Mom’s Secret by Janet Keyes

When my older children were young I got into a health food kick. I even asked the Easter Bunny to bring no chocolate, just healthy things like nuts and sesame logs. I was not just being mean; a couple of the kids were slightly allergic to chocolate. The children seemed a little less enthusiastic about Easter baskets in those days.

I sometimes made cookies from ingredients bought at the health food store on Miles Street, even including soy flour.  Occasionally the cookies were pretty good.  I also made my own granola, using stone-ground oats, chopped dates, sunflower seeds, organic almonds, and a hint of honey.  Lightly toasted, that granola tasted great.

My cupboards often contained brown paper bags labeled “Stone-ground Bulgar Wheat” and other earthy crunchy things.  My kids were not truly deprived of chocolate, as they could go next door to Grandma Keyes’ house and get a little chocolate almost any time.  They thought I didn’t know, but I could see the little chocolate rash on small buttocks at bath time.

Sometimes I also had a craving for chocolate.  One day I bought a can of Nestle’s Chocolate Quik to have on hand for my little emergencies.  How could I hide it from the kids? Ah, yes.  I cut up a brown paper grocery bag and created a neat wrap for the Quik container.  Then I used a black Flair pen to label it “Stone-Ground Broccoli.”  This was perfect, and I could place it in plain sight on the top shelf of the cupboard.

This ruse worked well for about two years. Then one day I walked into the kitchen and saw a chair next to the counter near that cupboard, and twelve-year-old Julie and seven-year-old Peter standing next to the kitchen table, where the Stone-Ground Broccoli container stood open.  Both the container and the kids looked at me accusingly.

“Mom! How long have you been hiding Quik in this disguise?  This has been on that shelf a long time!”

Busted! My chocolate secret was destroyed, never to be replicated again.

No Nuthin’ by Estelle Cade

No secret stairways,
No hidden rooms,
No spectral visitors,
No magic brooms.

No twisting passageways,
No buried treasure.
Watch for low tide lines,
Be sure to measure.

No mossy cave marks,
No bony guests,
Only seaweed, pebbles, shells,
No echo of a lost ship’s bell.

No pirate ship
No pieces of eight
No yo ho ho,
No bottles of rum.

No Treasure Island,
No Captain Hook.
Oh go away, Nancy Drew,
You’re in a different book!

 

Winter Wonderland? by Mildred Grant

Waking early to discover nearly a foot of new snow on the ground seemed a wonderful way to start our Christmas vacation.

 “Let’s get our sleds out and go up past Uncle Will’s to just past the Bear’s Den Road and slide back down to the bridge,” Chester suggested.

Before Allen, Eleanor, or I could answer, Mom responded from the kitchen. Continue reading

Child of the Wind by Mildred Grant

“Who has seen the wind? Neither you nor I!”

Two lines from a song we sang in grade school. I wonder whether my mood is called to answer that of the velocity of the wind or does the wind match my thoughts and feelings?

We were on summer vacation and I was feeling restless. Though there were occasional patches of blue sky, the clouds in the west looked increasingly ominous. As the wind began to rise, so did my exhilarating need to out race the buffeting gusts of air, so I ran straight into the now-howling turbulence. Sensations of fear to joy took over. As the branches of apple, pear, and maple trees were writhing in wild abandon, I joined them in their dance. Being young and of average size for my age, about six or seven, it wasn’t long before I was securely wind-pinned, lying against a stone wall. Out of breath, I watched as the fury slowly subsided to a gentle summer breeze. The sun reappeared. No longer restless, the lingering sense of excited fear and joy in the whole experience soon settled back to the calmer feelings of my ordinary way of life.

POPSICLES, BEER AND BREAD CRUST! by Lettice Randall

When I really take the time to sit and think about my father, one thing that comes to mind about him is that he never, ever, raised his voice at me even if I probably deserved it. My mom was more the disciplinarian and Dad was the one who thought up the fun things to do. He taught me how to fish in the little brook near our home, and he even had me baiting my own hook at a very early age. And while Mom was more the academic, Dad is the one who encouraged me to tell stories about things we’d see or talk about. These subjects ranged from the deer we’d see in the woods near our home, to the tree fort we were planning to build.

Another image that comes up when I think of my dad is orange popsicles and beer! Sounds like a strange combination, I know. But Continue reading

Little Mr. Yellow Shirt by Mildred Grant

 There had been a couple of times when choir participants had been visited on stage during a performance by their child who didn’t appreciate being left behind in the congregation, but this didn’t appear to be one of those times.

 About three years old, dressed in brown corduroy pants and a neon yellow sweat shirt, he wandered into my range of vision at my left. He seemed oblivious that he might be doing something unusual or inappropriate. Neither the choir director, waving his arms, the accompanist’s vigorous playing, nor the stage full of adults singing full-bore, seemed to faze Yellow Shirt.

Up the steps of the stage, taking a casual left, he inserted himself into the front row of the tenor section of the choir. With complete self-assurance, he retrieved a chocolate cookie from his pants pocket and nibbled off a sizable bite. He stayed, munching contentedly, for a few minutes, and then wandered down the steps, carefully, one at a time, taking a detour beside the accompanist. Cookie remains back in his pants pocket, he put his hands in the air, working his fingers as though playing the keyboard. Continuing his journey, as the congregation let out a communal sigh of relief, Little Yellow Shirt started a leisurely stroll up the next aisle over from where I was sitting. Suddenly, he was scooped up by an older boy and whisked out of sight.

Beautiful by Lori Thatcher

 “Don’t cut my hair, Ma. I need to go to a beauty place, pleeeease,” I whined. My mother told me to stop whining, but I kept on—I knew it was a request, not an order.

I talked fast hoping she wouldn’t say we couldn’t afford it. “Janey got a perm and everyone loves her hair. No one likes my hair. I hate my hair.”

“Come here.” She peered at me and I peered back from under my too-long bangs. She fluffed up my straight, shoulder-length brown hair and sighed. “We’ll go tomorrow.”

Tomorrow was Friday and I would have to wait until Monday to show off my beauty-place hair, but I was thrilled!”

Friday at school was two days long. I ran all the way from the bus stop, charging across the stubble in the corn field. Ma met me on the doorstep with her old black pocket-book. We walked to the neighbor’s house and got a ride into town.

The place smelled smoky and there were old men sitting in chairs against the wall, but I was delighted when the man draped me with a black plastic cape. I couldn’t see the mirror, but I watched the hair fall onto the floor and imagined what everyone would say on Monday. I felt special, a trip to town just for me.

Monday morning, my hair was messy, but I combed it all the way to school. I marched into school beaming and everyone smiled at my beautiful hair. When Janey asked me where I got my hair done, I said, “At the beauty place.”

She said it looked like someone had put a bowl on my head. I didn’t care. My Ma hadn’t cut my hair. She took me to a beauty place, and I felt beautiful.

Good from Evil Intent by Mildred Grant

 

My brother was looking for a fight! He tried to engage my sister’s attention by poking her in the back enough times and hard enough to warrant a quick, full-swing slap across his face. More angry than ever, he tried to pick on me, but Mom caught him.

“Outside! No more picking on the girls! Go find someone your own size,” Mom scolded. “Don’t go far. We’re in for a shower.”

“Hm-m-m, my own size. That’s it!” His face still smarting and now hot Continue reading

The Lemon Puddle by Mildred Grant

            The children were  back in school, the clothes washed and hung out to dry in the bright sunshine with a helpful breeze blowing.

            Mary asked her sister-in-law, “What shall we do next, Mattie?”

            “Remember those lemons we bought from Mr. Barnes, the peddler?” Mattie asked. Continue reading

Un-Fair at Heath by Mildred Grant

        Spending the summer months at Great Uncle Merritt’s big, old, colonial era farm-home in Heath, afforded endless, wonderful opportunities for us five children to explore the whole area, inside all the buildings, and, as far as Mom would allow, to roam freely the surrounding fields and forests.

            We had known for a week that we were going to the Heath Fair, so our childish efforts at “taking Heaven by storm,” to assure perfect weather, seemed to have paid off. Continue reading