Ask Auntie Linda, Straight Answers from a Straight Shooter

Auntie LindaDear Auntie Linda, I am a twelve-year-old girl.  My mother left me with my grandma when I was born.  I lived with her till she died.  After that, I had to move in with my mother’s older sister.  She has four kids in a small house and they don’t really have enough of anything to go around.  I don’t know how they’d make it without the money they get for taking care of me.  My cousin is seventeen and kind of snotty, but I love the three little boys.  My cousin Jody and I are supposed to be taking care of them when Aunt Cindy works nights at the nursing home but Jody usually disappears into her room or slips off with her boyfriend.  I do like the school and am doing well.  My mother showed up last week and wants me to move in with her.  I’ve always wanted to live with Mama, but am worried because she’s always off here and yonder, usually following a druggie boyfriend.  She says she and Bobby(the boyfriend) are going to get jobs and at a factory a couple of towns over and get a place so I can l live with them.  Bobby creeps me out, but maybe Mama can get a place for just us.  I’d have to change schools and don’t want to do that.  What should I do?  I am kind of scared to leave Aunt Cindy’s even if it is crowded.  Good Girl

Dear Good Girl,  It won’t hurt to stay at Aunt Cindy’s.  It’s safe even if its crowded.  Don’t put too much stock in Jody being snotty.  Sisters say the same thing about each other.  It’s a bad idea to move in your mother’s boyfriend’s house.  Give her a chance to get a job, work a while, and get a place of her own before you even consider it.  Life is very stressful and her situation is unsettled.  What’s the hurry, if you are okay?

Auntie Linda Dear Auntie Linda, I am seventy-four and have four children.  I live next door to my oldest.  The other three live a couple of hours away, so they don’t get over too often.  Louise, the oldest takes care of everything I can’t.  Her husband fixes my roof, changes the oil in my car, and treats me just like a mother.  I have very little money, so that won’t be an issue.  I do worry over how to divide my belongings.  How can I be fair and still express appreciation?  Poor Mama

Dear Poor,  Why not ask the daughter who helps the most if there’s anything she’d like to have before the rest is divided.  Let her pick one special thing.  If it’s something you can part with now, it might be good to let her have it now so you can see her enjoy it.  The others don’t have to know.  How you divide your things is your business.  Auntie Linda

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Banana Pudding Bowl Blasphemy

imageSee this innocuous-looking dish.  It doesn’t look like it could break up a marriage, but you just wait. Bud chose this dish when he and his sisters divided his mother’s belongings shortly after her death.  He brought it home, showed it to me, and told it was what she’d always made banana pudding in.  Not realizing the significance of that statement, I callously baked a chicken in it less than a week later..  He came in, was delighted to see “The Banana Pudding Bowl” sitting on the stove.  He attempted to lift the lid to admire the pudding and burned his fingers.  I never heard such howling and deprecations before or since. I came to understand that bowl was only for banana pudding

Not a Small Matter!

Grandma young adult0007dentures by mail 1gum diseasefamily6Grandma was born in 1896. Very progressive, she employed higher standards of hygiene I do today, possibly because she’d barely survived typhoid in her mid-forties. Like me, washed her hands frequently as she cooked, but she scalded instead of merely rinsing her dishes, and boiled her whites, linens, and towels when doing her laundry with home-made lye soap in a huge cast-iron washpot outdoors until she got a washing machine. Continue reading