Category Archives: relationships

Looking Back Through the Window

DAILY PROMPT
Window
Write a new post in response to today’s one-word prompt.

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As the emergency alert sirens blasted through the neighborhood on Saturdays at one in the afternoon, I looked through the window. When I was young, I waited for my father to come by and pick me up for his four hours of custody time on those Saturdays. Never 5 hours, 3 hours, and not even 4 hours and one minute. My mother made it clear that he had only four hours a week and only between the hours specified by the court system after the divorce.

So I waited by the small, rectangular window looking out the front door for his car. He would be there on the dot at 1 p.m. just as the testing of the emergency sirens started to sound. Or he would not. Then the phone would ring as my mother answered and he told her he was not coming that week. That happened quite a few times.

One time I was surprised to hear my mother and grandmother, who were usually hateful toward my father, express sympathy toward me when he failed to show up. I was left looking out the window for nothing and they felt kind of sorry for me missing out on the time with my father. Sympathy and nurturing were never their strong suit, so I still remember their kind words.

My father found a girlfriend and liked to spend time with her rather than me. I guess I understood. Later when I had a child of my own, he said that taking care of a child was a lot of work. I can’t imagine how he would know. He spent such a small part of his life with me. When I got to be an older teenager, he didn’t come around for over five years.

I try to forget the past, but too often memories flood through my head. Even today, the sirens still sound their alarm on Saturdays warning us of potential disasters.

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I Blame My Mother for How I Feel About the Jews

The 78 record was spinning Glenn Miller’s “In the Mood” on the record player. My friend and I just discovered this stash of 78’s in my basement and they were hilarious to us. We made fun of this old music not realizing the connection swing music had to our favorite music, rock and roll.

So “In the Mood” was playing and my mother came in and for some unknown reason started listing great historical and modern problems. She went thought a long list and finally she said, “Do you know who is behind all these problems?” Slight dramatic pause and then she said, “The Jews.”

Glenn Miller just started his loud horn work after a long period of hushed music as she said this. My friend and I laughed our heads off. The music was too funny, and my mother’s comment was so beyond absurd.

How could one group of people be the cause of all the bad stuff that ever happened on earth? Historically, the Jewish people were chased out of every country in the world, and if they were allowed to stay, they were treated like crap. The crap is never ending.

I learned young not to trust my mother’s ideas. She had some crazy ones. So my knee-jerk reaction was to swing (thanks Glenn) to the opposite viewpoint. I’ve been doing this all my life.

I am amazed and horrified by the anti-semetic protests happening in the world right now. Ethnic cleansing is abhorrent to most people, but exceptions are always made in the case of the Jews.

Being Christian is a rough road to travel in large parts of the world too. Killing Christians is also a justifiable act. All you secularists out there, don’t think that you are immune, you just might be on that list too. Where is this thing called civilized society? The dark ages are still with us.

My mother is dead, but the list is alive and well.

Sixteen and Counting

Write a post inspired by your sixteenth birthday.

I was sixteen and neither sweet nor kissed. It had been a few years now that no one wanted to be around my mother and me. Mostly it was my mother, I was just collateral. She alienated everyone in our family by now. She made her best girlfriends turn away from her. My father stopped coming by to see me. He could have met me somewhere, I wouldn’t have told. Besides my mother didn’t care what I did and where I did it. But he didn’t come or call.

One of the most enjoyable evenings I spent when I was sixteen I spent in gluing together colored strips of contact paper into a huge chain. Each link represented one day until I turned 18 and could be free from her. I draped it all around the furniture of my room. She didn’t know or care about this odd bit of decorating. Removing one link gave me some comfort.

One time she told someone over the telephone that she could kill me if she wanted since she gave birth to me. I angrily confronted her later on. She said it was none of my business.

I survived to marry a great guy, have a great child, and write this blog. My biggest regret lies in my lack of a worthwhile career. Three out of four ain’t bad.

Disparate Housewives

After my mother died, I rescued her 9 by 7 inch three-ring binder cookbook from her home. Flipping through the pages sent me traveling back in time. I remember the food cooked from the old handwritten pages. Also the recipes she clipped from newspapers and food labels. One of her few pleasures in life was cooking; by rescuing this book I have a positive connection to her.

I also found some odd little household hint clippings in one envelope in the binder. These clippings are brittle and yellow with age.

Household Hints from the Past

This one I certainly wouldn’t share with any of my guests:
If your’re not completely certain about the freshness of cream, beat in a pinch of baking soda. The cream won’t curdle, even when you add it to hot coffee.

Maybe this one was penned by a lawyer and a precursor to the overly obvious warning labels on products today:
Always oil your sewing machine according to the directions in the booklet that came with it and not as you think it should be done.

Due to my lack of artistic ability and fear of injury, probably not this one:
If you’re at all creative you can fashion your own cookie cutters, thereby having designs meaningful to your family. Remove the serrated metal strip from wax paper cartons and bend it into the shape of your choice.

wax paper

wax paper (Photo credit: eraine)

Does anyone own and polish silverware anymore? If you do, here’s a tip:
Once you have the silver polished for the holidays, help it stay bright by placing a stick of white chalk in your silverware chest. It will help retard tarnish.

Now for some uninspiring beauty advice:
Here’s a great exercise to reduce your waist measurement. Place your hands on your shoulders. Bend your knees slightly. Keeping your hips facing forward, twist your upper torso as far as you can to the right and then to the left. Repeat until tired or bored.

This doesn’t sound too easy nor effective:
Use your long-handled sponge floor mop to clean the kitchen ceiling easily and effectively.

Hey this idea may be useful or at least fun to watch:
Q: How can I determine if baking powder is still active?
A: Mix 1 teaspoon baking powder with 1/2 cup water. If mixture bubbles enthusiastically, it’s still good.

Reaction

Reaction (Photo credit: Hoppo Bumpo (Liesl))

I don’t know how well these vintage household hints translate to the year 2012. Maybe I also rescued a bit of my mother’s sense of humor as well.

Blood and Toys

Three years old on the kitchen floor

Pulling a toy at top speed

Snapping plastic pieces in the air

Clacking colorful shapes together

Too mesmerized by play.

Going somewhere.

The angry red jacket

One arm in, drop toy

Soon ready to go.

Zip zipper onto neck flesh

Angered by this business of childhood

A bandage to cover the pain

Out the door.

Telephone Nightmares

I remember our old rotary phone. This phone was a rectangle box firmly attached to the kitchen wall. It was butterscotch yellow and the only phone in the house. Our next door neighbor shared a party line with us, making any private conversations awkward if not impossible.

vintagerotaryphone.com

A relative of mine lived on a farm and had four party lines. Not only could all her party lines listen to each other, everyone’s phone rang at once alerting one and all that someone was getting a call. She knew the call was for her if the phone rang with three quick rings in row, that was her signal. At least our phone rang only at our house.

When I was young, I heard my mother get out of bed at night and go to the kitchen and start dialing on this phone. Now the sound of a rotary phone is unmistakable and loud. Some kind of gears inside that machine would churn and churn in order to move around the dial for each number. So I could hear her dialing and hanging up. Over and over again. Later on I found out she was calling and hanging up on her sister and my father (her ex).

When I confronted her about this midnight habit of hers, she denied it. I insisted that I knew what she was doing and to whom, but she didn’t care. She told me to butt out since it was her business, this business of aggravating other people.

So I wanted to ignore the phone call she made to my school when she called them to send me home immediately. I refused. All the other kids were shocked that some kid wanted to stay in school when they had the option to leave in the middle of the day. But a parent trumped the teacher, so home I went.

But I knew what was in store for me. Dialing that phone. She repeatedly forced me to call my father at home or work and beg him to come back to me and her. My mother was the one that asked for and got the divorce. Now it was crazy town and somehow I was to get back the husband that she dumped over a decade ago. My father wanted nothing more to do with her. So I would dial him up, ask him to come back to us (with absolutely no sincerity) and hang up after he refused.

She was disgusted with me. I was her ace up her sleeve but ended up being of no use to her. One time she pulled the parakeet out of the cage and threatened to kill it if I didn’t make that call for her. I was horrified at first and screamed. Then I just gave up. I told her to kill the bird, kill me, I didn’t care anymore. She put the bird back in the cage and I had a bit of a reprieve.

Until the next time the phone would toll for me.