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Tuesday, 17 July 2007

Cinderella - and The Bomb

By Joy Des Jardins of Joy of Six

My mother loved to reminisce on occasion about my brother and me when we were small. I didn’t mind really and it usually left my kids in stitches. One of the stories she would fondly bring up was back when I was a toddler. I was never sure exactly what age I was.

We lived in a strange little home for a while when my dad got out of the Navy. It was dome-shaped with a metal roof, and they had a name for it, but for the life of me I can’t remember it. (If I had to guess, I think they were called quonset huts.) There were several huge areas of them built by the government. They all had rounded roofs, but I remember ours was a little different. My dad built a square porch off the front of ours that became a den/TV room. I loved that little room. These homes all had little fenced-in yards as well.

As my mother loved to tell it, she would put me out in the yard in my stroller to get some sun and fresh air and then go back in the house for awhile. When she’d come back out to get me she'd notice this little black circle around my mouth and I’d be happily crunching away on something. Apparently I took a fancy to some cinder patches in our yard. My mother always had them rolling in the aisles with this one - sound effects and all.

Now as funny as it was when my mother told the story, I’ve had some serious questions over the years that have never been answered. Maybe I never really asked them – that’s possible. Why ruin my mother’s comedy routine and ruin her eager audience’s enjoyment.

However, I can’t figure out how I ate those cinders while sitting in my stroller. Did I crawl out and then back in again? Did she actually sit me out on a little blanket - not a stroller? That’s always been a little fuzzy to me. And I’ve always been under the impression this happened more than once.

Excuse me, wouldn’t one time have been enough? HELLO, MOM - what were you thinking? Was there some nutritional value to eating cinders that I don’t know about? What I DO remember quite vividly, even for one so young, were the shots I had to have in my butt for the digestive tract infection I developed from eating those nutritious cinders which, by the way, led to my fear of doctors and needles as a child. Funny how that happens.

And now I'm reminded of another HORROR of my childhood:

Apparently I was a finicky eater when I was young. Anyone knowing me now, would have trouble believing that. Besides, how finicky could I have been? I ATE CINDERS. But in reality, most of my adult life has been spent, in one way or another, trying to lose unwanted pounds I’ve accumulated over the years.

My mother swore I was a skinny little thing and didn’t eat much when I was small. She said she had a terrible time getting me to eat healthy meals. It was such a concern to her that she came up with her own antidote to the problem. THE BOMB! Yep, I know of no other way to describe it. And in fact, I believe my mom referred to it by that name.

The Bomb, as I can best remember, was some sort of eggnog concoction my mother made EVERY day for my older brother and me to drink at lunchtime. I don’t exactly know why my poor brother was thrown into the mix; I can only assume he wasn’t a good eater either and was in need of mom’s miracle mixture too. I hope that was the reason; otherwise, he would have every reason to hate my guts for the rest of his life if he had to drink it just because I did.

The main thing you need to know, is that I have no idea what other ingredients went into the making of The Bomb. I only know that milk and eggs were involved. I’ve never cared to ask my mother over the years; it’s just a subject I chose not to talk about.

I literally cringe whenever I see the movie Rocky because of that scene in it where he drinks down the raw egg mixture. I have immediate flashbacks of my Bomb days, and I breakout in sweats. That’s exactly how I remember it tasting - like raw eggs slowly sliding down my throat. I could taste every particle of it and it took every ounce of my being to NOT toss my cookies in the process.

EVERY DAY - the torture of it. There was no arguing with my mother. There was no hiding from her – she’d find you. I could be in the middle of a glorious day of playing outside with my friends, but when lunchtime came and my mom called us in, my whole day went downhill from there.

To my amazement, my brother was much better about The Bomb than I was. He actually didn’t seem to mind it most of the time. Maybe he just decided to chug it down so he could get outside again to play with his friends. But I was always left behind until I finished - which was no small feat.

I often wonder if I have my mom to blame for my overweight problem. I’d like to blame someone other than myself all the time. I’m certainly NOT a finicky eater now.

What is it that I really owe you Mom? I will tell you: to this day I WILL NOT eat an egg or anything resembling one. I won’t even eat foods that have pieces of egg in them. No way. My brother loves eggs. (traitor) All of my kids love eggs. I’ve made eggs many times for them for breakfasts or used them in recipes, etc. and have been surprised my family hasn’t found me in a heap on the floor. But somehow when it’s for your kids, you manage anything.

Isn't it funny the crazy baggage you carry with you from childhood throughout your whole life? I'd be willing to bet those little black cinders tasted a good deal better to me than that beastly Bomb; and it certainly makes me wonder. First the cinders, then The Bomb. "What did you have against me Mom? Was I an evil child?"

[EDITORIAL NOTE: The Elder Storytelling Place is running short of new stories again, so if you have something that you've been meaning to send in, now would be a good time.]

Posted by Ronni Bennett at 02:30 AM | Permalink | Email this post


Joy, I know what you mean. My mom bought something called "Wate-On" and made me try it. The liquid was banana-flavored and vile. I refused to drink it, so she bought the chewable tablets, which were like ingesting cardboard. I didn't gain an ounce (after 30 days), so she let me quit.

Three words:

Cod Liver Oil

Joy, you're right about the name of your dome home. It is a Quonset Hut. Tucson had a Quonset Hut Village here for students attending the U of A. I think the students were retired military going to College under the GI Bill. I could be wrong about that.

I had to drink that egg-nog concoction too. The only ingredient I am able to add to your mix was nutmeg. I don't remember hating it the way you do, but I still don't like nutmeg.

My memory of having to drink something good for you joins Ronni Prior's. Cod Liver Oil resulted in a battle royal between my Mom and me.

Meeeeeeeee, too, Darlene -- I used to run and try to hide. I'm a finicky eater to this day -- and some well-meaning soul always is trying to get me to eat stuff that I've hated for decades. Grrrr

As I was reading your story,Joy,I knew I was amused but did not realize that I was laughing out loud!My husband came by and asked"What's so funny?" I answered," I just found out that I wasn't the only one who had to drink the egg nog mixture." At least I was allowed a little cinnamon on top. Your story was a trip down Memory Lane and I really enjoyed it.

Ladies...I can't believe there were other poor unassuming souls who got stuck with "The Bomb." Maybe it was 'the thing' back then. I only know my mom must have been missing some ingredient; although I do vaguely remember some nutmeg...I think. Apparently it wasn't enough. All I remember is EVERY single particle of that raw egg....MISERY!

Thank you Judy, Ronni, Darlene, Kay and Nancy for your comments. Somehow I feel a little better.

My mother made a raw egg, warm milk and honey concoction when I had a cold. Wasn't my favorite either.

The tables have turned in our house. Elegante Mother lives with us, and I am ALWAYS trying to get her to eat. I fix things just for her that my husband will never eat, and she takes two bites and says she is FULL!

Mom, do you suppose it might be the cookies and crackers and chocolate you've been nibbling on all afternoon???

Maybe I could threaten her with THE BOMB! THANKS, Joy!

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