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.

 

 

Advertisements

Oilcan Harry and the Washing Machine

imageMother was stuck taking us everywhere she went, even to buy a new washing machine just days before her fourth baby was born. She never asked anyone to keep us since that would have insured she had to return the favor and keep someone else’s monsters in return, probably some of our killer cousins. She was always on guard against that. We followed her into to appliance store. It was maddeningly dull to me and my Brother Billy. We wanted to ride in the dryers and jump on the doors, but she put a stop to that pretty quickly, making us sit on our hands with our backs to each other where Phyllis could watch us. Eventually, she made her choice and went to sign the mortgage papers. I knew all about mortgages! I was an avid fan of Mighty Mouse! He’d saved Sweet Alice countless times when Oilcan Harry was about to do her in all on account of that danged mortgage, and here my own sweet mother was about to sign a mortgage. I set up a protest, as only a righteous eight year old can do!

“Mother, Mother, don’t sign it. We’ll lose the house! Please don’t sign a mortgage!”

She was infuriated, as only an overwrought pregnant woman can be, snarlingly at me hatefully through clenched teeth. “Go over there and sit down. If you say another word, I’ol tear you up right here in this store!”

I do believe she meant it. She got her washer and Oilcan Harry didn’t get the house.

Two Roads Part 4

img_1662Image pulled from Internet
In her loneliness, Neeley was an easy mark.  Aunt Lottie kept her close to home.  Awkward about her imposing height and girth, she wasn’t surprised no one had come courting. In her feed-sack dresses and straight, chopped off hair, she’d never expected to be admired. Boys liked dainty little girls with curly hair and nice clothes.  She felt like a work horse in a field of thoroughbreds.  Saturday night, when she was allowed to attend a Holness Tent Revival with her cousins Louise and Bertha, she was embarrassed when a fellow kept staring at her.  Her cheeks burned, and she looked away whenever they made eye contact, fearing he ‘d ridicule her, given the chance.  Though she did nothing to encourage him, he found his way to her after meeting.

“Howdy, pretty girl.  Can I walk you home?”  He asked.

She answered without thinking.  “No, sir.  Aunt Lottie don’t allow me no callers.  She’d tan my hide if I asked.”

“Now, how’s she gonna know?  It’s a long, dark walk home.  Ain’t you an’ these gals together?  My buddies wants company, too.  Who’s gonna know if we walk all of you gals home together?  You shore ain’t gonna tell off on each other, are you?”  Her cousins Bertha and Louise stood giggling at her side.  Obviously, they were delighted by the offer.  “How ’bout it, girls?”

The three girls held a giggling conference, deciding to give the boys a chance.

Neeley fell hard for Joey, agreeing to meet him the next night, and the next, and the next.  He’d come to help with the harvest at his Uncle George’s farm.  To hear him tell it, Uncle George was doing poorly, not likely to make it for long.  He thought so much of Joe, he was gonna leave the place to him.  Joe was gonna be well-set up.  Him and Neeley could have a good life, if he was sure she loved him.  He couldn’t marry no girl without her loving him.  Neeley sure loved him.

Three months later, the curse had passed her by and Neeley needed a husband.  Joe was long gone.  There was no Uncle George, nor farm.  When she told her cousins, they begged Neeley not to tell of their part in her story.  They’d both escaped her fate.    Lottie would have beaten them half to death if she found out what they’d been up to.

When her condition was obvious, Aunt Lottie took after her with a broom, maybe hoping she’d beat the baby out of her.  When Uncle Jep got home and found Neeley brutalized, he threatened Lottie if he laid another hand on her and set off to see his friend and neighbor, Eddie.  Eddie had a small daughter and needed a wife.

Audio

Hard Time Marrying Part 24

frontier-woman-evelyn-cameron                                            Image of frontier woman in her kitchen pulled from internet.

 

“Are you havin’ more trouble?”

“I’m afraid it might come early.”

“Well, ain’t nothin’ to be done about that.  Just don’t overdo yourself and maybe it will hold.”  Emma reassured her.

“That’s not what I mean.  I think I was carrying this baby when I come here.”  Anya studied her lap.

“Well, Joe knowed you was a widow.  You don’t look too far along.  You been here long enough it might be Joe’s.”

“It ain’t.  Joe ain’t never touched me.  That’s why I ain’t told him about the baby.  It cain’t be his.  I wish I would just lose it!  I don’t want to Joe to put me out over this baby.  Our life is just starting to be good.”  Anya cried softly.

“Anya.  I know you a good woman the way you look after Joe and them young’uns.  Joe is a good man.  You are gonna have to talk to him about this.  Times is real hard out here.  They ain’t a town fer miles.  Good folks don’t just happen by.  You an’ Joe might have a chance.  I ‘spect Joe’s already suspicions ‘bout that baby.  I knowed you was in the family way the minute I seen you.  Rufus saw it, too.  The Lord has done joined you together and you don’t need to be parted, not without trying.  You’re a’thinkin’ Joe ain’t gonna want you with this baby comin’. You’re a figurin’ you gonna lose him anyway.  Joe’s a good man.  Even if it turns out he don’t want you with this baby, you need to talk to him.  He’s showed you kindness all this time.  He ain’t gonna grind you under his foot like a snake even if he don’t want you.  The two of you can figure out somethin’. Joe ain’t never had nobody to care about him before and that means a lot.” 

Even if Emma was wrong, her kindness eased Anya’s fears.

“I just don’t want to put no more on Joe.” She explained.

“Then don’t leave his feelings out of this.  Let’s get them dumplings started.  The menfolk is gonna be hungry.”  Emma was a good woman.

Hard Time Marrying Part 18

Apology  Got my stories out of sequence.  To catch up, please go back and read 17 a just posted.  Then move on to 17 b before you read this.  img_1597Anna flung the door open thinking Joe was coming in with milk and eggs.  A tall, thin woman in homespun holding a basket laughed at her surprise.  “I’m Emma, Rufus’s wife.  I was so proud to hear Joe had a new wife I didn’t wait for no invite.  When Rufus said he was coming over to see if Joe I clumb right up in the wagon.  I brung you some eggs, butter, and molasses for a welcome.  It’s gonna be good to have a woman close by to neighbor with. You got any coffee left?”

Though Anya would have hoped to avoid company, she warmed to Emma’s warmth and pulled out a chair from the table for her.  “Set yourself down.  I think the coffee’s still hot.”  She poured them both a cup and put a couple of biscuits on a plate to go with the butter and molasses.

Emma spread butter on a biscuit, ate it thoughtfully, and smiled.  “You make a mighty fine biscuit.  You gonna be a good wife to Joe.  They ain’t nothin’ like good cookin’ to keep a man happy.  I’m glad of it.  I always been partial to Joe.  He’s been alone too long.”

Sally toddled up to Anya’s knee, demanding her attention.  Anya gave her a sip of milk from a cup while she gathered her thoughts, not wanting to betray herself.  “Biscuits do please a man.  I’m proud you like mine.”

“Your baby looks just like you with that white hair and blue eyes.  Maybe Joe will lucky and the one comin’ will look like him.

Oilcan Harry and the Washing Machine

imageMother was stuck taking us everywhere she went, even to buy a new washing machine just days before her fourth baby was born. She never asked anyone to keep us since that would have insured she had to return the favor and keep someone else’s monsters in return, probably some of our killer cousins. She was always on guard against that. We followed her into to appliance store. It was maddeningly dull to me and my Brother Billy. We wanted to ride in the dryers and jump on the doors, but she put a stop to that pretty quickly, making us sit on our hands with our backs to each other where Phyllis could watch us. Eventually, she made her choice and went to sign the mortgage papers. I knew all about mortgages! I was an avid fan of Mighty Mouse! He’d saved Sweet Alice countless times when Oilcan Harry was about to do her in all on account of that danged mortgage, and here my own sweet mother was about to sign a mortgage. I set up a protest, as only a righteous eight year old can do!

“Mother, Mother, don’t sign it. We’ll lose the house! Please don’t sign a mortgage!”

She was infuriated, as only an overwrought pregnant woman can be, snarlingly at me hatefully through clenched teeth. “Go over there and sit down. If you say another word, I’ol tear you up right here in this store!”

I do believe she meant it. She got her washer and Oilcan Harry didn’t get the house.

Miss Laura Mae’s House. Part 11

image

I got my biscuit and settled on the back step, singing the alphabet song.

Mother launched right into her conversation before Miss Laura Mae got the coffee poured.
“Laura Mae, I just got the strangest letter from Mama. You remember I told you my brother in the army got married not long ago and his wife was expecting.”

“Sure do. How’s she doing?”

“Well, Mama got a letter from John saying Wanda, that’s his wife, had gone back home to stay with her mama till the baby came. He didn’t say anything at the time, thinking she’d be back. I don’t know if she’d left him, or what, but he hadn’t let Mama and Daddy know. Her daddy was high up in the military on a base up in Nebraska. Anyway, the first thing anybody knew was that he’d gotten a letter from Wanda’s daddy saying she’d had twins, a girl and a boy, and that she and the babies had been crossing a railroad track and hit by a train. He said her daddy said they’d all been buried and to never contact him again. He said he just let it be.

Mama and Daddy, of course, were all upset, and Daddy caught the first bus to New Orleans to see about John. When he got there, John said he was fine and insisted Daddy go straight back home. He said he didn’t have any leave coming and didn’t even want Daddy to spend the night. Daddy came on home, like he asked. My sister, Annie came in that weekend. When she found out what happened, she told them something strange she had kept quiet about since it didn’t seem right. She’d gotten a letter from Wanda announcing their marriage. She wrote and told her and John she was coming over for the weekend. Well, when she got there, John met her at the bus station and told her she couldn’t stay. Wanda had gone off somewhere with her mama and daddy and he had to work. Annie couldn’t imagine what was going on. She went back home and reread her letter from Wanda, and thought it looked like it might be John’s handwriting. Mama went back and pulled out a letter she’d had from Wanda and thought it was possible John had written it, too. They don’t know if the whole thing was made up or what. I don’t know what to think. It all sounds too crazy to be true, doesn’t it? Have you ever heard such a thing? Please don’t repeat what I told you. I haven’t told another soul, but I just thought I’d pop if I couldn’t talk to somebody. I sure don’t want Bill to find out. He already thinks my family’s crazy. He’d never let me forget it.”

“Now, Honey, I hate to hear all that, but don’t be worryin”bout me tellin’ yore business. That whole story doesn’t sound right, but I didn’t git to be this old without learnin’ when to keep my mouth shut. Besides, since I’m the only one you tol’you’d know where it come from, wouldn’t you? Has your brother ever done anything odd before?”

“No, he’s always been steady as a rock. He went in the CCC when he was fifteen, then on his off time he took any job he could get, and always helped Mam and Daddy as much as he could. He finished high school in the Army since our little country school only went to tenth grade. I don’t know what to think. I’m just worried to death about him.”

“Well, I know you are, but folks deals with trouble in all kinds of ways. You’ll just have to let him be.”

“You’re sure right about that. I’ve got three little kids and I couldn’t go see about him if my life depended on it. I do feel bad for Mam and Daddy worrying about him.”

“I know you do, but they’ll have to make their own way, just like he will. Things have a way of workin’ out.”

https://nutsrok.wordpress.com/2016/04/28/update-to-miss-laura-maes-house-part-11/

https://nutsrok.wordpress.com/2016/04/29/miss-laura-maes-house-part-12/

Miss Laura Mae’s House. Part 4

Aahouse

Once a month Miss Laura Mae caught a ride to the Piggly Wiggly with Mother so she could cash her check and get more for her money. “That randy ol’goat, Darnell won’t cash my check unless I trade at his store, an’ his ol’weavilly flour is way too high an’ ain’t fitten to eat, no how.” I was tickled when I found out she was going. As Mother and Billy went off to shop, I trailed her through the grocery store where we looked at things Mother never bought. She picked up jars of pickled pig’s feet, sweet pickles, vanilla wafers, tiny, little sausages, and Cheerios, considering them carefully before putting them in her cart. I admired the cute little cans of Del Monte Niblet Corn and Petit Pois Green peas as I turned up my nose at Mother piling her cart high with the ten for a dollar store brand canned goods. I decided then and there I’d only buy the good stuff when I got grown. Miss Laura Mae never failed to slip me and my brother Billy a little paper bag stuffed with B B Bats, Kits, and jawbreakers which we tore into the minute we were settled in the back seat.

Soon Billy was asleep and I was busy with my candy. I think the ladies forgot me as Miss Laura Mae launched into her story.

“That big ol’farmhouse over there reminds me of where we was livin’when Mama died. I was the baby, just turned fifteen. Mama’s diabetes shut her kidneys down an’ she did’n last a week. She just blowed up like a toad frog. Oly was married an’ livin’ way off in Carthage an’ Ory had just married Hugh Pearson. They was a’livin’ with his mama in a shotgun house on the Malley place. Miz Pearson was real hateful to Ory, claimin’ she “trapped” Hugh, even though it was over a year before the baby come. Mia Pearson swore Ory had a miscarriage right after they got married, but I know it was a lie. Ory was a’cryin’ to Mama about starting her monthly the day before she got married, thinkin’ it wouldn’t be decent to hit married like that, but Mama said they was nuthin’ to do but got married since ever’thing was all set. Hugh would just have to wait, so she could’n a been that away when she got married. They ain’t no way Ory could’a took me in.

I went to live with my sister Beulah after Mama died. Beulah was fixin’ to have a baby an’ was havin’ a good bit of female trouble. It seemed like the best thing, at the time. I had been goin’ with Floyd a few months before Mama died. He wanted to got married right off, but I still kind’a had my heart set on Bill Harkins. We’d been goin’ together awhile before, an’ I still thought a lot of him. I was kind’a hopin’ we’d make up. Anyway, about the time Mama died, the doctor put Beulah to bed till the baby come an’she had to have help with them other kids. I thought I caught Beulah’s ol’ man peeking at me through a knothole in the outhouse one day an’ then I was standin’at the stove puttin’on a pot of beans one day
when he sneaked up behind me an’ grabbed a handful of my behind. I popped him with the bean spoon. He claimed he thought I was Beulah, but I knowed it was a lie. Beulah was a’layin’ up in bed a few feet away, big as a house with his youngun. Floyd had been a’wantin’ to hit married anyhow, so I went ahead an’ married. At least I’d have a home.”

To be continued

https://nutsrok.wordpress.com/2016/04/22/miss-laura-maes-house-part-5/

Prignant

 

That was weird.  I heard tiptoeing and a door quietly locking.  I tiptoed to my parent’s room and found their door locked!  Their door was never even shut except around Christmas.  Mother must have gotten scared and locked it.   Assuming the worst, I pounded and screeched, “Mama!  Mama!  Your door’s locked. Help!  I can’t get in!!!” Continue reading