Thursday, August 26, 2004

Not Gone - Just Busy

I am not gone folks. Temporarily diverted in the quest to find my long lost cousins. We are getting close and hope to soon accomplish the goal. Be back soon.

Friday, August 13, 2004

Scared Spitless - Calling All Ghosts

Ghosts and spooks have haunted the imagination of children since the beginning of time, I guess. And we were no different because along about the time adolescence set in, we decided to try our hands at dabbling into the supernatural. Having been gifted with the blessing of an avid curiosity, along with a Mother who encouraged us to investigate that which we didn’t understand, we embarked onto a voyage of discovery into the unknown. And who better to appease our fascination than the neighborhood ghost, Annie Dee Wilkerson Moody Dearman, a lady who died in unexplained circumstances just steps down the road from where we lived. And so it began…

Annie Dee Wilkerson was born January 28, 1928. In 1945, she married a Mr. Moody, a relative or a relative (etc.). They parented two children. Family history says she divorced him after he returned from the war. She married a Virgil Dearman and again, gave birth to two children. For some never disclosed reason, at midnight on October 4, 1967, she was standing in her front yard when some “ambushed” her, shooting her five times. She managed to crawl to the front porch steps before she died. No one was ever indicted or ever even charged with her murder. Her husband, Mr. Dearman, had a nervous breakdown shortly after her death, and claimed that she kept appearing to him after her death. He died shortly after her death. Rumor still runs rampant when her name is mentioned as to her character - Annie Dee was a lady who liked and craved men. And had few scruples about satisfying that craving.

She is said to haunt the place where she died, a small house less than several hundred feet from where we live. Local legend in the small rural community where we live states that on any given rainy day, her blood stains can still be seen on the front doorstep, even though the original step has been replaced numerous times. Blood stains are reported to leech up through paint, no matter how many coats are used. I have seen “SOMETHING” on that step myself, whether from an overactive imagination or something actually being there I can’t decide. Who had assassinated this woman in cold blood in her own front yard? We were determined to discover her murderer and the reasoning behind it. Being inquisitive in nature, a group of us decided to try to have a séance to call her back into our midst, never knowing what we were getting in to. Or the chaos it would cause.

A séance requires two things - a medium, or intermediary, and a group of people with a open mind willing to accept that there might actually be spirits of the deceased living among us with the ability and the will to communicate with us. The only other necessary items are total darkness, a candle or other form of light source and an overactive imagination. Our version of a séance were drawn from late night television viewing, such oldies as Saturday Night Shock Theatre, Alfred Hitchcock Presents and Dark Shadows. Fingers joined, each person thumb to thumb, with pinkie finger touching the same finger of the next person around the candle, the medium simply “goes into a trance”, closing their eyes and meditating and chanting, hopefully opening communication with the spirit of the deceased. If the chain of hands is broken, the link to the spirit world is severed. They supposedly reply by either using the medium’s voice, noises, movement of something in the room or some other strange way. We were ready to begin, but I don’t think we were prepared for what actually happened.

Being kids, we had the imagination in plenty and were willing to take the chance that we could contact the other side. We felt very brave and daring, having no fear as we delved into the great unknown. It was decided that the séance would be held in our neighbor, Karren’s, bedroom. She was the medium, the one chosen to make contact with those who had already passed from this earth. Her room had no windows, and with both the doors shut tight not a sliver of light could enter her room, leaving it a black pit, the perfect ambience for a séance. It was also a plus that her Mom worked during the day, hence no parental interruptions or censure. Our party of courageous souls included myself, my sister Vicki, Karren, of course, and two boys who lived next door, brothers, Rickey Gene and Kenny. These boys, although they were scared spitless, big macho males and real he-men that they were, were not going back down in front of three lowly girls. And, let’s be honest here, us girls had a way of challenging them that left them no room for retreat. They at ‘least’ had to be as brave as we were or they would never hear the end of it!

We were set - we could handle any ghost that deigned to present itself to us. Let the nether world do it’s worst! Gathering in the bedroom, we fell to our knees around a small table placed in the open space of the floor. The candle was lit and the overhead light was shut off. Ebony darkness surrounded us, the candlelight from the taper sending wavering tapestries of movement to dance along the murky, shadowed walls. A picture of Annie Dee, the lady of our quest, was placed near the candle, an encouragement to entice her to leave her place in the from beyond the veil of darkness and give us a sign of her unearthly presence. There we were, kneeling in the small cramped room, elbow to elbow, pinkies and thumbs touching, eyes closed…… breathlessly waiting….

The air in the room was still, almost stagnant, the silence complete and nearly stifling, as we waited apprehensive and anxious. It began, a low chant, a droning hum, slowly rising in volume, sounding eerily like the calls of a wild animal in it’s death throes. Mumbled words, spoken in a monotone, at first garbled beyond recognition, slowly became a chant….” We are here to reach the Realm of the Spirit World“…..“Are there any spirits willing to connect with us?”………. “If you hear us, please give us a sign that you are there”. Our eyes opened and there was Karren, seemingly deep into a trance, appearing under a spell from some unknown source. We watched apprehensively for what was going to transpire next. As we sat there uneasy and vigilant in the gloomy room, the light from the shifting rise and fall of the candle flame caused specter-like forms to drift over the ceiling, grotesque shadowy ghoul-like forms hovering above our heads. The air was expectant, the possibilities in our minds endless with the mayhem that could be caused from the opening of opening Pandora’s Box.

The temperature in the room, although it was summer, seemed to have dropped several degrees. A breeze, which had no source (remember the room was closed off - no windows - doors closed tight) was floating lazily across the room, raising chill bumps on bare arms and legs. Sweat, clammy and cool, most likely brought on by fear, dripped from our brows and into our eyes. Electricity from some mysterious source made the hair on our arms and back of our necks stand on end. The flame of the candle dipped, sputtering and popping loudly, nearly extinguishing itself and thereby leaving the room in total darkness. A glow began to radiate from the picture of Annie Dee, eerily lighting up the face of the slain woman, giving her the appearance of a fiery wraith about to escape the confines of the picture frame. Was she seeking her murderer, possibly seeking revenge for the person responsible? Would she wreak her vengeance on us? Then all Hell broke loose…

Suddenly, there was a scream, a feral screech, high pitched and earsplitting in the small, closed room. Pandemonium erupted and in the melee, the candle was knocked from it’s base and the two boys, those bastions of manly courageousness, rushed to the bedroom door. In their haste to exit the room, fear and cowardice lending their puny arms strength, the door was ripped from it’s frame left to dangle drunkenly from the remaining hinge. The candle, knocked from it’s base, was left to flounder on the bedroom floor, igniting the covers on the bed. Candle wax spattered the floor, leaving a sticky gooey mess. The glass covering the picture was shattered, although whether from being knocked over in the fracas or from her ghost making an appearance was never known. The two boys, terrified, ran up the hall and out the front door, never stopping their wild dash until they reached the safety of their own home across the highway. Us girls were right behind them, until, smelling smoke, returned to the scene of the crime to extinguish the flames searing the bedspread. All that was left for us to do was to try to hide the evidence of our latest fall from grace from Karren’s Mom. There was a flurry of activity as we flipped the bedspread several directions, hoping to conceal the burnt spot. Melted wax, once a candle, and now a hard solid substance on the carpet, was scraped and scrubbed in the effort to remove every trace. Open windows and doors allowed the smell of smoke and singed material to escape. Glass from the broken glass covering the picture was discarded. We might just survive this escapade if we were lucky.

Annie Dee’s murder was never solved, although people from our community have their suspicions as to her assailant to this day. She was buried in a grave in the small town near us, alone, with neither husband placed beside her. Which in itself, seems a punishment to a lady who enjoyed the company of a number of men, to be left lying alone in a cold, dark tomb. Although we had numerous other séances, all with the intent purpose of solving a murder mystery, no new evidence ever came to light. But, in every ceremony we held, some very strange happenings occurred - everything from a towel being set on fire to uncanny noises and smells permeating the air. To this day, I would speculate that Annie Dee is still there, living beyond the veil of darkness, waiting for her death to be avenged.

Tuesday, August 10, 2004

Saving the Souls of Puppies

The imagination of a child is an amazing thing, sometimes baffling parents with their ingenuity and terrifying them with their daring. My family was no different, I would guess, that others growing up on a rural farm in the South. Every one of us pulled our share of stunts over the years and suffered the consequences for our actions. Maybe the problem of misbehavior was made worse because there were five of us, all with two years or less between us, for somehow our parents managed to begat five little girls in the short span of six years. ( I just can’t make a crack here, yall - It was my PARENTS!! Nasty!)) We were famous in our county and made the front page in the little weekly newspaper that was and is published there. We were also blessed with overactive imaginations and creative genius enough to keep us in a world of trouble. That very same trait led us into unimaginable difficulties with both our parents, truly outrageous acts that required both a stern talking to and discipline of some sort, much to our dismay.

Boredom or confinement can do lead children to think up unbelievable and imaginative things to find enjoyment in the normalness of everyday life. My three youngest sisters, who will remain nameless (both to protect their egos and my hide if they ever were to read this) had this thing about playacting. Winter or Summer, they would dress up and act out some obscure scene they had concocted jointly in their heads. These flights of fancy always varied and were too numerous to count. One of their favorites were weddings, where one wore a veil (usually made of some piece of material they had purloined from Mom), the second sister was the groom and the third was the preacher. I can vividly recall the three of them standing on the front porch on a lazy and hot summer afternoon, the “minister” being the older sister, with the two younger being the “bride and groom”, and the words of the wedding rite ringing out loudly through the still air……”We are gathered here to join the two in Holy Macaroni…..”.

Another program consisted of the ritual of baptism, you know what I mean, the custom of dunking the repentant sinner’s head and body underneath water to cleanse away the sin that was marring their soul. Unfortunately their choice of baptismal was the ditch running full of water from a heavy rain, and the weather was barely freezing when they began the near-drowning. Then too, their choice of reprobate caused them no end of trouble, especially when Mom found them in the midst of their misdeed, ankle deep in water.

One of daddy’s old dogs had puppies, fat, fluffy balls of fur, that roamed the yard at will. They would roll and tumble head over heels chasing us girls when we were allowed to venture out in the winter sunshine. On that afternoon, the sky was overcast and we bundled up against the wind and trooped outside for a few hours of entertainment, free to run and romp to our heart’s content. While Vicki and I found our own outlet, the others proceeded with the baptism, unknown to us. Here we were, doing our own thing, and the next thing we hear is yelling and screaming from the front yard, both human and canine. We went running to find out what had happened.

There they were, three little angels, deeply engrossed in their endeavors, calmly submersing the screaming and squirming puppies beneath the icy water, intent on saving their souls and in the process, nearly drowning them and thoroughly drenching their own arms and feet in the cold water. When Mom yelled, they jumped to their feet, innocent looks on each face and proceeded to give the explanation that Mom demanded. Those puppies, so full of life moments earlier, now bore a striking resemblance to a drowned rat, fluffy fur now slicked down to their skinny little bodies and looking more dead than alive. Mom was livid, the girls were terrified. The puppies, well, the puppies were frozen.

Upon reaching the house and the warm blaze of the big gas heater that filled the corner of the living room, Mom began to pull the wet coats and shoes and socks from my now trembling little sisters, all the while berating them for their transgressions and listing the possible results of their actions. After a quick change of clothes, all the while a scolding being rung over their bowed heads, the punishment was doled out. For every dripping, wet and bedraggled puppy, there was a sister sitting as close to the heater as possible, with a towel to hold the dogs until they were dry and warm. It took hours before the animals were able to stop shivering and be put back outside on the porch to return to the relative safety of their Mother’s side. The sisters hated their punishment, being confined to one spot tends to take a toll on any kid. The added burden of trying to hold a ball of squirming fur and energy, all the while having to massage and keep it warm makes it even worse. I think they learned a lesson that day. I can guarantee you I did.

Tuesday, August 03, 2004

Tales of the Outhouse - Drawers Down

Growing up in the rural south, many thought us ‘backwards’ or less sophisticated than others or so I’ve been told. Maybe we were, but the honest truth is that we didn’t realize it at the time. And you seldom miss what you never had. Until I started the first grade, I didn’t realize that an indoor toilet was a prerequisite to a modern life, much less a luxury of which we were being deprived . A select few of my relatives had an indoor toilet, but many, many had the same as we did ------ an outhouse. And never thought twice about it.

A good indication of my age is almost certainly my ability to recall early morning trips to the outhouse, my little bare feet leaving a dark, rambling path through the dew coated grass in the warm summer air. At first light, a quick call to the ‘necessary’ was the single most important mission on the agenda, a job to be handled without delay, as we ambled single file out the back screen door and across the yard. It was called a ‘necessary’ because --- well -- it was necessary. If you pour gallons of liquids into a small pitcher until it is full, you can’t pour any more into it unless it is emptied! Simple logic. Small bladders, full of late night drinks of water, require prompt and frequent draining. And with five young girls in our family, that outhouse was in almost constant use, from early morning rush hour all the way through the more sedate strolls late at night.

Our outhouse was typical, I would say, being built of wide wooden planks, aged and weathered gray in the southern sun. There was a hard dirt floor, packed solid by the passage of feet over a period of who knows how many years. The door was constructed of a tin covered wooden frame, heavy and bulky to open and close. The tin roof, which I have mentioned before, was the place me and my oldest sister chose to spend time “broadening our horizons”, so to speak, with dingy literature and tales of near-lust. It was also an excellent escape from the trials of little sisters. The outhouse was constructed on the side of a big open shed, the back side, of course, to hide it from view of the house. On the other side of the building was a field of weeds, usually as high as our heads, home to numerous critters we didn’t want to identify. On the back was a dog pen, complete with dog, and the accompanying flies and odors they seem to generate without fail. We had the essential toilet seat, stationed over a vast black pit dug deep into the ground. We even had the well known toilet paper, hung by the cylinder at the center of the roll being threaded over a ten penny nail driven solidly into the front inside wall. All together, as I read back over this, not a picture of bucolic bliss. It gets worse…..

The changing of the season brought with it various drawbacks to pastoral country living, each as annoying and troublesome as the other. In the summer, there was the heat and humidity; for no air could stir inside the building, tin door shut tight and there were no windows to ease open, ergo no way of allowing a fresh breeze to enter. The atmosphere was stagnant and stale, abundant with foul odors, indescribably rank and fetid, wafting around you as you attempted to hurry along the call of nature. Of course, there were the obligatory snakes and lizards and creepy crawlies lurking about, ready to pounce on an unsuspecting occupant. The lighting in the building was always dim, the air filled with floating particles of dust and haze. Flies buzzed about your head and all types of bees, riled from the cozy nests they constructed under the eaves or in the corner of the door opening, showed a tendency to dive-bomb you as you sat enthroned, a captive audience so to speak. It was terribly hard to run with your pants down.

When winter reared it’s frigid head in the South, the trip to the privy became entirely more expeditious and required a vastly shorter amount of time than those enjoyed in the lazy days of summer. The mandatory visits were carried out in haste, with little energy spent dawdling along the way, as you hurried from the warmth of a gas fire to take care of business only to arrive running in the back door scant few minutes later with your teeth chattering and shivering from head to foot. Although the odors accompanying the outhouse died down somewhat in the colder months, the blackness of that small enclosed space was absolute with the skies often being overcast and gloomy and little light permeating the cracks in the walls. And those same wooden walls, which blocked the flow of air in the heat of the summer months, were, in the winter, an entirely different story. Icy cold blasts of air, tossed about by the wicked “Goddess of all things Winter“, were flung at bared body parts, sensitive, private parts that seldom saw the light of ANY day, much less were ever exposed to the frosty chill of mid-winter. There can be no worse feeling in the world than a gust of glacially cold wind wrenching the door wide open, allowing the full force to hit you in the face as you say there trapped and unable to move.

I have to be honest here, outhouse usage was not without it’s hazards and dangers though, especially not to my family. We were accident prone, it seemed, no matter our locality or attitude. That tin door, designed to protect your privacy at embarrassing moments, would catch the heel of an unsuspecting little girl on her way out, gouging out a chunk of flesh and leaving a bloody hole in it’s wake. That same door, when caught by the wind on a breezy day, mashed the fingers repeatedly of those same little girls, turning our fingernails numerous shades of blue and purple. The heat of the summer gave rise to all sorts of nasty and disgusting wildlife, floating and writhing in the pit of doom, causing Daddy to attempt to control them by pouring gasoline or kerosene into the hole. And little girls, being adventurous by nature, WOULD experiment with matches……….and cause a flash fire when the arrival of Mama and punishment was eminent ( 3rd sister received 1st & 2nd Degree burns to her upper arms and face for this stunt). There was nothing like target practice at 3 A. M., hovering over an empty Crisco Shortening can in enclosed back porch when, in the dark of the night, nature called at an inopportune time. Little girls, by body type and shape, are handicapped at peeing off a porch ledge. And in the winter, the risk of a broken leg or sprain was always imminent when, in the rush to cover the distance required to heed bodily demands, one sprinted down the back steps, cinder blocks stacked and wobbly and likely coated with ice. We survived, but just barely.

Looking back, I don’t think we were hampered much by the lack of an indoor toilet. We had hot and cold running water in the kitchen, Daddy ensured this by putting in a pump and hot water heater. Baths were accomplished by virtue of a Number 10 washtub placed on the floor in front of the kitchen sink, full of warm water from the taps and complete with all the necessary items to ensure a good and thorough cleaning from head to foot. It wasn’t a problem unless you were low kid on the totem pole, because the fist kid got the clean water and the last, well, it was murky, cooling and less than pristine when it came your turn. We were clean, bathed to within an inch of our very lives, well taken care of and had no knowledge of the amenities and conveniences we were missing. Like I said before, what you never had, you don’t miss. Although I do rather miss the solitude and feeling of daring of those lazy hours spent reading on the roof of the old outhouse. Ah well, we all grow up…

After I finished this story, I asked my sister Vicki to help me come up with an appropriate title while on MSN Messenger. Here is our conversation:
cowcrazy78: I'm done
cowcrazy78: I think
cowcrazy78: I need a name.........
junebuggvw: for the outhouse
cowcrazy78: yeah
junebuggvw: the sweet stink of it
cowcrazy78: lol
junebuggvw: ye old pottie
junebuggvw: flies in the outhouse
junebuggvw: drawers on the ground
cowcrazy78: oh lord
junebuggvw: a bug went where!!
junebuggvw: outdoor duns
junebuggvw: buns
cowcrazy78: what about Are You Privy?
junebuggvw: thatll do
cowcrazy78: The Call of Nature
junebuggvw: hell yeah
cowcrazy78: Naked Buns?
junebuggvw: frozen buns
cowcrazy78: a title, come on sis
junebuggvw: the smell of the past
cowcrazy78: lol
cowcrazy78: oh GOD
cowcrazy78: I love it....
junebuggvw: ty
cowcrazy78: Tales from the Outhouse?
junebuggvw: behind the outhouse door
cowcrazy78: If Toilet Paper Could Talk
junebuggvw: beyond the outhouse door
junebuggvw: shitting in the dark
cowcrazy78: lol
cowcrazy78: daym
cowcrazy78: um
junebuggvw: those were the days
junebuggvw: peeping bugs
junebuggvw: perils of the pottie
cowcrazy78: Life of the Not So Rich and Famous
junebuggvw: perils of the privey
junebuggvw: privey perils
junebuggvw: outdoor what!!!
cowcrazy78: Atmosphere is Everything.....
junebuggvw: drawers down
junebuggvw: bottoms up
junebuggvw: bottoms up
cowcrazy78: It can't smell any better than this
cowcrazy78: dodging the doodie
junebuggvw: whats that smell
cowcrazy78: enuff
junebuggvw: floating turds
junebuggvw: turd turf
junebuggvw: outdoor pissing
junebuggvw: doing it in the rough
junebuggvw: oldtime privey
junebuggvw: hunting for the privey
junebuggvw: private pissing
cowcrazy78: Tales of the Outhouse - Drawers Down
junebuggvw: hell yes
cowcrazy78: ok

Monday, August 02, 2004

Teeth Prints in the Soap - Let's Talk Dirty

(Title courtesy of my sister, Vicki, who, along with myself, likes to occasionally visit the hilarious side of life)

Growing up in the deep south, seldom was a dirty word mentioned in our home by our parents or any other adult who expected to be invited back to visit our humble abode. And even less by us five girls if we knew what was good for us. Ivory soap is mild compared to the some of the stuff my Mama threatened to use to wash our mouths out for a mere utterance of a “DINGY” word, much less something considered “DIRTY“. And most of the words we considered to be passable, were, in Mama’s eyes (or ears), less than desirable for some reason. We walked a fine chalk line from our earliest years until preadolescence, and then the soap hit the fan………..well let’s be honest here, our teeth.

What is it about the years between childhood and young adulthood that make youngsters push the limits set by every parent? Some inborn trait that goads children to challenge authority at any level and damn the consequences. Tell a kid they can’t say a word or phrase, and they will use it in every possible sentence or conversation. They hear a word, new to their limited vocabulary, some deeply profound utterance, likely mumbled under their parents or some other adult’s breath, who is clearly frustrated at the trials life has hurled at them. The next thing you know, there it is….the {BAD} word….screeched out of some unsuspecting youngster’s mouth at another sibling who has royally ticked them off. Now, I ask you, how are these innocent children supposed to realize the word is bad and forbidden to be uttered in any adult’s hearing? Do they have words that are issued with a PG Rating? Words such as those ( you know the ones I mean) should come with a warning label *** Do Not Say Under Penalty of Death if Under 21*** or something similar. How many millions of children have voiced a perfectly normal sounding word, heard out of a well respected adult’s mouth, only to have the punishment of uttering that same word be devastating? My Mama’s Mother’s bad word was Banana Oil, which we didn’t known until years later was her code word, her vulgarity of choice. Life is very unfair when you have no license to make and enforce the rules of vocal etiquette enjoyed by persons of an older generation…

My Mama, to tell you the truth, was a true Southern lady, a gentle and even tempered soul, full of love and understanding for the idiosyncrasies of five girls of varying ages atempting to forgetheir way through life. She didn’t voice many bad words, seldom even raised her tone (unless we were some distance from home and then the horn of the car worked - 3 sharp beeps meant to come home NOW). The occasional “SHOOT FIRE “ or “DADBLAME” or even "DANG" was about the worst she ever allowed past her lips when we were small. Daddy, on the other hard, was less discriminating in his choice of verbal profanities, but even the ones he chose to let fly around us were heard seldom and generally mild. All in all, due probably as much to Daddy working all the time as anything else, Mama was the chief disciplinarian in our home. We got by with a lot around her, (like as not to our being such cute, lovable and adorable kids), we could cajole and plead with the best of them and usually avoid the most severe consequences of the numerous misdeeds we inevitably committed. The one thing she didn’t tolerate was foul language and the resulting punishments were swiftly administered and sometimes harsh.

Being one of the eldest two of the five sisters was both a blessing and a curse in many ways. My oldest sister was both bold as brass and imaginative in her rebellion of the moment (whichever moment it was and she had many - just pick one!), forever butting her head against whatever realm of authority was rearing it’s ugly head in her face at the moment. And unfortunately, her temper matched her stubbornness when it came to asserting her rights of passage into the world of nearly adulthoodism. Living with her was an education for me, I learned very young what could and could not be yelled back at Mama and survive unscathed. In the first place, raising one’s voice in an aggressive manner towards Mama was BAD, much less when the backtalk was peppered with expressive exclamations of dubious fame and even less auspicious origins. It quickly became obvious to me that discretion was the better part of valor in this case, that if I felt the urge to “swear” I’d best do it out of Mama’s range of hearing or pay the price. But why did it seem that Mama had radar ears, able to pick up the vibrations of choice nasty words filtering through my mind, much less to decipher the ones I dared to mumble under my breath? Maybe it was some parental mode of extrasensory perception all adults are issued along with the ordinary certificate of birth.

Over the years, I remember an assortment of punishments for the various profane remarks we were know to spew out of our lily white mouths (OH YEAH!! WE WERE SO GOOD!!!). And as we aged, the words and phrases of choice grew and diversified over the years. We even invented our own, words that were not really true words, but used in the way we used them, were meant to be replacements for the words we dare not articulate in Mama’s presence. But she knew…she always knew, and would chastise us accordingly. I can’t begin to count the times we heard…“Behave, you are a role model for your little sisters! Set a good example.” in our lifetime. So we tried.

Punishments were based on age, somewhat, in our family. The younger ones, who, having heard an older one say a word that was less that proper, after running to inform Mama of our indiscretion, would then go own to make the same mistake, usually with the same aftereffects - ergo - being tattled on. Younger sister received the standard talking to - that “You know better!” or “Don’t let me hear that come out of your mouth again!”, verbal warnings that, with any luck, would keep them on the straight and narrow. Older ones, having passed the point where warnings had must lasting effect, received harsher punishment - a fate worse than death - washing the mouth out with soap. First just threats of this dastardly consequence, and then it was eat soap or lose your teeth!

Sis and I, being older, were more of a size with Mama, although she was slim and we were more … buxom (Yes, even then!). The woman was slender as a reed, strong as an ox when angry and determined to win no matter what. (Maybe that is where I get that trait from…) When threats didn’t work and warnings were ignored, she got down to business. And when I say business, I MEAN business. She would stalk you through the house, bar of soap in hand, her mind set on the chastisement she felt we had forced her to heap upon us. And those were her words, exactly, “If you would have just hushed when I said to……none of this would be necessary. You brought this on yourself”. Locked doors were no hindrance to a determined Mama either, she was the best lock picker in the family, a trait she likely picked up out of necessity when dealing with us. Once we were face to face, it was…”Now open your mouth”. And no self respecting teenager of any renown would dare to comply with that order. What usually ensued was a wrestling match of some duration, arms and legs flying through the air, interested spectators (little sisters) vying for a prime seat to view the spectacle and enjoy the battle of wills. And somehow, and I never did figure out exactly how, Mama always was the victor in these battles. We ate soap. Spitting, sputtering, brushing our teeth until they bled, nothing will remove the taste of soap left in the mouth by a vigilante like our Mama when she was riled.

What was your personal favorite flavor of soap?? Personally I preferred Ivory.