Tuesday, May 4, 2010

My Brains Arrived Today...

Thanks To BEATBLACK.Etsy.com

Theres a reason behind this, and its probably not what you think. 

I was basically a child of elderly parents, they had me late in life, one of those accidents of fate, or a freakish mistake that was an endless source of amusement as my sister liked to say (when she wasn't trying to convince me I was adopted, "You don't match any of us, you have brown eyes...").

I don't get it, I was a fairly cute kid, judge for yourself.

Then imagine.  One summer day, when all of my sisters many friends were off doing something else, while she was chained to me until our mother got out of work; she made cupcakes.   She made vanilla, chocolate, even vanilla with chocolate swirled into the vanilla.  She was the original home cooking show.
 She put little black sprinkles on the frosting, then glared at me while saying in her sternest voice, "Do NOT touch these until mother gets home."   Are you kidding, I'd rather have a root canal than suffer her wrath.

                Surveying Her Prey

Our mother arrived home from work, was presented the cupcakes and exclaimed "Oh did you two make these for me!?!"  My sister was quick to point out I had been assigned to watch, and presented each of us with a masterpiece.  I hadn't seen the part where she put the sprinkles on, in fact, they really didn't look like any sprinkles I had ever seen, so I asked. "What are these things on the frosting?"    "Ants," my mother replied, then they stared at me. That was the routine.  Were they successful in jarring me, or should they try better the next time?  If at first you don't succeed and all that. I didn't figure out for a really long time that the reason they would turn away from me in lightening fashion just after issuing a one liner, was because they were attempting to control  fits of hysterics that had tendencies to blossom immediately.    I remember staring at that cupcake, willing my eyes to become little microscopes looking for eyes, little legs; any sign of movement.  I decided it would be best to eat everything but the frosting.  Why waste a perfectly good cupcake.

And sooooo... one year my birthday fell in the middle of our father's leave. He was one of those that seriously received more joy in giving than receiving, a trait my sister and I inherited.   There simply is no comparison to the joy of being there when a gift you have given is opened, something you chose days or months before, when  something was mentioned, and you filed it away thinking, "Oh what a perfect birthday gift."  My father's bright star was that he traveled the world, first in the Navy, then the Coast Guard for nearly his entire life.  He would bring home the most interesting and exotic gifts we had ever seen, and always with a story behind them. 

                     Meet The Parents

The three of them had been trying to turn me in the direction of a girly-girl for quite some time.  My sister would dress me up in floofy little dresses, short white socks - with cuffs - and patent leather Mary-Janes that were more painful to wear than being on the rack.   I would sit; and not move.  For hours.  Until someone would finally say, "Oh for goodness sake, go change your clothes and go play."  What was one supposed to do dressed like that?  Did they expect me to play tennis in that stuff, it was a mystery to me.  But in that vein, my fathers gift to me was a little gold bracelet, with hearts attached to it much like a charm bracelet.  The hearts were flat with little raised edges that held in teeny little polished rocks glued to the center of the hearts.  My father knew I had a thing about rocks. Upstairs in my room I had a really cool rock collection in an empty B-52 Bomber model box.  Said completed and painted B-52 hanging from the ceiling by three strands of white twine, at the most perfect angle.   The teeny little rocks were earthen colors, pretty shades of tan to dark brown, even little green ones.  It came from Italy. 

Little did I know, my sisters blue eyes were turning green, ever so quickly.  Our parents had given her a pearl ring for her sixteenth birthday, but not a gold bracelet.   Less impressed with the gold, I marveled at the little stones and asked, "What sort of stones are they?"   There was a moment of silence before my mother, in that dry, flat, honed to perfection voice, slowly said, "Gall-stones."

You can see where this is going.  After the party I had to race to my mother's best friends house to show her the bracelet.  She was a retired English Lit. Prof. and twenty years older than my mother.  She had been my babysitter when I was first born, and a second grandmother to me.  She also knew my mother really well. "Hmmm, what kind of stones are these?" Mary asked.  "Gall-stones," I replied, serious as a heart attack.     I am now old enough  to know those moments of silence I so often was a victim of were double-takes, not thoughtful pauses.   She said, " Oh, and look at the little green ones, probably hardened bile..." 

Years later,  my mother, sister and I would sit around the kitchen table and reminisce, laughing so hard our make-up would run..  During one of those reveries I learned Mary had called my mother directly after I left her house that day wearing my gall-stones, and they had laughed for an hour. On the phone. Just laughing. 

As fate would have it, when I was around twenty, my mother called to say she had to have her gall bladder out, she had stones...   "Oh, would you save them, the ones I had fell out of my bracelet..."    "Its simply not nice to make someone in pain laugh," she wheezed, "I may tell your sister."  Oh gaud, not that.  She did save the stones. Gave them to me for my birthday that year, floating in water, laced with green food coloring. 

So since I have not been in possession of body parts to wear in a lot of years, I thought a brain, at this stage of my life was appropriate.

And someday, just one fine day, my grandson is going to ask me what that pin is that I am wearing...    


  1. This is too funny! Were you that gullible? I guess in hindsight, I might have been, also.

  2. Gullible is far too kind. Naive, no, no tthatg either. Ca-Lu-Less is more like it. My mother used to accuse me of paying half attention while the other half was off somewhere else. I'm still not swift. Guys at work used to tell me jokes, then wait ten minutes for me to get it......!

  3. Your family sounds hilarious - especially your mother! Oh, and thanks for stopping by my blog. I only have two cats, but the name of my blog refers to a phrase I heard someone relate to teaching, "Teaching middle school is a lot like herding cats." Thought it was appropriate.

  4. What a very very funny story. And very well told. I think I may be slightly guilty of being just a little like your mum with my children, but they are quick to pick up on it now.

  5. @ Hearding Cats - Ok so I am still not confessing to specific numbers now! ONLY two... New Cat-Farm pics to be posted shortly....

    My mothers friend Mary taught school for a short time while getting her PhD. She described in less than glowing terms! As soon as she had her PhD she ran to the airport with a wad of cash in her hand and off to a new job at a community college where, she said, they were ready to learn.

    @ Lace Hearts - I AM my mother now, yah know how they (who are THEY anyway) say that happens. Yup, those darn apples don't fall too far fromt the trees...

    But we are still laughing.

  6. PS Somehow I simply cannot stop adding that a to Herding, sorry!