Monday, November 19, 2018

Chortling Over Childhood Memories


"Memory is a way of holding on to the things you love,
the things you are, the things you never want to lose."

~ Kevin Arnold


A few years ago, I bought a do-it-yourself memoir book. The Book of Me is designed as a fill-in-the-blank and is made from acid free archival paper. Although meant for writing in and keeping for posterity, I didn't want to write in it, I only wanted it as a reference -- to use the prompts to jostle old memories and help me remember forgotten aspects of my younger self. Since my 60th, I've been working away on gathering my memories, going through old journals, photos, scrapbooks, and other memorabilia. This book has proved its worth and has given much opportunity for gentle musing as well as a good deal of mirth in the remembering of long ago incidents.

I now see that this exercise has provided some great fodder for blogging. So, let me tell you what's been floating up as a result of the prompt "Did You Ever...". I offer them as a little light entertainment to start off your week. And, of course, you are welcome to join the fun. Share a memory here, or use the prompt to write your own post.


"We do not remember days;
we remember moments."

~ Cesare Pavese, Poems about Life


photo: pixabay.com

"In some ways, siblings, and especially sisters, are more influential
in your childhood than your parents."

~ Deborah Tannen 


DID YOU EVER...


Make something that flopped? Oh yes. When we were girls, my sister and I looked forward to afternoons when Mom was away for a couple of hours. Not to get into trouble exactly, but that's when we'd whip out the recipe books and try our hand at making candy or fudge. Not having a candy thermometer never deterred us; we assumed we could figure it out by the rate of bubbling going on in the pot. That's what the recipes told us, anyways.

We tried to make sponge toffee once, and I probably don't need to mention that it was a disaster. Not only did we not get the sweet treat we were anticipating, but we wrecked mom's good pot into the bargain. We scraped the burnt concoction into the garbage barrel outside and then gave that pot the best scrubbing it ever had. Putting it back in the cupboard, with fingers crossed, we hoped Mom wouldn't notice the permanent weird stains all over the bottom and sides.

Except mothers have eyes in the back of their heads, right? She told us years later about coming out to burn garbage one day and wondered what that disgusting mess was in the barrel. She recognized a baking disaster when she saw one and chuckled to herself. She never said a word. We certainly ventured no confessions.

* * *

Leave out a key ingredient? Sis and I were going to bake a cake one afternoon. Mom was going to see a neighbour for little while. She said we could bake something for dessert for supper. We opted to make a family favourite, Aunty Julia's Raisin Cake.

We must have been fairly new to baking, because we didn't clue in that flour is a staple ingredient in any baking venture. Maybe we were denser than some kids, but we took all recipes at face value. We creamed the butter and sugar, we added the milk, spices, and raisins. It didn't look the way a batter should look, we mused, peering into the bowl with anxious eyes. We went over the ingredient list again, and yes, we had added everything it said, so, alright then, into the oven it went. Fingers crossed, hoping for a 'miracle' in there.

Thirty minutes later the pan, now out of the oven, was filled with something most uncake-like. A hard sugary mess sprinkled liberally with plump burned raisins. We called Grandma -- she would know what went wrong. She asked me to read off the ingredients.

"You didn't add any flour."

We wailed, "But the recipe didn't say."

That's the day we learned that cakes need flour, whether the handwritten recipe says so or not. That incident is now a part of our family folklore, and we've had many a good laugh over it. Sister thinks we fed the charred mess to the chickens, and Grandma no doubt enjoyed a chuckle when she got off the phone that day. The recipe for this old-fashioned raisin cake is HERE.

photo: pixabay.com

Doodle on the wall? That long bare wall in the hallway right outside our little bedroom looked so inviting. To a small child, it was a huge chalkboard. Empty, and waiting. Until, one day my little self could not resist the temptation to use her pencils and crayons to fill in that lovely blank space. There was such a feeling of freedom. Eventually Mom came along and the wall was scrubbed clean, but I never forgot that moment of expansiveness and space for creative work. It was a high but brief moment of exhilaration.

* * *

Jump on the bed? Oh yes, we were professionals at it. Up and down, challenging each other to see who could jump the highest. We did that only when Mom was outside, doing chores or working in the garden.

But the day of reckoning came. She brought the two of us into our room and asked us to look up at wall. Apparently there were dark patches with fingerprints all over. We couldn't imagine how they got up there, our hands weren't that dirty. With sleeves rolled up, a pail with warm soapy water between us, and a cleaning rag each, we were set to washing the wall as high as we could reach. We both recall feeling quite huffy over the whole exercise -- how could those be our fingerprints up there? We certainly could relate to Tom Sawyer at how long it would take when he saw that fence that needed whitewashing.

* * *

Put something in your ears or nose? Oh yes... we never seemed to learn our lesson. Same Sis and I used to see if bean seeds would fit. Not to mention beads used to make necklaces, oh, and puffed wheat. We would have contests to see how far we could snort them out. The beans and beads worked fine, the puffed wheat not so much as it kind of disintegrated.

Then came the day when my sister got a larger bead stuck in her nostril and it would not be snorted out. We got a little worried -- we'd have to tell Mom and the less she knew about our shenanigans, the better for us. Funny, how children work together to find their own solutions and avoid all adult interventions. We both remember me going for a toothpick to see if poking in there would help. All it did was push the bead farther. Now we were getting scared. Sister remembers eventually it just dropped out with much snorting -- our hearts surely lept with relief. Needless to say that ended our nose snorting contests forever. We think apple spitting contests took its place, a much safer activity. Except Mom used to wonder what made that sticky mess on the floor. We never volunteered any ideas.

photo: pixabay.com

Well, that's quite the list of memories for one little prompt, and believe you me, there's more surfacing. But that's for another day. Time is fleeting and laundry awaits. And hubby thinks lunch should be included.

On that note, I'm wishing you a wonderful week ahead. To all our American friends and neighbours, we wish you a very Happy Thanksgiving. And to those still dealing with fires and other disasters, we wish you loving friends to help you through this time. We remember.

Hugs,
Brenda
xox





29 comments:

  1. I'm chortling too! A great walk down memory lane!

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  2. Hahahahahahahaha, oh the memories that we BOTH have.
    I have to tell you about the time I baked a cake, while babysitting and it was a disaster, too.
    I didn't burn it but I had to get rid of it. So I went outside (it was dark out) and through it down the middle of the street.
    Next day I went back to see if the cake was there. It wasn't! All the little creatures must of had a party.

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    1. That is too funny, Christine. Hurling down the street. LOL

      Thanks for sharing! xox

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  3. OH BOY!! now it all comes out, I don't remember hearing about the beads in the nose!So funny I could just see this procedure in my mind as I read, and laughed so hard at my two precious angels! Love the memories.

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  4. Very amusing! My sister and I had many a cooking adventure...some so awful that even the dog, whom we really counted on to eat the evidence, turned up his nose. Thanks for the happy, funny memories. (I do think that you and your sister were naughtier than my sister and I. ROFL!) Just think of all the ingredients we destroyed. Our poor mothers!

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    1. LOL, the dog was called into helping to eat some disaster or another, but he generally turned up his nose at those. And like you, I have thought of all the ingredients we wrecked! Haha

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  5. All of my cooking disasters occurred in adulthood as my mom did not seek, desire, or allow help in the kitchen! I could tell a story or two . . . like putting my eggs in the freezer. Still haven't lived that one down, these forty years later. :)

    I did, however, write on the wall! During one nap time, I used the metal clasp on my hair barrette to etch about a gazillion balloons onto my pink bedroom wall!

    Loved reading your stories!

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    1. You were very creative with that hair barrette ... all those balloons etched on the wall.

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  6. Ah Brenda - such wonderful memories. Makes me think you and your sister had a lovely growing up time. The bean up the nose reminded me of the time I put a button up mine. Unfortunately it took a trip to the family doctor to extract it. Thanks for reminding me of that particular funny incident. Hope you have a lovely week. Hugs!

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    1. Those darn beans and beads ... Why do kids have to see what fits in all their open areas? It's universal!

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  7. We all have such memories, and the quote about remembering a moment rather than a day is so apt.
    I think back to the days , which of course were always Summer, when my cousin and I made a 'wishing well' in the garden, and invited two complete strangers in to have a look at it. I think we had just got to the bit where we told them that wishes would come true if pennies were thrown in the well.......when my mother came out. The strangers were amused. Mum wasn't!

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    1. Haha, mothers seem to take a dim view of little tricks like that. Yes, I know what you mean when you say that feeling of it always being Summer.

      My sister and I, and our neighbour kids, dressed up one summer afternoon in our parents' old clothes, bridesmaid dresses and suits. I think we'd been playing wedding. We stood on the embankment next to the highway in our 'finery' and waved at all the traffic going past. And we'd indicate to the semi-trucks to blow their big horns, which they did.

      Mom and her friend having coffee indoors started wondering what the kerfuffle was with all the horns blowing. Looking out the window, they saw their kids all dressed up and waving like Royalty at the traffic going by. They had a good laugh, but made us stop. Of course, we had a ball!

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  8. It must be lovely to have a sister you're close to.
    Well, I have had only two baking disasters. Both took place while I was a teen. The first was while babysitting the neighbour's children which I did quite often. I decided to bake them a pudding in the oven. Well, their oven wasn't like our oven at home. Theirs was a gas stove. The older of the two children told me all I had to do was turn the oven on and light a match. Well, I did that and BOOM! The oven blew up in my face. I lost my eye lashes and brows and my face smarted for days afterwards. Needless to say, there was no pudding for the kids that day! I have been scared of gas stoves ever since! Thankfully the children were unharmed.
    The other incident wasn't nearly as catastrophic. I was in Home Ec and had to bake a lemon meringue pie from scratch at home. It turned out perfectly and my mother sent a note to the teacher to let her know I had baked the pie and it had turned out beautifully. At school, the teacher paired us up to bake the pie. Unknown to me, the girl I was paired with didn't bake her pie at home and she was a character! We laughed and giggled through the whole thing and alas, our pie flopped! The teacher looked at me with her eye brows raised as if to say, "I thought you made a pie at home!" I was upset over that because she believed my note from my mother was a fabrication and I felt terrible! Live and learn! I so enjoyed your story, Brenda, and thank you for always sharing from your heart.

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    1. Oh dear, your gas stove episode would have turned me away from gas stoves too. What did the young kids think when their promised dessert blew up? And I felt a wee bit sad that your pie story ended that way. I would have felt awful too. As you say, live and learn. xox

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  9. Your baking shenanigans made me smile, Brenda. My culinary skills leave much to be desired so my cooking and baking result in more flops than successes.

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  10. I'm glad those shenanigans made you smile!

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  11. I've got a big smile on my face, too, as I cast my mind back to think about the shenanigans my sister and I got up too. One year for Christmas we received identical baby buggies for our baby dolls. They were blue and white, with cunning tops to pull over and shade the babies. Come spring, one Sunday afternoon, we were strolling outside with our buggies, having been told by our parents NOT to push them along the street. Alas, since our parents were napping, that's just what we did. We couldn't understand how they found out. It turns out that buggies make a distinctive sound on the pavement versus the grass on the front lawn.

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    1. Those parents, they not only have eyes in the backs of their heads, but ears to hear the slightest creak. Haha

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  12. Fascinating adventures.Your baking story reminded me of the time when my sister and I were making candies for Christmas. We wanted to double the recipe but had each put in double the ingredients, so we had quadrupled the recipe.Needless to say we had an abundance of that particular candy that year.

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    1. Now that was a most fortuitous outcome indeed. Haha

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  13. Very funny and cute memories - my sister got a raisin stuck up her nose and had to go to the emergency room. I love your cooking adventures. I still have some of those.......wishing you a beautiful week. Hugs x Karen

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    1. We were grateful that our experiments never needed going to the doctor. It's too funny how kids are fascinated with sticking things up their noses or fingers in electric shocks, that sort of thing.

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  14. i think i missed something by being an only child...lol!

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    1. Yes, there is something very special about siblings.

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  15. Oh, Brenda I enjoyed this. I now know what I missed being an only child. Although, I have plenty of stories and mom always said, "Why is it that I have an only child, but 13 blue bicycles in our yard?" My favorite of your stories is the Sponge Toffee story. I can just picture the two of you scurrying about trying to get rid of your evidence. Wishing you beautiful days, as we ready ourselves and homes for Christmas.

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    1. Yes, scurry we did, haha. I'm grateful for the gift of siblings ... they are all special and we all enjoy each other.

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  16. A great post! <3
    I am following you and invite you to me
    https://milentry-blog.blogspot.com

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  17. Haha...giggling at your flour cake story! My sister made fudge one year and, thinking it was too thin, added flour to thicken it up on the stove. Yeah...that was not good. ;-)

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    1. Haha... adding flour to fudge might have made brownies, but probably not.

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To My Beautiful Readers,

Some people come into our lives, leave footprints on our hearts, and we are never the same. ~ Franz Peter Schubert

Thank you so much for leaving your 'footprint' here in my comment box. I do appreciate you taking a moment to share your thoughts today.

Brenda xox

PS. I do not always comment here, but I do look forward to coming and visiting you....