Mothers Diary
Conversation (?) with my daughter on a Sunday afternoon:
She breezes downstairs and into the living room, in full regalia – two old print dresses of unequal length, an old hat, and a pair of leather gloves flapping limply from her fingers. She bustles to the bookcase, takes out the Thesaurus and settles herself in the big chair.
"How do you do, Mrs. Jones?" she greets me.
"How do you do?" I answer wearily.
There is an ominous thump overhead and I ask, "What are the boys doing up there?"
"Oh, they're snortysack," she replies.
There is a blank pause. Then she chuckles. "I guess you don't know what snortysack means, do you?"
Hearing the same word twice completely unnerves me but I'm able to murmur, "No – I guess I don't."
"Of course, it isn't English, but of course English isn't always people and people are to us. They don't talk. And so do I."
I am not sure what to say to this, so I retire behind my magazine. Then getting up courage I venture timidly.
"What did you say the boys were doing?"
"Oh," she says airily, "They're throwing all their toys around. That's what – well that word I said. That's what it means. Good-bye."
And off she goes – and I mean off.

This morning, in self defense, my husband bought himself some new socks. So it appears that the time has come for me to do some darning and if I had realized that darning socks and sewing on buttons would be one of the major hazards of my married life, I would still be a maiden schoolteacher.
I have a nice system for keeping track of the sock situation. Darning SocksAfter each washing, when I’m folding socks, I knot the holey pairs together and put them away so if I bother to investigate at any time, I can tell at a glance which socks need darning and which are still usable. When the pile of knotted socks almost completely eclipses the neatly folded ones, it is time for me to get out the darning needle. I usually don’t investigate though, for fear of what I’ll find I suppose, and one fine morning I’ll be confronted by an outraged male with blistering words on his tongue and will know that inexplicably the neatly folded socks have come to an end. I have sense enough to hold my tongue at a time like this. I just busily rummage around and mate him up a pair that has no holes – and that evening finds me agonizing over darns.
Thread Sewing on buttons isn’t quite so bad – but bad enough. It doesn’t take so long, for one thing, if I can find a button. When I’m straightening the bedroom and find a clean shirt wadded in an eloquent ball in a far corner, I know what’s the matter with it and why it’s there. And I recognize it as one that I ironed last week and planned to hide in the back of the closet until I got around to sewing that button on. But I forgot it when I put the shirt away and here it is. After I pick it up, if I had a button and a needle and thread, it wouldn’t take a minute to sew the thing on, but a quick glance informs me that there are still several good shirts hanging up there, so there is no hurry. And why, with all the shirts that he could wear, should he pick on the very one that was minus a button. I can work myself up into quite an indignant state just mulling over that problem.
I am not a bad darner. I can do a good job sewing on buttons too. I just don’t like to. When I have a needle in my hand, all my brain and energy and nervous system are concentrated on its job, I can’t think or talk or listen. I sweat and get cramps and suffer.

I shall never forget, though, the time a friend of mine offered to help me darn socks. That was in my early married life when it took a whole afternoon to take care of one pair, and I remember, while I struggled, of the baffled admiration with which I was dimly aware that she tossed off sock after sock, as she chatted blithely away. When she left, I examined her handiwork and discovered that all the holes had been sewed together with the over and over stitch.

I have very few teeth left in my upper jaw now – and the strategic chewing ones are gone – and I’m hungry. At first, I drank soup and then I tried nibbling with my front teeth and made the roof of my mouth sore, so I glumly went back to soup. And I’m still there. I did hit upon the idea of crumbling in crackers for extra nourishment. That works alright until I start thinking of something else and allow stray pieces in the back of my mouth and automatically start to chew. The cracker darts about like a startled goldfish, ignoring my frantic efforts to retrieve it, and finally lodges in my throat, practically strangling me.
Ice cream, however, is heaven sent, easy going down and satisfying. Wonder if my ice cream money will hold out until I get my teeth?

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Mothers Diary
My upper teeth are all gone now and I'm just sitting around waiting for my new teeth and that "new woman" that I'm supposed to turn into. So far, I don't feel or look any different except for a tucked in appearance under my nose that shocks me anew every time I catch a glimpse of myself in a mirror. And my upper jaw is getting awfully tired of holding up my face.

I had a lovely time Sunday. My husband took the children off my hands for a couple of hours in the morning and again in the afternoon. It is such a novel experience to have all three of them completely away and me in the house, that I still go through the same bewildering routine. I never can decide what to do. DeskIn the resulting quiet, I say to myself, "this would be a wonderful choice to take a nap," and then, "No, then I couldn't fully enjoy being alone. What I'll do is just stretch out and relax." I get stretched out – but I don't relax. I am nagged by the thought that this is just the time to write some letters undisturbed. So I try that, but evidently peace and quiet isn't conducive to composition. My ideas and words are all dried up. "Maybe I'd better get some work done. I'm always saying how much I could get done if the children weren't underfoot. So I gallop to the kitchen and start to clean out the cupboard. By the time I have the spices out on the table, I suddenly decide that this is the ideal time to bake a cake. No little heads between me and my work – no little fingers grabbing for brown sugar or raisins – no licking of the bowl afterward. So I hastily shove things in and out of the cupboard and measure the flour, sugar and shortening. Just as I'm reaching in the icebox for eggs – there is a banging on the door and in come the horde. They are absolutely delighted that I'm baking a cake and "May I stir in the eggs?" and "Can I have some sugar?" and "Can I lick the bowl?" Suddenly I am as limp as a rag, as my husband beams virtuously, "Well, Esmerelda, did you have a good rest?"

Apropos of brown sugar – a short time ago when I got down my precious 3 pound cellophane bag of sugar, I found it hard as a rock – just one solid lump. I was never one to keep my troubles to myself but no one had any ideas about a remedy until Mrs. Trzynka heard me yipping about it in the store. She suggested I leave it open in the icebox for a time. And it worked. It is now as fresh and moist as can be. Just a word to the wise…

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Mothers Diary
Conversation with Bruce on his return from a momentous excursion with his Daddy up town:
  • "Well, did you have a good time, Bruce?"
  • "Yeh," he replies in that lilting indifferent tone that is all his own.
  • "Did you go to the barber shop?"
  • "Yeh."
  • "Were you a good boy?"
  • "Yeh."
  • "Didn't you cry at all?"
  • "Yeh."
  • I decide to abandon discussion of the barbershop. "Did you have an ice cream cone?"
  • "Yeh."
  • Shoes
  • "And what's in the package? My goodness, new shoes."
  • "Yeh."
  • "Well – shall we try them on?"
  • "No."
He is suddenly about his business as the house has been completely straightened up in his absence and he has a lot of damage to do.

Bruce is strange. Practically the most important occasions in the lives of our other two children (and most children) have been the purchase of new shoes. They are seldom so gleeful and tremulous with joy and pride as when they walk out of a store sporting brand new footwear. I'll never forget the time that our daughter at three years discovered she got a better view of her sparkling white shoes if she walked backward and I had to escort her that way a whole block in Waterloo's busiest street before I could get her turned around. She and Steve both used to inform everyone they met of the purchase and solemnly hold up one foot after another for inspection. There's just something about new shoes.
But not to Bruce. He'd rather not wear any in the first place. And old or new, there's simply no thrill connected with them. An ice cream cone, though – there's some sense to that!

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Mothers Diary
Pie I have a friend whose husband is insatiably fond of pie. In order to please him, she has, of late, been baking a lot of pies, until one meal recently, she placed rice pudding in front of him.
"Well," he exclaimed, "Rice pudding! What a relief from that everlasting pie!"
The poor girl was mildly upset, reflecting on that pie she had baked for the next day. When she served it to him, she apologized profusely and promised that it would be the last pie for some time. He had quite a time convincing her that he had really been kidding.

Men and food! You never know! Their likes and dislikes are so peculiar and we do so cater to them. My husband won't eat chocolate in any form (due to excesses in his youth, he tells me) and the first food I ever offered him was a piece of chocolate cake after one of our first dates. How was I to know? – all advertisements kept telling me that men loved chocolate! Anyway, he nobly ate it but didn't waste time after our acquaintance had developed some, in informing me that he did not care for it.
I vividly recall one supper I prepared in the first year of our marriage, a lovely potato salad, broiled wieners, hot biscuits and honey. That wretched man sat there and ate biscuits and honey the entire meal and didn't touch another thing. Then he couldn't understand why I was provoked. For a year and a half I frequently served my favorite salad, a wedge of lettuce with French dressing, and he ate it until one noon he said, "You know I don't really like lettuce." Well, why didn't he say so before?
Cookbook Curiously enough, he says that the most fun he had eating was during that period. B. C. (before children) when I poured over cookbooks and recipes in magazines and concocted new and different foods every day. He'd come home, look at the table and say, "Well, what magazines have you been reading today?" Then he'd pick things apart and demand an itemized statement and everything that had gone into the puddings, etc. so I didn't know until long afterward that he had been enjoying my messes.
Now, of course, I don't get many surprises into my meals – unless it's a surprise to have a meal at all – and I do get into ruts. Proof of this was made clear to me one evening last fall when there was a minor explosion at the table when I served chili – again. So I haven't had chili since.
Men and food – you just never know. Like Dr. Braley in his office one evening toward supper time and getting hungry, when a telephone order from his home requested him to bring home a pound of wieners. "Well," he said, "I wasn't exactly feeling like wieners, but I'll bring them."
But if you ask them what they'd like to have for supper tonight, they'll invariably reply, "Oh, I don't care," or more emphatically, "Oh – food."

It is definitely the most maddening thing that has ever happened to me. It just isn't fair. I haven't had a decent meal for over three weeks on account of no teeth to chew with – and no bedtime snacks of left over meat sandwiches or pieces of cake or pie. And I haven't lost a pound, and my waistline is exactly the same distance around as it was before. Probably mashed potatoes and gravy, chicken noodle soup, and ice cream are pretty fattening after all.

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Mothers Diary
Steve trudged into the house the other day demanding that the basement door be opened.
"I'll get the basket and go after some cobs f0r you."
So he came out of the basement with the basket and went to the door.
"I'll get the cobs now. Then the next time you want to build a fire, the cobs will be there." The light of virtue made his face gleam. "Don't you like me now, Mother?"
"Of course, but I always like you, Steve,"
"Oh, well," He fumbled with the door knob uncertainly, then with a grand gesture, opened it and called back, "Well, I'll get the cobs for you anyway."

When our daughter is sick in bed, she demands constant attention, and Monday, in bed with a sore throat, was no exception. Finally in the middle of the afternoon after three trips to the bathroom with her, and a glass of fresh cold water, and her pill, and a dish custard, and the shades lowered and raised again, and another pillow under her head – all within a half hour, I became a bit exasperated.
"What you need, my dear," I told her, "is a trained nurse to sit at your bedside in constant attendance with nothing to do but wait on you!"
"Well," she replied reasonably. "Why don’t you?"

Conversation with my husband over our Sunday night supper in the living room – deviled eggs being a large part of the menu:
"It's funny about eggs, isn't it?" I say as I am struck by a sudden thought.
"Hum?" He tears his attention from his book to take a bite of sandwich.
"I didn't give you a fork, did I? What are you eating your eggs with?"
"My mouth," he replies.
"Don't be silly!" I say loftily.
"I'm using my spoon."
"What are you going to use for your pudding then?"
"Same spoon. I just pick up the egg and slip it in so I'm not getting it very messy."
I am horrified. "You mean you're eating a whole egg at one bite? How can you?"
"Easy. And besides it's only a half egg."
"Same thing," I reply unreasonably.
"OK. Next time you want a dollar, I'll give you 50 cents. Same thing, I'll say."
Eggs I ignore this and plunge on before he loses himself in his book again. "But it is funny about eggs, isn't it?"
He resigns himself and puts his book down. "How do you mean – funny?"
"Well – you can eat so many more when they're boiled. They seem like more fixed other ways. Suppose I gave you two boiled eggs and two pieces of toast for lunch."
I pause and my husband says – "Well –."
"Well – you'd be insulted. That's no meal. But I give you two poached eggs on toast and you think you've had a nice lunch."
He mutters something. I am suspicious and ask him to repeat, but he refuses.
"Why is it, do you suppose? Why are boiled eggs so different?" I prod him.
He has evidently had enough. He looks at me – then at his book and apparently the book has more charm and appeal. He opens it.
"I don't really care," he says gently, firmly and finally.

Books I struck gold at the library again. I had received a letter from my sister, who is a librarian in Seattle, recommending "Anything Can Happen." And at the library on Saturday, Miss Elliott held up a couple of new books for my approval, and there it was "Anything Can Happen," by George and Helen Waite Papashvily. It is an account of a Russian's first twenty years in America and is guaranteed to get a number of chuckles from the most hardened individual. My only warning is to those who don't care to have delicious bits read aloud to them. If you're that kind- stay away from anyone reading this book. Because the reader will come to the part where a friend is reported to be on the verge of a "nervous broke down," and he will read it out loud to you.
"Nervous broke down?" Vactangi asked, "What means that?"
"It's American sickness," I said. "When your brain ain't interested in you any more."
Or the place where an American stops on the road to tell George he can't possibly put a Nash wheel on a Ford car. George remembers that Americans will bet on anything and ends up with $20, whereupon the stranger drives off with a parting word, "You're wasting your time on automobiles. Try the horses," But George decides he is joking because, "Even I know it is impossible to change horses legs around. If they break one, have to shoot."
Or the time he was aroused from sleep by a friend who demanded that George take over his restaurant for a few days. "A thousand sandwiches before noon," the friend instructed him and left. George ponders his fate. "Was unluckier man than me ever born? If there was, he didn't trouble himself to grow up!"
And the time – but read it yourself and forget your troubles.

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