"let your boat of life be light, packed with only
what you need - a homely home and simple pleasures, someone to love and someone to love you,
enough to eat and enough to wear
and a little more than enough to drink:
for thirst is a dangerous thing"

Tuesday, 25 October 2011

on the subject of memories and mothers

A mere mention of the Grapevine canteen restaurant at Garlicks, Adderley Street in my post the other day jolted a couple of people's memories.  My mom (and greatest fan) sent me a sweet email this morning telling me how much she enjoys remembering things through my eyes so I started thinking (I think too much) about my mother and the early days.

Firstly when I think of Rosebank Junior School the first thing I remember are the toilets and the smell of the toilets.  Do you remember the soap that school toilets used to use?  It looked like blue cheese.  It was Carbolic Soap and not as trendy as the type below, but you get the drift?  Farmers, I know, used it to wash their hands after milking their cows.

The toilet paper they used we used to take home to use for tracing paper.  I still have a thing about toilets, soap and tracing paper.

Rosebank Junior school of the young
Teaching us wisdom for what is to come
Inspiring us strongly with courage to fight
for happiness, knowledge and all that is right
'Neath the mountains green and tall we learnt to play the game
(forgot the rest)

Then on thinking about RJS I started thinking about getting ready for school in our little green dresses with a round pink collars.  I remember my mother, being in a hurry to get to work, giving us pigtails (very high pigtails) or plaits (very tight plaits).  If my mom could be "top of the class" for any one thing it would be for making the straightest path down the back of her childrens' scalps for their pigtails (or plaits).  For her to attain this perfection she used the edge of her steel comb.  Exactly like this one:-

For the entire morning we were aware of exactly which path our mother took to attain perfection, because our little blonde scalps were weeping and the pigtails were so high and tight that it gave us that oriental look that the little boys in our class found so appealing (if only she knew).  Sorry a mistake - mixed metaphors - it gave us such an attractive look that the oriental boys (the Tongs) found us so appealing. 

As most of us know, once we become mothers we find ourselves sounding like and becoming our mothers in many ways (the good and the bad) and I think God was being kind to little children when he gave me boys who did not need to have their hair put into pigtails (Matthew cut those locks, quick).

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Bad mother, skew path (too cute, I need one of these)

Hair for little girls!
Oh my sainted aunt - Imagine if Dalene and I had to go through this many hair paths in the mornings?
Also definitely not from my mother's school of straight path making, she lost interest at the bottom
Nearly neat enough from the front but what lies behind?
This is probably the closest I could find, but the pigtails are not tight or high enough though. 9/10 for the straight (ish) path though
OK, I'll stop now.  This is getting scary.

Amy and Kelly, when they were little, used to cry if I (their beloved, sainted aunt) was given the task of washing their hair - lie back flat in the bath, head dunked under, up to surface for hard rub with shampoo, bubbles in eyes, back again to rinse (eyes and hair).  Easy Peasy, I don't know what the fuss was all about.

Back to mothers and mothering.   I knew I had kept this list.  Sometimes I surprise myself that there is some order in my disorder.  

  1. my mother taught me TO APPRECIATE A JOB WELL DONE - "if you're going to kill each other, do it outside.  i just finished cleaning".
  2. my mother taught me about TIME TRAVEL - "if you don't behave, i'm going to knock you into the middle of next week"
  3. my mother taught me LOGIC -"because i said so, that's why"
  4. my mother taught me MORE LOGIC - "if you fall out of that tree and break your neck, you're not coming to the shops with me"
  5. my mother taught me FORESIGHT - "make sure you wear clean underwear, in case you're in an accident."  (actually my grandmother's favourite expression, she carried an extra pair of panties in her handbag in case of an emergency - could just picture her "Excuse me ambulance driver, close your eyes,  I have to change my panties!!")
  6. my mother taught me the SCIENCE OF OSMOSIS - "shut your mouth and eat your supper."
  7. my mother taught me CONTORTIONISM - "will you look at that dirt on the back of your neck"
  8. my mother taught me about the CIRCLE OF LIFE - "i brought you into this world and i can take you out"
  9. my mother taught me BEHAVIOUR MODIFICATION - "stop acting like your father!"
  10. my mother taught me about ANTICIPATION - "just wait until we get home" or "just wait until your father gets here"  (lucky for us, he was always late)
  11. my mother taught me about ENVY - "there are millions of less fortunate children in this world who do not have wonderful parents (a plate of food) like you do"
  12. my mother taught me JUSTICE - "one day you'll have kids and i hope they turn out just like you"  
So tell me truthfully, how many of these expressions have you heard or used?  My mother used to love the "hitting you into next week" expression (although she always said "next month").  Another one of those expressions that never really made sense to me as a child and still doesn't (as an adult), but it sounds good.

and best of all-

   13.   my mother taught me WISDOM - "when you get to my age, you'll understand."

This one is not a joke - Mom, I am beginning to understand.

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How true.  

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