashing for dinner and hurry to the door giddy with glee at his arrival.


Ward was an insurance man (I suspected), who wore a suit and tie every day. In fact, I think Ward might have slept in a suit and tie. He ate dinner in the outfit every night. About the only time I didn’t see Ward in his formal attire was one of those rare episodes that had him spending Saturday morning drinking milk with the boys. Between Ward in his suit and June in her high-heels, I was beginning to wonder where my parents’ sense of fashion had run off the road. Since the Cleavers were a typical family, I was beginning to realize that I was living a very untypical existence and not getting mash potatoes too often either. No wonder I wanted to move in with the Cleavers.


Wally and Beaver had a gaggle of friends to keep them entertained. Eddie Haskell was one of Wally’s pals. He was the one guy I was pretty sure would either end up in jail or would be the primary reason why, Lumpy (Clarence Rutherford), would do time behind bars. I think everybody that watched the show kind of wanted a shot at Eddie just to latch up his smart mouth. On the other hand, Eddie could do some cool talking’ especially when he used his catch phrase, “Hey, Sam”, I would find myself wishing that I could come up with something to say that included “Hey, Sam”. It always sounded better coming from Eddie than me…he made it sound real.


Eddie was two-faced; the consummate expert when he was talking trash to Wally and the Beav and very much the transparent sweet-talker when he encountered Mrs. Cleaver. Eddie knew how to kiss it up. Lumpy (Clarence Rutherford) was also Wally’s running buddy. Lump always seemed to be on the short end of the stick, especially with his daddy. Beaver was hanging’ with Larry, Whitey, and Gilbert. Larry was always eating; Whitey had a funny name that seemed totally out of touch with political correctness, and Gilbert knew something about everything. I wanted friends like these and attributed my lack of them to the fact that my mother was not feeding me enough mash potatoes. I needed more mash potatoes and a two-story house with wood shingles.


Another reason that living with the Cleavers appealed to me was Beaver’s teacher, Mrs. Landers. She was a stone fox with that dark hair, creamy complexion, and dimples in her cheeks. She could have taught me everything about nothing. I could have really excelled in school if Mrs. Landers had been my teacher. Until I saw her, my educational experience had taught me that a teacher had to reach middle age before it was possible to be licensed to teach. Mrs. Landers gave me hope that one day I would walk into my classroom to find some hot babe holding the multiplication tables and wanting to know how many verbs that I could conjugate. Beaver’s teacher, Mrs. Landers, was the reason I stayed in school and avoided going to prison at an early age. There was not doubt in my mind that she got her share of mash potatoes as a kid.


After I grew up and got serious about buying a home of my own, I still held on to the dream of living in a house that looked like the Cleaver place. Finally, after owning a couple of houses, I got mine. Well, not quite, but close. It did not have two stories but it did have a wood shingle roof that made it look a little like a “Cleaver house” when you passed by on the street. Unfortunately, that house would burst my bubble and shatter my dreams about the tranquility of existing under the same roof with the Cleavers.


My insurance agent pointed out that my rates were going to be high because I had a wood shingle, “shake” roof on the house. He said that one spark landing on that roof could cause the whole place to go up in flames. Who knew? You would have thought that ol’ Gus, the fireman, who Beaver use to visit at the Mayfield fire station would have warned Beav and me about the dangers of wood shingles. What good was fireman who could not identify a firetrap when he saw it. I was beginning to question whether Gus was a real fireman or not.


As the years have passed, I have finally lost my lust for living with the Cleavers. I have spent my life in single-story houses and only owned one with a wood shingle roof (Thanks, Gus!). I don’t lust for mash potatoes anymore either nor do I long to sit in the living room with mom in her heels and dad in his tie. I was lucky that I discovered what a normal ordinary life is really like before my obsessions became too overpowering. I guess buying that firetrap with the wood shingle roof was what it took to open my eyes to the real world and the fact that potatoes can be served a number of different ways none of which require the wearing of high heels or a tie. But, for all that, I still cannot help myself as I drive down the street still looking for that “Leave It To Beaver House” where I would have gladly lived with the Cleavers.


©Copyright WBrown2010. All Rights Reserved.

8 April 2010



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Comments 26 comments

Peggy W profile image

Peggy W 6 years ago from Houston, Texas

Oh I enjoyed this immensely! I also watched Leave it to Beaver episodes when they were new and enjoyed that "perfect" household. Cute shows back then!


Wayne Brown profile image

Wayne Brown 6 years ago from Texas Author

Glad you enjoyed it Peggy. I have learned that a lot of folks wished they lived with the Cleavers. Thank you for the read! WB


rose56 profile image

rose56 6 years ago

Wow I just love your hubs. I am a follower.Thanks cant wait to read more. Rose


Wayne Brown profile image

Wayne Brown 6 years ago from Texas Author

I hope you read a lot of them, Rose. I try to keep the quality as high as possible. Thanks for stopping by! WB


mega1 profile image

mega1 6 years ago

I guess I was a sarcastic little brat even in the Beaver's heyday. I used to make fun of everything about that show, but especially Mrs. Cleaver - from her hair, to those high heels, to those belted shirtwaist dresses and her endless smile. Remember how Mr Cleaver was always carrying a folded newspaper around? Man, it was hysterical, still makes me laugh. I regret that I was never naïve enough to really believe in any of it - not even Ozzie and Harriet!


Wayne Brown profile image

Wayne Brown 6 years ago from Texas Author

I share your sentiment Mega1...it was so absurd, we wanted for ourselves!


Truckstop Sally profile image

Truckstop Sally 5 years ago

Hey Sam, Another fun hub! Do you remember Judy, the all-around pain in the A in school? And the episodes when Aunt Martha came to stay with the boys? I imagine I have probably seen every Beave show on re-runs. Andy Griffin was another "perfect" family with Aunt B and Opy learning so much . . . Thanks!


Wayne Brown profile image

Wayne Brown 5 years ago from Texas Author

@Truckstop Sally....Yeah, Eddie Haskell called everybody "Sam" except June Cleaver! LOL! I sure do remember Aunt Martha. I think she was the one that always gave Wally and the Beav new PJ's for Christmas...it always confused the Beaver. A mom in high heels serving mash potatoes every night...what a life! WB


Wayne Brown profile image

Wayne Brown 5 years ago from Texas Author

@Truckstop Sally....Yeah, Eddie Haskell called everybody "Sam" except June Cleaver! LOL! I sure do remember Aunt Martha. I think she was the one that always gave Wally and the Beav new PJ's for Christmas...it always confused the Beaver. A mom in high heels serving mash potatoes every night...what a life! WB


Truckstop Sally profile image

Truckstop Sally 5 years ago

Luckily they have mashed potatoes (sweet potatoes too) in a microwave-able bag now. WWJD - What Would June Do? My high heels are clicking around the kitchen every evening preparing French delicacies from Julia Child's cookbooks! Ha!


Wayne Brown profile image

Wayne Brown 5 years ago from Texas Author

@Truckstop Sally....sounds like your child lives in a Beaver Cleaver home! LOL! WB


RealHousewife profile image

RealHousewife 5 years ago from St. Louis, MO

Oh that was the problem with Leave it to Beaver - no one in the world really lived like that! All kids wanted parents like that - or you know, maybe they were all on sedatives then:-) LOL!


Wayne Brown profile image

Wayne Brown 5 years ago from Texas Author

@RealHousewife...Mash potatoes and 4" heels...who couldn't love a mama like that? LOL! I guess all of us kids thought old Wally and the Beav lived the good life. June might have been taking the edge off between scenes...who knows! LOL! WB


Harlan Colt profile image

Harlan Colt 5 years ago from the Rocky Mountains

Wayne,

I hope you don't think I'm a creep or somethin' but I always wanted to live next to the Brady's cause I had it bad for Marsha LOL. I think I still do in that 1970 parallel universe somewhere.

You know what would go nice with having a Cleaver House? A Cleaver job that allowed June to stay home, pay all the bills, buy food and clothes and even have some left over for a little R&R or a project now and then.

I want a Cleaver Job, then I will get me a Cleaver house!

- Best Wishes

- Harlan


Wayne Brown profile image

Wayne Brown 5 years ago from Texas Author

@Harlan Colt...Yeah, Harlan, ol Ward must have been bringin' home the bacon to keep June at the house in those high heels and pearls! LOL! I know what you mean on that "Marsha" business...I was kind of that way about Susan Dey on "The Partridge Family"...mom wasn't so bad either but not as hot as Mrs. Brady!!! Ha Ha! WB


Harlan Colt profile image

Harlan Colt 5 years ago from the Rocky Mountains

oh man... I dated a girl that looked like Susan Dey's blonde twin in high school. I was crazy about her, then one day she said something and I took it the wrong way and dumped her. I figured out later she was trying to compliment me, not offend me - OH I AM SO STUPID SHE WAS SO HOT! But I thought I was God's gift to women back then too... actually I am still am, its just been so long I think they all forgot... certainly my physique has. (bangs head on desk).


Wayne Brown profile image

Wayne Brown 5 years ago from Texas Author

@Harlan Colt...Yeah, like me getting mad because Sandra Dee married Bobby Darin...like she gave a tinker's damn about what I thought. But that didn't matter to me, I was in love and knew she would be too if she just met me! LOL! Thanks, Harlan. Now get down to gym! LOL! WB


Alastar Packer profile image

Alastar Packer 5 years ago from North Carolina

O brother where art thou been. June Cleaver become my all time favorite t.v. mom.'...might have slept in a suit and tie', classic Wayne. This witty and humorous article is just what the doctor ordered tonight. Apologize for not coming round your site sooner but won't miss any more new ones. p.s. it was almost like losing a family member when she passed on recently.


Wayne Brown profile image

Wayne Brown 5 years ago from Texas Author

@Alastar Packer...I was quite angry for much of my young life that mine was not at all like that of Theodore Cleaver. Barbara Billingsley seem to be just as nice in real life as she was a the Beav's mom. She also had a funny side as she displayed in the movie, "Airplane"...loved her in that one. I think we can conclude that the Cleavers left a permanent mark on America that will pass from generation to generation...and a wholesome one too! Thanks much! WB


Deborah Sexton 3 years ago

You say you watch the reruns but I don’t understand some of the things you’ve said if you do.

I watch the shows on my Roku which is installed on my television set.

Roku allows me to watch thousands of TV shows-Classic TV shows and all the movies that's ever been made.

I too like these old shows, like Leave it to Beaver and the Andy Griffin show.

These are shows my brother and sisters watched

I’ve watched and continue to watch Leave it to Beaver.

Now I’ll go back to the few things you’ve said that I disagree with.

You said: Quote

“ It was complete with two stories, roof dormers, an attached garage, and a wood shingle roof.”

UNQUOTE

At the second house the garage is not attached, that’s why they had to walk out side and go in the side door. Remember when Larry drilled the two holes in the garage wall? When Wally and Ward find the holes, Wally is looking through them and says “hi mom” That’s because June is passing between the house and the side of the garage.

You said: Quote

“ had the perfect mother She was always dressed like she was on her way to church in those flowing pastel dresses and high heel shoes”

UNQUOTE

Perfect? June is very nosy and has to know everything that is being said and done. She even opens her children’s mail. She refuses to do anything outside the housework and makes Ward or the children run her errands although she drives, and they have spent the day at work and in school.

It’s true that June meets Ward at the door and kisses him, but, she also hits him with problems about the children immediately after he walks in.

You said: Quote

“how special it was that she made mash potatoes every single day for her family and served it formally in the dining room every night”

UNQUOTE

She also made TV dinners, I’ll give only one example. Ward asks ”what’s for dinner?” June says “old fashioned pot roast” Ward says something like “hmm good” and June says “that's what it said on the package old fashioned pot roast”

You said: Quote

“She was a compassionate woman who constantly wondered “what was wrong with the Beaver”.

UNQUOTE

She was always worrying about Beaver you never heard her worrying about Wally. But she gave her children the false impression that she was lenient but June tells Ward how to deal with the children and she is very strict.

These words describe June as a parent, unrelenting, uncompromising, unmerciful, and she makes her children do the things they hate to do

You said: Quote

“June would put down the bowl of potatoes she was mashing for dinner and hurry to the door giddy with glee at his arrival.”

UNQUOTE

You said: Quote

“Larry, Whitey, and Gilbert. Larry was always eating; Whitey had a funny name that seemed totally out of touch with political correctness, and Gilbert knew something about everything. I wanted friends like these”

UNQUOTE

You wanted friends like them? Larry and Gilbert were horrible, they were the worst influence on Beaver and he got into most of his problems listening to them. I admit Beaver was either too stupid or gullible, but still his friends turned their backs after Beaver did listen to them.

They were worse than ten Eddies.

You said: Quote

“Whitey had a funny name that seemed totally out of touch with political correctnes”

UNQUOTE

I am taking that the name Whitey to be the reason for your remark. In the 50s and 60s schools and neighborhoods were still segregated, and no one called anyone whitey or anything else because they didn’t even interact with each other. They never said why they called him that, but I assume it was a play on his last name Whitney or if not that, because of his white blonde hair.

You might want to read my hub about Leave It To Beaver, I think you’ll see I view them differently than most.


Deborah Sexton 3 years ago

I forgot to post my answer to this one''

You said: Quote

“June would put down the bowl of potatoes she was mashing for dinner and hurry to the door giddy with glee at his arrival.”

UNQUOTE

I remember only one time she met Ward at the door and was all "giddy"

This is when Beaver was in second grade. He was given a note by his teacher Miss Canfield or Camfield (something like that) to take home. She wanted him to play Smokey the Bear and needed his parents permission. The other kids told him he must have done something bad because that's the only time they send home notes. Beaver was afraid and left the note at school. When the teacher found it, Beaver lied and said his dad was in the hospital. When Mrs. Rayburn, the school principal heard about it she sent Ward flowers. June thought Ward sent them to her and didn't bother to read the card.


Wayne Brown profile image

Wayne Brown 3 years ago from Texas Author

@Deborah Sexton...Have you ever heard the term "tongue in cheek"...it applies here. I had no intent of writing an expose' of how I seriously felt about the Cleavers. The intent is to be humorous by ignoring the obvious but I see that was wasted on you. Next time I write one in this vein, I will include a floor plan of all the houses the Cleavers lived in and a manual outlining all the traits of a lousy mother. Oh and you can also get those classics on NetFlix as well but I try not to watch too much of it. Thanks much! ~WB


Deborah Sexton 3 years ago

I knew it was suppose to be humorous but even so there should be correct information

Don't worry, if you write another I won't be around to read it:)


Wayne Brown profile image

Wayne Brown 3 years ago from Texas Author

@Deborah Sexton....I applaud you detailed knowledge of every aspect of "Leave to Beaver". I just hope you can find a better use for it than making justification for June Cleaver being a lousy mother. I wouldn't even argue the point. Thank you for your commitment...now on with the show! ~WB


Deborah Sexton 3 years ago

Wayne I voted this hub up and awesome


Wayne Brown profile image

Wayne Brown 3 years ago from Texas Author

@Deborah Sexton....Thank you very much! I do appreciate it!

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