Friday, January 20, 2006

A Million Tiny Pieces of Cake -- Chapter Six

Let's see, I was a bedwetter long enough to remember waking up in wet sheets and being cold. I also remember my mother telling me once that she wasn't going to change the sheets or my soaked clothing. She didn't do that all the time. I think that particular time was a special occasion, a "cure" suggested by some asshead who shall remain nameless.

That memory is still so vivid I guess I haven't really forgiven her for that cold wet night. However, being mean to children wasn't in her nature, so she didn't do it again.

My brother, on the other hand, used to get out of bed when he was two years old and head for the bathroom in his sleep. He never seemed to get there. Instead of finding the toilet, he would settle for the refrigerator and pee in the lettuce. His "accidents" were charming and a source of family amusement. Mine were a problem, a source of concern. Funny how I just noticed the double standard.

My kids didn't sleepwalk nor did they have to lie in their own pee. I bought plenty of colorful and cute designer kid sheets and warm fuzzy footies to change into in case of accidents. These days those new pull up pants for toddlers and older kids are wonderful solution to the embarrassment and shame kids can feel for something that happens while they are sound asleep.

I remember thinking I got off relatively easy compared to the children who made the news for the same problem. There ought to be a special place in Hell for parents who hit their kids for wetting the bed. And life in prison for the ones who beat them to death. Or put them in scalding water.

I once had a babysitter named Anna Mae who made me eat a plate of peas for lunch. Peas were not lunch as far as I was concerned. A bologna sandwich and bean soup were lunch. But she made me stay at the table until I ate every last one. By the end I was gagging every time I swallowed. Not surprisingly, it wasn't until I was in high school that I tried to eat peas again. To face my fear, I had to wrap a forkful of the little green orbs in potatoes and gravy before I managed to get them down. Just the sensation of their roundness on my tongue came close to making me retch. But I survived. Now I like Bird's Eye Tender Tiny Peas so much I have actually made myself a whole plate for lunch.

Pee problems and a problem with peas. Coincidence? Maybe not.

I think I was young enough during the iniital plate of peas episode that Anna Mae had no idea that I would be able to complain to my mother about what she made me do. In fact, I think my mother was so stunned when I told her what I had for lunch that she even asked the woman if what I said was true. I can only imagine the look on Anna Mae's face when she realized I was able to rat her out. Whatever transpired, I never saw her again.

A bologna -- pronounced BALONEY -- sandwich and bean soup was my favorite lunch mantra.
My mom picked us up at school until sixth grade so we could have a homemade hot meal of sorts. Every day my mother would ask us what we wanted for lunch.  Every day I would say, "BALONEY AND BEAN SOUP."

Then I switched schools in sixth grade and she started making me a brown bag lunch to eat in the cafeteria. A new school meant a new lunch. Now I always had two sandwiches: One peanut butter and jelly, one cream cheese mixed with red caviar [yes, you read that right], all washed down with two cartons of chocolate milk. M-m-m-m-m-m, dee-lish.

In fifth grade I got a cookbook that had a recipe for old fashioned fudge -- not the Marshmallow Fluff kind -- the cook it until the softball stage and beat it until your arms fall off kind. My mom was from the "you can do it without my help" school of learning, so I would use a wooden spoon and beat the fudge all by myself, until it went from shiny to creamy and was ready to pour into the pan. Timing was everything. Too soon and it wouldn't set up. Too late and the fudge would harden in the pan. The change was subtle, but she would  let me know when it happened until I figured it out for myself.

Learning to make rich buttery fudge from scratch began my lifelong attachment to all things chocolate. Godiva, Dove, Ghirardelli, Nestle, Hershey, I'm not a snob. There isn't a fudge shop in a vacation town I've visited where I haven't purchased a big chunk of the plain kind so I could relive those halcyon days of yesteryear. The miracle is that I didn't feel compelled to open my own place.

Boy this is making me hungry.



ladeeoftheworld said...

I was a son was a bedwetter.  My siblings who were bedwetters also passed down the trait to their children.  My dry sibs had dry kids.  Go figure.  In our family bedwetting was a fact of life.  

When I was 7 and still wetting the bed, my mother would come upstairs every night at midnight, and bring clean sheets.  Sure enough I was wet.  After she changed my bed and I changed my clothes, we would stand at the upstairs window and watch the colorfully lit showboat cruise down the Ohio river.

Bedwetting.  Just one of those rights of passage.

(My brother Mike peed in the toybox at night, just so you know.)

suzypwr said...

I remember getting my daughter up at least once during the night to pee so she didn't wet her bed. I found that easier than changing sheets.

But I don't like peas. My daughter likes the little baby ones and likes how they explode in her mouth. A general rule in my house is that food isn't any fun if you can't play with it. That maybe comes from having cats.


ksquester said...

Interesting....your attachment to cake and peas. I am a terrible speller, no doubt inheirited from my mother. I remember she sent me to the store when I was 9 to get some bologna and on her list it was spelled: blownee. I can still laugh about it. As for the fudge, you are right, "Ain't nothing like the real thing, baby!" My dear friend Vivian still makes it, although her arms about fall off beating it with a wooden spoon. Once I asked her how long to beat it and her answer was: "Darlin' ya beat it until it frog-eyes!"  OH BTW, I finally answered the question you tagged me about.  Anne

mosie1944 said...

"There ought to be a special place in Hell for parents who hit their kids for wetting the bed..."

Yes, there should.  And I'd be in that special place.

My son wet the bed until he got old enough to sleep with girls.  Then he stopped.

I was ignorant, and I spanked him.  I had old people telling me he wet the bed because he was lazy.  And yet, somehow I knew even at the time I was spanking him that it was wrong.

I have apologized to my son for this, and he has forgiven me.  But I will never forgive myself.

Guilt.  One of the worst parts of parenting.  Thanks for reminding me.

auntiemayme said...

I made that same fudge.  The recipe was on the back of the Hersey's Coca can.  I suppose maybe it still is but I haven't looked for years.

artloner said...

Wonderful entry, LinkyLu...I love chocolate, but not as much as you do.  We used to get "Pammy Sue's Hot Fudge, every year at the County Fair. tiny piece would have you one a fudge buzz for hours!

Much Love,


sunnyside46 said...

I wet the bed f;orever, so did my husband when he was a kid. Not surprizingly , my kids did too. (boy would they be mad if they saw me typing this.)It was never a big deal to us, we just changed the bed!
Eventually it stopped.

elleme2 said...

I am so happy to make the acquaintance of someone who actually mastered the technique of making old-fashioned fudge.  As many times as I tried as a young girl to do it , it just never worked--always came out runny like fudge sauce, or full of sugar crystals.  I gave up at the age of 12 or 13 and, although I love chocolate, have never really like it in the form of fudge--maybe in lifelong resentment for my failure to conquer the mysterious process of making it.  

lamove04 said...

Love the name of your memoir-- but I am concerned: what is fiction and what is truth?  AND: what will you do when Oprah selects it for her Book Club?

I didn't peg you for a "Bachelor" fan, Mrs. L.!  xxoo, Albert

gaboatman said...

Mrs. L
I'm a fudgeaholic from way, way back.  Now about those cream cheese and red caviar sandwiches.  We have to talk!