Don’t Bother Reaching for Your Umbrella, It’s Probably Broken!

Baby group Kids small

Top pic:  Me and the kids in baby’s first days.  Notice how I don’t appear to know how to manage.  A picture is worth a thousand words.

Bottom Pic: Children about six months later

The baby was tiny. I hadn’t seen anything but tonsils, poop, and Sesame Street in three weeks. My three-year-old-jabbered non-stop. My ears were sore. Naturally, with the clear-thinking of a woman with near terminal post-partum depression, I took full responsibility everything that went wrong. I don’t know if my husband was a good father or not, since he Continue reading

Advertisements

Blackie and the Great Diaper Monster

My grandparents, Roscoe and Lizzie Holdaway, a few months after her stroke.  She was about 4″8″ tall.  Note the large, black purse on her left arm.

family6

Grandma had a stroke when she was fifty-eight.  The doctor came out to see her and said she’d never walk again.  Ignoring him, she scooted around in an old desk chair for about three months because she wasn’t about to waste money on a wheelchair she’d never use again.  After that, she put up with a cane for a few days till she was sick of it, then it was business as usual.  Ever afterwards, she was a little weak on the right side and her gait was off a little, but she didn’t let it hold her back.  She just carried her gigantic old-lady black purse on the left side to balance herself.  She crawled in every time the car started, and made every trip anyone else did, be it the hardware store, grocery store, or vacation.  Her stroke just made it a little easier for us to keep up with her.

She lived far enough away that she always stayed a couple of weeks when she visited.  Upon her arrival, she insisted on taking over the family laundry, washing, hanging out on the line, and folding.  We always had mountains of laundry with five kids, including two babies in diapers, so Mother was glad to have the help.   Always afraid the neighbors would talk about her for letting Grandma toddle back and forth with the laundry, she always sent one of us to help.  I always volunteered, since Grandma was known to hand out nickels when she was pleased.  I endeavored to make sure the other kids didn’t stumble into this gold mine.

The whole time I was growing up, we had a sequence of gentle black dogs, usually named Blackiefamily6.  I have no idea how many we may have had, but we always had one.  Numerous though they had to have been over the eighteen years I lived at home, they all merged into one in my memory.  One hot summer afternoon, as Grandma tottered back from the clothesline to the back door, the poor dog must have awakened from his nap in the shade only to see a short-legged, top-heavy voluminous load of fluffy, white diapers advancing toward him, lurching from side to side.

Terrified, he leapt up barking and lunged at the terrifying diaper monster, pushing her over backwards, the diapers landing atop her.  Mother had seen the whole thing and rushed out to rescue Grandma from the jaws of the slavering beast.  As soon as the dog heard Mother coming for him, he took off.  We were all sure Grandma was dead.  Mother tore at the pile of diapers only to find Grandma laughing so hard she couldn’t get up.  She had to get her laughing fit over before we could pull her to her feet.  She was totally unhurt, except for the indignity of wet pants.  I can’t speak to the poor dog’s shocked condition.

Baby in a Basket

image

My beautiful three-week-old baby started squeaking into wakefulness as I took warm diapers out of the dryer.  I took her out of her bed, cradling her in the basket of warm cotton diapers as I walked toward the front of the house to feed her.  She got comfortable in the warmth and drifted back off. My three year-old called out just at that moment.  The brilliant sunshine pouring in glass door onto my beautiful baby in the basket was a wonder to behold as I looked back.  I got him out of bed, heading back to her.  She was gone!  I panicked!  It was no surprise someone would want her, just that that had managed to snatch her without my hearing something.  The backdoor and the glass door were still locked.  I called her name and got my little guy to help me look.  Just as I was about to report her kidnapping, the diapers moved and she wailed.  She’d moved just enough to allow a diaper to cover her.  That had to be the biggest relief of my life!

You Poor Baby

vintage babyI had no idea Cousin Carol was four years older than my sister Phyllis till one day when Phyllis was about twelve, Cousin Carol announced she was getting married. It sounded like a joke. Less than two weeks ago she’d spent the night with Phyllis. Sixteen was ridiculously young to get married, but back as late as the nineteen Continue reading

Footloose and Fancyfree (Part 4)

fishing girlInez was good company, but didn’t worry much about germs. It kind of bothered Mother when she wiped the baby’s nose with the dish towel and then put it back in the dish pan. After that Mother told Inez not to bother with the dishes. She knew Inez was tired and needed a nap. Mother didn’t like it much when she let the twins run around without Continue reading

New Babies

We had a family meeting and Daddy said we were going to have to start helping Mother just because she was having a baby.  He tried to make it sound like something great.  I wanted to tell him I didn’t want a baby or chores, but was smart enough to keep my mouth shut.  I had to dust, set the table, and fold towels.    I would be glad when Mother had that Continue reading

Things Mothers Do

aI 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, home-made 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, tend the garden, and when she finished her own pleasant tasks, do whatever extra things Daddy had to help her pass the time, all between taking care of however many of the children might be babies or toddlers. Continue reading