Boy, Howdy!

22 Sep

raising kidsThis  meme was posted over on, and boy! does it hit home. My mum made no secret of the fact that she raised my sister and me exactly the way she had been raised. She grew up in Baltimore City, while we grew up in the rural suburbs.

She simply refused to help us attend after-school functions. “I found a way home; you can find a way home.” Well, gosh, Mum, all you had to do was hop on a bus or a streetcar.  Lynn and I walked. Miles. It is slightly over four miles from my high school to home, and slightly less than five miles from Lynn’s school.  Neither of us were afraid of a little exercise, but there would be days when we arrived home shortly before our dad, and it was getting dark.  We took confirmation lessons for two years (Lutherans are nothing if not thorough!) and rode the bus to Kingsville, but walked the last two miles to the church.

I do have to admit our three girls generally walked to the swimming pool from here, but they were not walking alone, is was daylight, and both The Squire and I were at work, so couldn’t drive take there. It is also only one and a half miles.

No makeup until we graduated, and we didn’t get our drivers licenses until we were eighteen, because she didn’t get hers until then. If we wanted to attend gatherings beyond walking distance, we had to hitch a ride with older, accommodating friends.

Don’t put too much water in the bathtub. Don’t ever put anything into your mouth except a spoon, a fork, or a toothbrush. Straws were strictly verboten, and dental floss – tooth twine, she called it – made her gag just to watch me use it. It mysteriously disappeared not too long after the dentist gave me some.

And of course, there was the bed making routine. Every week we had to do something to the mattress – flip, turn, or spin. Even when Mum was in a retirement center I had to spin, flip and turn her mattress every week when I came over to do her laundry. Modern mattresses are not made to be turned, so she kept a stack of blankets and quilts to pile on the exposed bottom, but it still must have felt as if she was sleeping on a railroad track.

Actually making the bed involved removing both sheets, setting the bottom sheet aside, turning the top sheet head-to-toe, and putting it on the bottom, then taking the original bottom sheet and putting it on top. Every. Blessed. Day.  I often  got scolded for a particularly messy job, but I never told Mum that Lynn kept her bed neatly made by sleeping on the floor, rolled in her quilt like a burrito. Truly, she would spread the quilt beside her bed, place the pillow close to the edge, and then flop herself down and roll along until her head was on the pillow.

It’s really a wonder I’m not battier than I am.


5 Responses to “Boy, Howdy!”

  1. Alien Resort September 22, 2019 at 10:04 pm #

    Lucky she didn’t have to walk to school through ten feet of snow.

    • thisendoftheswamp September 26, 2019 at 11:05 pm #

      Lawsy! That would have been all we’d have needed. I did forget to mention her “never mind” attitude toward doctors. That will come later.

  2. tiggerlyss September 23, 2019 at 12:59 pm #

    The bed routine brought back bad thoughts of growing up. My aunt was very specific about making the bed. If you did not make the bed to her satisfaction, she would rip it apart and you would have to start over. I hate making beds to this day.

    • thisendoftheswamp September 23, 2019 at 4:48 pm #

      So do I, although it is nice to get into a well made bed after a long day. I flip back the covers to let the bed air, and then “zip it up” after breakfast. Pull up the top sheet and quilt, plop the pillows in place, and call it done.

  3. Garfield Hug September 24, 2019 at 11:20 am #


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