Phew!

Little Johnny runs into his house and asks, “Mommy, can little girls have babies?”

“No,” says his mom, “Of course not.”

After Little Johnny runs back outside, his mom hears him yell to his friend, “It’s OK, we can keep playing

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Old Wives Tales and Periods

imageI knew there was some kind of big, stupid mystery even before my “sometimes” friend Margaret Green broke the news to me in the fourth grade.  My grandma had started badgering me not to go barefoot and had taken to sneaking peeks at my underwear when she was sorting laundry.

This is some interesting information and dire warnings I was given regarding health care of young ladies after the onset of puberty. My maternal grandmother hissed these warnings at me, though she was hazy on rationale  Girls should never go barefoot or get their feet wet after they go into puberty. (She made no mention of how I was to wash my feet or bathe.). I must never bathe or get my head wet or ride a horse during my period.  She offered as proof the fact that when my grandpa’s sister was only sixteen, she was riding a horse just before she got ready to take a job as a teacher in her first school.  She got caught in a rainstorm while she was having her period and was soaked to the skin.  She got galloping pneumonia and died before daybreak.  I was never sure if all these variables had to be included for the situation to be deadly.  Perhaps if she had been fifteen, walking to her job as a clerk in a store while she was having her period and broke out in chicken pox, she might have escaped with only a few scars on her face.

Also, Grandma warned me young girls shouldn’t ever go swimming.  “Never?”  I was appalled.

For some reason, going barefoot was deadly, especially if there was dew on the ground.  There was something called “dew poisoning.”  Dew poisoning “stopped” periods.  How could that be a bad thing?  I didn’t want periods anyway.  Not only that, dew poisoning caused rampant infections should it enter a tiny wound on the foot, but I don’t remember her ever harassing my brother about going barefoot.  Maybe she wasn’t looking out for him.

Then she told me of a stubborn cousin of hers who went swimming all the time.  “Even when she was expecting!  Everyone of her kids had epileptic fits!”  That didn’t concern me at all since I had no intention of doing anything to cause children, in view of my recent sex education.

Mother had her own ridiculous rules about hygiene.  Hair could only be washed once a week, and never during you period.  That was a disaster for us with our oily hair.  I’d try to slip around and wash it more often, but she watched us.  She insisted on giving us hideous home perms.  They were awful!  I was so glad when Mother had to much on her mind to to to keep up with trying to enforce all her mindless rules.

Shot in the Foot, Again

Nutsrok

imageMother's 88 bdayHave you ever seen a happier face?MotherIt was a perfect storm.  I’d made up my mind not to take Mother to the garden center any more this summer, not that I have anything against garden centers.  Mother is addicted to flowers, just like I am.  She just isn’t strong enough to dig holes.  In contrast, I’d never be able to convince anyone I couldn’t dig a hole.  If I tried, they’d hand me a shovel and point me toward China.  Anyway, I’m tired of digging holes.  If all the holes I’ve dug this summer, in my yard and hers, were lined up end to end, they’d reach…..well, you know.

Anyway, one of my meddling sisters called one day last week and invited Mother and me to lunch.  It sounded innocent enough.  At the worst, I would only get stuck with her lunch ticket.  Mother doesn’t believe in paying her…

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Tough as a Mother…

Please read the post from my niece, Natalie!

NataliesJourney

I’ve lived in the South my entire life and there’s definitely something to be said about the women here. Southern mamas are in a category all their own. Don’t get me wrong, I believe ALL women were made strong, especially mothers, but there’s no mother quite like a Southern Mama.

Call me biased but it’s all I know.

My grandmothers both passed away when I was really too young to remember much about either of them. So, I thrive on the stories I’ve been told about them and the few memories I do have. I am fascinated by my family heritage and learning about my genetics. So anytime there are family gatherings I’m right in the middle of it all, listening and soaking it all in.

My Grandma Vaughan was my dads mother. I have no memory of her at all but I know I’ve met her because there are…

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Plant Thieves

Pots of flowersOne day last summer, Mother and I ran by the garden center while we were running errands, as any right-thinking person would.  As I was strolling about, measuring the beauty of the flowers against the high cost of divorce, should I purchase any more this month, a miracle occurred.  One of the vendors walked up to me and asked if I liked flowers.  She cut me off before I really got started.  She lived at ——Jones Street.  She’d collected so many flowers she couldn’t take care of them.  They were all in her yard and on her porch.  Go by and get all I wanted.

“Is this a joke?  What if your neighbors see me loading flowers and call the police?”

“Oh, that’s no problem.  Just take a picture of me and show it to them if they say anything, or tell them to call me.  It will be fine.”  That sounded reasonable.  I snapped her picture making the peace sign and sped to _______Jones Street.  The neighbors were on their doorstep watching us, probably wondering why they hadn’t been offered anything.  I showed them the lady’s picture, telling them she said we could have her plants.  They looked suspicious, but didn’t yell at us.  The plants were gorgeous.  She’d even started a couple of nice pineapples.  I was thrilled to get them when I noticed we were on ______Patterson Street.  We put all the plants back, explained to the neighbors, and took off.

We never did find ________Jones Street, but at least we haven’t been arrested, yet.  I’ll bet that woman in the garden center is still laughing.

I am a slow learner. A few days ago Mother and I made a stop by another plant outlet set up in a parking lot. They had nice plants at great prices, but I forced myself not to buy much, since my beds weren’t ready yet. It as a bit of a challenge loading them since we were in Mother’s car instead of my truck, like usual. We unloaded at my house and Mother headed home with her plants. I didn’t count mine, just put them on the patio till I could get them out.

The next day, she called and told me she’d gotten an extra plant in her bunch and had to go back to pay for it. I’m glad I didn’t have to hear her explanation to the clerk, but she paid for the one she thought was extra and picked up several more while she was there.

When I counted my plants, I realized Mother had kept one of mine, accounting for her “extra.” She’s going back up to see the poor plant lady today to straighten it out. I’d be willing to bet the lady gives her extras in desperation I am glad I don’t have to go.

Things Mothers Do

I miss all the things my mother used to do for me. Even though she had to get up to a freezing house at five-thirty in winter to do it, she always had a hot breakfast on the table when we got up, usually hot biscuits, eggs, fresh milk, homemade jam or preserves, and either grits or oatmeal.  Like most kids, I didn’t want it, but she insisted. “Breakfast is the most important meal of the day!”  After the whirlwind of getting the older kids on the bus, she’d wash, iron, clean, sew, and tend the garden.  When she finished her own pleasant tasks, She’d do whatever extra things Daddy had lined up to help her pass the time, all between taking care of however many of the children might be babies or toddlers.

Laundry and ironing weren’t easy in the 1950s and 60s.  Mother had a wringer washer and clothes line a lot of the time I was growing up.  Daddy eventually replaced it with a barely functional used automatic washer after she had her fourth baby.  It was a boon when it worked, a curse during its frequent breakdowns, leaving her to do diapers on a rub-board and wait for the neighbor repairman.  Mr. J.T. had a real job and worked calls in when he could.

She boiled starch for our prissy ruffled, dresses, Daddy’s and my brother’s pants and shirts, sprinkled them with her coke bottle-capped sprinkler, then set herself to the task of ironing forty or fifty pieces of cotton clothing each week. One glorious Christmas, Grandma gave her a steam iron and changed her life forever.

By the time we got in from school, Mother had a big dinner underway: meat, either beans or peas, and another vegetable, potatoes, fried or mashed with gravy, and biscuits or cornbread. If there wasn’t dessert, Daddy complained.  She couldn’t get by more than two nights without dessert of some type without trouble.  Everything was homemade.  I really miss all the wonderful things my mother did for me and didn’t appreciate at the time.  Oh, she’s not dead.  She’s alive and well living seven miles from me.  She just won’t do these things anymore.

Don’t Play with …..

Image courtesy of Pixabay

Bud and I compared notes on our sex education back in the fifties.   “Oh yeah, I got one sentence.  ‘Quit playing with your goober.’ ”

I think I got sex uneducation instead.  Mother kept us under her eagle eye.  “You kids play here where I can see you.”  Should we get quiet while playing, she’d be on us in a heartbeat to breakup any attempts to investigate  or “play doctor.”  Believe me, we did not get play doctor kits.  Despite my best efforts, I rarely even got a chance to peak at a baby boy having his diaper changed.  When I finally did get my eyes on the prize, I came away thinking girls were plain and boys were fancy.  Mother was so modest that when my brother and I were toddlers we bathed together in our underwear.  I was probably in school before I bathed in the nude.

Pregnancy didn’t exist.  Women “were expecting” instead, but that was mentioned in whispers only to ladies.  I don’t know how men ever got the news.  The television snapped off instantly if a woman went into labor.   Had to get my sex education the way God intended, from my equally  ignorant friends.  I learned some amazing things from my friend Margaret Green.  She matured early, getting breasts and starting her menses at ten.  Until then, it hadn’t occurred to me that the same calamity might befall me.

Margaret eagerly shared her amalgam of misinformation with me.  Women got pregnant (not expecting) when a man climbed on top of her in bed and peed on her.  The baby breathed through the mother’s belly button.  If she was submersed, the baby would suffocate.  A girl could get pregnant sleeping with another girl.  The baby had to be cut out of the mother.  I’m sure there was much more.  I just remember the important parts.

I must have been crazy.  I went straight to more with Margaret’s wild tales, sure she was lying.  Mother was so mad Margaret opened Pandora’s box.  She had no choice but to give me the very most basic explanation.  I was so disgusted upon learning the mysteries of life.  “That’s awful.  I am never getting married!”  That was fine with Mother.  However, I was relieved to find out that there would be no peeing.

I can’t imagine how my mother had five children as much as she disapproved of sex.

 

 

Smorgasbord Laughter Lines – Church Bake Sale, Bachelor parties and Tick Warning.

Smorgasbord - Variety is the spice of life

Church bake sale….

Alice Grayson was to bake a cake for the Baptist Church ladies’ group bake sale in Tuscaloosa, but she forgot to do it until the last minute.

She remembered it the morning of the bake sale and after rummaging through cabinets she found an angel food cake mix and quickly made it while drying her hair and dressing and helping her son Bryan pack up for Scout camp.

But when Alice took the cake from the oven, the center had dropped flat and the cake was horribly disfigured. She said, “Oh dear, there’s no time to bake another cake.”
This cake was so important to Alice because she did so want to fit in at her new church, and in her new community of new friends. So, being inventive, she looked around the house for something to build up the center of the cake.

Alice found it…

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