Monday, January 29, 2018


Who would have thought a paper napkin could spread little bitty pieces all over everything that way? When I opened the washer and pulled out the clothes, I surveyed the mess with dismay. Did the napkin start out in a pocket? or accidentally get mixed up with the cloth napkins? I hung stockings and wash cloths and pajamas on the drying rack and hoped the pieces could be brushed off later.

All of those miniature flecks of soggy paper remind me of little snippets of memories that come to my mind. One thought leads to another and before I know it that ties in with something else and reminds me of something completely unrelated but in the end it all comes together as a blog post.

I thought about childhood days when we didn't use paper napkins at the table. Mom brought one clean, wet washcloth to the supper table. We wiped our sticky fingers on that, sharing it around the table.

If that sounds awful to you go back a few more years when buckets of cold water sat on kitchen
counters with dippers in them. Family members drank from those dippers when they were thirsty.
Why didn't they fill a cup and drink out of that?  a. That would involve  hauling water to wash so many dirty cups. b. They didn't have plastic cups. c. I need to ask Mom if they had metal cups in the cupboard for Sunday. . . or glass glasses for Sunday.  Mom tells me how delighted they were to eventually save enough plastic milk replacer measuring cups and use them at the table as drinking cups.

Mom was born at the end of the 30's, just before WWII started. That time frame must have shaped her habits and influenced her childhood and growing up years. Then in turn my thought processes were influenced as well by her stories of long ago days.

The other day the lettuce in my salad was slightly limp. I picked through the colorful leaves, noticing the different shapes of the greens and enjoying the red lettuce. I pushed the deep dark greens to the edge of the plate and left them. They looked a little bit beyond edible. Then I remembered Anne Frank and her family. They had little variety in their food when they were hiding during WWII.

Anne says, "We had nothing but endive for a long time, day in, day out, endive with sand, endive without sand, stew with endive, boiled or en casserole . . . " Later she writes, "Vegetables are still very difficult to obtain: we had rotten boiled lettuce this afternoon. Ordinary lettuce, spinach, and boiled lettuce, there's nothing else. With these we eat rotten potatoes, so it's a delicious combination!"

Every so often when our children were younger I would bring Anne Frank: Diary of a Young Girl  to the table and read her descriptions of food they had to eat. Just to let my children know the food in front of them was not nearly as bad as it could be.

Now I wonder if my family remembers this *eccentric* behavior of their mother which in turn reminds me of The Pathway Readers we had in school along with the vocabulary books that went with them. It was in those vocabulary books where I learned to spell eccentric, what it means, how to pronounce it and how to use it in a sentence.

I also learned *hypochondriac* and found out in seventh or eighth grade I did not want to grow up and be - a person abnormally anxious about my health.

All of this is background chatter to bring you with me (in my memory) to my school in Williams MN.
-  to be continued