Mothers Diary
Being a teen-ager in today's world is like "being a car going the wrong was on a one way street" says a teen-ager.
Being a parent of a teen-ager is like "trying to herd an elephant into a telephone booth" says an adult.
Being an American in today's world is like "being thrown into an electric mixer" says a teen-ager.
It's like "being a wobbly question mark squeezed between two black exclamation points" says and adult.

The above are "metaphors of life" as compiled at the Iowa Pilgrim Fellowship conference for teen-agers at Indianola a couple weeks ago.
Pam Willett and Eileen Thomas were there, and Pam brought back a mimeographed copy of these metaphors that had been written by teen-agers and interviewed adults, as they studied themselves and their feelings about life.

I found them fascinating and graphic – especially for those of us who can't always express just how we feel. There are no names attached to any of them, so I can't give credit, but they are representative of how we all feel at times.
For instance:
  • As seen by a teen-ager, being an American in today’s world is like -
    • Walking over tacks blindfolded.
    • Trying to keep your head up in deep water.
    • Being a fly stuck in an ice cube.
    • Being a June bug in a barrel of oats.
  • As seen by an adult, being an American in today’s world is like -
    • Sitting at a table with more on my plate than anyone else has.
    • Sitting on a live volcano
    • Swatting malaria mosquitoes with a wet cardboard.
    • The teen-agers say that being a teen-ager in today’s world is like -
    • Coming to a fork in the road and deciding which path to take.
    • Being in the eye of a hurricane
    • Trying to climb a rope ladder
An adult said that being a parent of a teen-ager was like "wrestling with the wind" or "holding a lighted firecracker."
But adults also realized that it's not so easy being a teen-ager either. One said it was like "being pushed through a revolving door," and another said teen-agers were "voices wanted to be heard."

The metaphor writers even went to work on high school teachers and any high school teacher can appreciate these.

Even teen-agers seem to know what it is like being a teacher.
  • Like being a lion tamer without a whip.
  • Like being an inexperienced bull fighter.
  • Like trying to kill a herd of elephants with a BB gun.
  • Like trying to hold water in your hand.

As seen by adults, being a high school teacher is like -
  • Pounding a railroad spike with a 4 oz. hammer.
  • Trying to keep the lid on a keg of dynamite.
  • A voice crying in the wilderness.
  • Trying to model clay that is somewhat hardened.
  • And one lovable soul said it was like "putting the frosting on a real good cake."

Her sister said of Martha Howrey after her death, "She truly walked with God in spirit – her faith in her redeemer was her ever present help."
This is a wonderful thing to be able to say about one who had not walked physically for 24 years. Mrs. Howrey may have been imprisoned in a wheel chair within a crippled painful body, but her beautiful spirit soared free and joyful throught all her days.
Those who visited her to cheer her up – were always cheered themselves.
Those of us who can walk about on our own two feet, who can dial a telephone without thinking, and who can lie down at night with bodies straight and free from pain, can learn a lesson from her life and be sustained by her memory.

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Mothers Diary
I am gradually doing my spring housecleaning, and it is no novelty for me to be doing it in July and August – if I do it at all. I'm just lucky to be getting some of it done.
At the rate I’m going – by September, I will have all the winter clothes put away, the closets cleaned, the basement cleaned, and I'll be ready for summer.

I did something Friday afternoon that I have never done before. I helped pack used clothing to send to the Christian Service Center for distribution to those in need. It may seem strange – that this was my first experience in a venture of this kind. But somehow or other, I never had.
And I tell you, it was really exciting. Edna, Ellen, Reka and I stuffed eleven big bags full of warm coats and sturdy shoes, and men's good suits, and dresses for little girls and jeans for little boys, and an occasional frilly dress and giddy pair of shoes – all given with glad hearts by so many concerned people.
We thought of the people to whom they would go – a little girl, maybe, who was barefooted in the cold; a young woman with only a ragged house dress to go to college in; a mother walking to work shivering in a shabby jacket.
And how we wished we could be there when some little boy received the warm jacket and some little girl saw the beautiful corduroy bathrobe.
"She'll think it's so pretty and warm, she'll wear it all day," said Edna.
Then she folded up a practically new suit and said thoughtfully, "What do these clothes say about us? – that we have so much that we can give away so many good things, that we no longer can use?"

It made us all thoughtful for a moment. We often complain and we have so much – so much more than we really need.
"However," I said, trying to cheer myself up, "this slip now – it's better then the one I have on."
"Watch her," said somebody, "She'll be slipping away with some of this stuff."

When I packed Becky's cherished red dress, I put a little prayer in with it for a little girl who will one day wear if. Becky liked that dress and hated to part with it even if it was too small. But she had commissioned it to the church for packing with reasonable cheerfulness.
"It's all right," she said, "I can't wear it anyway."

And I was again reminded of the little girl who had, at her mother's insistence, put her old toys in a box to be sent to poor children at Christmas.
"God must like me," she said, proudly, "for giving away all these toys I don't want anymore."

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Mothers Diary
"Now I've heard everything," said Lorraine. This was in response to my statement that my husband had bought the dress they had complimented me on.
"My husband buys all my clothes," I told them, serenely.
"Don't you ever go uptown and buy yourself a dress?" asked someone in obvious disbelief.
"Nope," I said, "I hate to shop."

Well – I can remember two or three times that I set out to buy myself a dress. Once several years ago l looked through racks and racks of dresses and couldn't find anything and finally Geraldine said, "Oh, why don't you just run along, and send your husband in."
And that is just what I did.
Another time, I bought a dress all by myself and the whole family turned thumbs down, so I took it back.

So anyone can see why I don't purchase my own clothes. I don't even ask for them. My husband just brings them home periodically and I put them on and wear them.
Sometimes, of course, I don't wear them for weeks because they need hemming, for sewing is something that takes time and thought where I am concerned.

Right now I am the market for a housecoat and I am waiting for one to be brought home any day. I haven't said anything, but my husband is getting pretty sick of looking at the one I have, and he knows there is only one way to change the scenery around our house.

Becky was a happy little girl Sunday. She fairly skimmed over the sidewalk as we walked from church because Cynthia was expected home. Cynthia had been away for a long time and Becky had missed her.
"I wonder what we'll do when we see each other again?" she speculated. "Just fly into each others arms probably."
"We did that once before," she confided. "Once after we had a fight – you know that big one – and the next day, when we saw each other and made up, then we just hugged each other."

Cynthia's absence was a little difficult for her little brother, Scotty, to take, too, especially as he didn't understand too much about it. Becky sort of substituted for Cynthia, but he still looked beyond and around her for Cynthia whenever he saw her.

When Dr. Faust spoke in church Sunday, he threw out a challenge of sorts. "What are you doing?" he asked. "Church work – or the work of the church – it's mission?"
Well – I scrunched down in the pew a little, because part of the time I'm not sure just which I'm doing. And there is a very nice distinction there. It bears thinking about.

Last week, I didn't know just what I was doing or who I was, I was so busy being a newspaper woman, a church woman, and a club woman that I had no time to be a housewife or mother.
So the spring housecleaning was suspended for the time being. It will be September before I'm through.

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Mothers Diary
It was Lloyd's Kiwanis night so I decided to give the children a treat - and myself a rest. I lugged home half of a huge watermelon after work - the first I’d bought this summer.
Becky met me at the door and her eyes lighted up with incredulous joy.
"A watermelon!!"
And then -
"When are you going to buy a whole one?"
"Be thankful for small favors," I told her tartly.

I had a bright idea.
I divided the half watermelon into exactly four pieces and presented Martha and Becky with their shares.
"There you are," I told them. "Eat it all now or eat some now and save some for later. It's yours."
This, I decided, was going to save a lot of wear and tear through the evening. No one was going to be able to come wailing to me that some culprit had had more than his fair share of watermelon.

When our family has watermelon - at least the season's first - they need no other nourishment for supper.
So I went back to the living room and poured myself a cup of coffee and picked up the evening paper. A long, luxurious evening was before me, and it wasn't even 6 o'clock yet - a perfect ending to a long warm work day.

Then Bruce came down stairs.
"You want a sandwich besides your watermelon?" I asked him, to be polite.
"A sandwich and no watermelon," he replied to my dismay, "not now, anyway."
Becky gave a shriek of delight.
"He doesn't want his watermelon. We get more watermelon, Martha."
Bruce gazed at her coldly. "I said not now," he told her.

"It will have to be ham," I said as I got the ham out from the refrigerator, bread from the bread box and started spreading butter.
It was Bruce's turn to look dismayed.
"You've had ham just since last night," I said defensively. "This is just the third meal of it."
"But every time a sandwich," he said gloomily.
I should have offered him peanut butter. He had reported that most of his meals with practically no money in North Dakota had been peanut butter sandwiches.

"You can make me a sandwich, too," said Martha cheerfully.
"And me, too," ordered Becky lifting a face blissfully decorated with pink juice.
"Well," I said. Dutifully, I got out more bread and viciously sliced more ham.
That watermelon was turning away from the counter when Dale charged in nostrils quivering, followed by Tom.
"Do I smell watermelon?" he bellowed, and we presented him with his quarter to share with Tom. After a great deal of confusion and jockeying for chairs and space, Dale and Tom were settled at the table with their watermelon.
"You wouldn't want a sandwich?" I asked hopefully, peering around the corner at my cooling cup of coffee.
"Oh, sure," said Dale.

I got out more bread and sliced more ham, and placed a pile of sandwiches before them. Dale looked at them with some disfavor.
"Can't you make anything but ham?"
"Sure," I said, "but ham is the easiest kind to make."
"They aren't the easiest kind to go down," he said sadly. Dale is addicted to peanut butter and jelly. But he is not so addicted that he will make his own, so he ate ham.
And Tom preferred ham, so he was happy.

Well, pretty soon there was nothing left in the kitchen except a pile of watermelon rinds, seeds floating in pink juice, a few crusts of bread, and empty milk glasses.
At long last - at seven o'clock - I sat down again to read the paper. It does not really pay to try to make it easy for yourself at supper time.
Can you really smell watermelon?

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