I was at the Rec Hall this afternoon availing myself of the free WIFI service when a very young girl let loose behind me in a total tantrum, and screamed louder and longer than I thought possible for a girl that small. The mother couldn’t control her daughter at all, and it was long past the point of reasoning with her, so they thankfully left the building. I never wanted children of my own for good reason, and I don’t tolerate the children of others very well. Still, I didn’t say anything or even make a face. I just shoved the buds a little deeper into my ear canals then packed up and left the hall shortly after. As I was walking back to the trailer, this story I wrote many years ago about my own mother’s parenting techniques came to mind. I thought I would share it with you.
Spoonful of Jam
by Susan M. Toy
We only travelled as a family unit by car to the cottage. Those trips were so routine, so familiar, that Friday afternoons were like re-enactments of a well-orchestrated play, with family members speaking rehearsed-lines, the beginning of every drive punctuated with the phrase, “Hurry up, you two! Your father’s waiting.”
Jockeying for position in the station wagon’s back seat would take place, my sister always sitting behind Dad, the driver, and me hugging the opposite door, staying as far as possible from my sister. If either wandered out of our space the other would shriek, “Mom! She’s on my side!” or “Mom! She’s bothering me!”
Mother spun around, in those pre-seatbelt-days, separating us: “You! Stay on your side! And You! Leave her alone!” We resorted to quietly making faces until I got bored and stared out the window, while my sister shouted, “Horse!” or “Cow!” with every one spotted.
All was quiet until the winding roads at Miner’s Bay caused my delicate stomach to react, on cue. I’d mumble, “Mom, I’m going to be sick…”
She would immediately shout, “Rich, pull over!” I’d already be opening the door to hang my head out. Afterwards my sister’s smirk was unbearable.
But I had the last laugh. Mom decided enough was enough and made us both eat a “spoonful of jam” before getting into the car. We didn’t know she’d laced that jam with Gravol. Today it might be considered child abuse, but during the sixties my delighted mother discovered Gravol not only settled my stomach, but also knocked us out for most of the trip.
Usually I wakened when we reached the South Lake Road. Sitting on Mom’s side of the car, the right-hand side, I was always the first to cry out, “I see the lake!” punctuating the trip’s end.
You are most welcome here! Enjoying the view with me from my trailer or verandah.