Monthly Archives: June 2014

Sunday June 1, 2014

Lynn’s Notes:

My mother had a day of the week for laundry. Rain or shine, she washed on Wednesday, and there was an order to the way she hung the clothes on the line. Sheets, towels, and good clothing was hung first — so it could be seen and appreciated by the neighbours. Underwear and things not meant for public scrutiny were hung closer to the house. These things were easily reached by standing on the rungs of our porch railing, and often fell prey to my brother — whose pranks with Mom’s unmentionables were legendary.

After our neighbour’s big dog, Teddy, died, their daughter, Tootie (our babysitter), bought a small fuzzy pup, which she called “Noby” — short for “Nobody.” Noby was a sweet, easygoing little pooch who put up with just about anything the local kids would do to her. One day, Alan decided to dress her up in Mom’s underwear. Noby dutifully stood still while bra and panties were administered. Al expected a wild struggle for freedom, but Noby stood still. Frustrated by the lack of action, Al lifted Noby up and placed her inside a sheet, which had been doubled so it could hang on the lower line. Noby went crazy. She squirmed and howled, and we worried that she’d tear the sheet open. Tootie soon came to her rescue. She pulled Noby out of the sheet, cuffed my brother on the side of his head, threw the bra and panties on the lawn, and went home.

I picked up the underwear and put it back on the line. The sheet was left to dry. Later, when Mom pulled in the laundry, I watched as she folded it. When she got to the underwear, she frowned, wondered why it looked unwashed, but kept on folding. Then she reached for the sheet. There in the middle was a mess of dirt and dog hair. Mom looked at me and said, “Where’s your brother?” Alan, of course, was gone. I was close at hand and received the brunt of her wrath. After a thorough tongue-lashing, I was sent to my room — Al had to wait. Nothing was said when he came home, and I was furious. I thought I had taken the blame for everything! Later that evening it was clear that justice prevailed. When Al pulled the blankets back on his bed, there was the dirty sheet. Grossed out and grumbling, he slept on it for a week!

Wednesday June 4, 2014

Lynn’s Notes:

I loved the words my kids created while they were learning to speak. “Fmuffmee” was “Excuse me,” “blaffoon” was “bathroom,” “ice cream” was “eye-green,” and so on. I wanted them to have a good vocabulary and learn the language well, but long after they grew up and spoke with clarity, I was still (to their considerable eye-rolling)… saying “fmuffmee” and “blaffoon.”

Saturday June 7, 2014

Lynn’s Notes:

My two and a half year old granddaughter views the potty as a torture device. Just the suggestion that she give it a try can bring on a fit. Thanks to friends’ recycled mini-biffs, and cool scores at the second hand shop, we have been able to offer her a variety of receptacles: pretty colours with transparent glitter-filled seats, ones that play musical ditties, and others which display the grinning gums of familiar animated characters all thrilled to have done the job where it’s supposed to be done — but no deal.

We have determined, since she no longer fits on the change table, that it’s time. Very soon we will all take part in the process of elimination…which suggests that we (her mom, dad and I) will give up until one is left to watch for widdle and divine for dumps. With this in mind, I read the above comic strip and thought; “At least he USES the darned thing!!!”

Monday June 9, 2014

Lynn’s Notes:

In real life, this didn’t happen; the story grew around the idea of Elly babysitting, and I kept saying to myself, “what if?” It’s the sort of thing you do when you’re lying in bed and wondering where your teenaged kids are. You come up with all kinds of “what ifs”! When you look after little ones, the troubles encountered are often bathroom related, so this was my imagination running wild!

Wednesday June 11, 2014

Lynn’s Notes:

I have to tell you a story, here.

Years ago, I was in Santa Rosa visiting Charles and Jeannie Schulz (Peanuts). They had invited me to stay at their home before we all attended a comic art event in San Francisco. They had recently put a very sophisticated alarm system into their house — and were just getting used to how it worked.

I had not stayed before in their guest room and was pretty nervous about, well, everything: Did I talk too much? Did I keep the room neat? Did I use too much water — you know, that kind of stuff. Anyway, after dinner we hit the sack, and the wind started to blow hard against the windows. Soon the trees were whipping wildly against the house, and all of a sudden, this massive, deafening alarm went off: WAAAA! WAAAAAA! WAAAAA! WAAAA!!!! All the lights in the house turned on, and so did all the lights in their yard. It was as if giant searchlights were trained on the windows. In a blind panic, I ran up the stairs into their kitchen, and there were Sparky and Jeannie in their pyjamas saying, “Wha? Wha’s happening? Wha???.” It was great. Here we all were hopping about in our pyjamas, ready for the end of the world.

Well, the next day S&J decided to rework the sensitivity on some of the outdoor sensors, and maybe cut the lights down a bit. We went to the comic art event, and I returned home, no longer shy of Charles Schulz. Having seen the great man running around in his pyjamas, I could say we were now well acquainted.

Saturday June 14, 2014

Lynn’s Notes:

One of the things I remember my husband saying is that the line, “I hate dentists,” actually hurt a lot! We went to a large dinner party shortly after he graduated, and when a woman came up to us and said, “You’re a dentist? I HATE you!” He was speechless. She said it as a joke, but the statement had hooks and claws…and it put a damper on our evening. Later, Rod said, “What about the folks who are happy to be out of pain? What about kids with a front tooth missing? I give people back their smiles!” True enough, and going to the dentist is no longer painful…but still, the comment comes. Guess it’s a lame gag we make out of habit!

Sunday June 15, 2014

Lynn’s Notes:

I was on the periphery of hippiedom during the ’60s. Never too far out or too far in, just one of the middle masses who liked the concept of “make love, not war” — but I also wanted to make a living. I had the long hair, the tattered sweaters, the jeans, and the vocabulary, and with this, I fit in. I often hung out with people who did drugs. I talked like they did so they’d think I’d “et” (the in-word for having taken drugs), and accept me as just another “head.” I liked being an outcast without the risks! Art school connected me with some very smart, creative, and outrageous people — most of whom remained under cover; people didn’t identify themselves the way they do now. The youth of today are more openly different. They advertise their eccentricities. They know how to be cool!

If I were 16 right now, I would dye my hair blue, wear mostly black, have a small tat, and turn my tunes up loud! I’d have a few piercings. I’d do subversive cartoons and improv comedy while secretly planning a career in music and medicine. I’d hang out with the Goths, go to churches, mosques, and synagogues looking for truth and enlightenment. And I’d be a vegan — just ’cause it would bug my mother. I’d backpack in Europe, play my guitar on street corners, write poetry, and ponder the meaning of life. I’d be into the Internet: animating, chatting, and exploring it all. If I were 16 right now, I’d be hanging out with the girls in this cartoon — I like to think they are simply a much younger me.

Thursday June 19, 2014

Lynn’s Notes:

My dad had the gift of the gab and he made friends everywhere. Mom was much more reserved, and never wanted to attract attention to herself. One night, guess it was about 11:00 pm, we had all gone to bed when a loud police siren was heard outside our house. Right outside. Dad got up, put on his dressing gown, and looked out the window. Two police officers were standing on our front porch — hammering on the door. “Ridgway? Ridgway! Open up!” We were all up by then, and watched as Dad tentatively opened the door. Standing there were two guys he had been chatting up that day. “You got the coffee on?” one said. “We just got off work!” Dad laughed out loud, went to the kitchen and put on the coffee. He had a great time talking to these funny, easy-going guys, and figured it was one of the best nights he’d had in ages. Mom didn’t speak to him for a week.

Sunday June 22, 2014

Lynn’s Notes:

I think I’ve told you that Ruth, my mother-in-law, was a weaver. She must have had three looms going at once and extras for friends who wanted to learn. Thrifty and thoughtful, she kept every scrap of fabric and every piece of yarn. The cut ends from her warps and weavings, called thrums (there’s a name for everything!), were kept for stuffing and felting and for birds’ nests — which I thought was neat. In early spring, Ruth would go for long walks in the woods and leave handfuls of thrums along the way for the birds to find.

An avid birder, she would then retrace her steps and watch for nests, which had been made with her threads. Determined to see me do the same, she gave me a basket of thrums to distribute. We were well into nesting season, and when I still hadn’t thrown the thrums, she began to grumble. Annoyed and lazy, I tossed the threads onto our lawn and forgot about them until the lawn needed mowing. I started the mower and was happily going along when suddenly the thing seized with a loud, metallic THWANGGGGG. Smoke came out from under the cowling with a burning rubber smell. I unplugged the mower and turned it over. Strangling the blade was a broad band of colourful, smouldering thrums.

Monday June 23, 2014

Lynn’s Notes:

My friend, Carol, and I set up a lemonade stand in front of my house, and of course, my mom did all the work. We thought it would take all day to sell our wares, but were surprised to have many customers — one right after the other. It took awhile, years actually, before my dad admitted to calling everyone on the block…asking them to buy.

Sunday June 29, 2014

Lynn’s Notes:

Chores were a given around our house when I was a kid. In fact, all the kids I knew had to do something to earn their allowance. It was so unfair. I remember thinking how lucky my parents were to have so much power and freedom. They could, if they wanted to, go anywhere without having to say where they were going or when they’d be back. They had money and jobs and a car. My brother and I were servants! We had do what they wanted us to do, be where they wanted us to be, say what they told us to say, and work! I remember snivelling about how hard it was to pile firewood, weed the garden, sweep the walks. Torture. It was TORTURE!

So, when it was my turn to have the upper hand, I told my kids that it was their duty to help around the house. I gave them a chore list and a deadline. They snivelled and complained, and said the same stuff (behind my back) that I said about my folks. They said how lucky I was to be the boss, to have freedom and power and money. They said how unfair I was and how mean! It took patience, strength and perseverance, but in the end, they too learned to pitch in and lighten the load.

Now my daughter has two kids, and the oldest (age two) complains about having to pick stuff up and put it away. Yeah, the best thing about being a grandparent is watching your kids deal with their kids…who are doing the same stuff they did to you!!