As I have written in the past, my Mom died when I was eleven years old. I am the middle sister of three girls.
My poor father was a single parent to three women in a time when men were not expected to understand women, especially young girls. I am certain that in the midst of the shock of losing his wife the enormity of having to raise three girls was overwhelming.
He did okay. We lived to tell stories about it. Honestly, we just thought it was life.
He left for work as we were getting up for school. Most mornings he would holler up the stairs for us to get up and say good-bye to us. That was the morning routine. We would get up, get dressed, go downstairs and grab breakfast and walk to school.
On winter mornings, Dad would try a bit harder. As he was leaving he would holler up the steps, get us up and then add something like, ‘its cold out this morning, I made oatmeal’.
This was never what we wanted to hear. The cold was fine. We would grab our boots, gloves, scarves and hats and possibly put on a pair of pants to wear while walking to school to keep our legs warm.
The thing we never wanted to hear was the word oatmeal. When those mornings happened, we knew we would go downstairs to the pan of cocoa (always a good thing) and the pan of what was supposed to be oatmeal. The oatmeal when we would get downstairs looked like wallpaper paste. By time it hit a bowl it could be the soft cement where you would put your handprints in and know by noon a semi could drive over it with no problem. My younger sister and I would go down and look at the pan, trying to resign ourselves to the horror of this mess. Each time, though, my older sister would come to the rescue. She would rush into the kitchen and with one fell swoop take the pan, it’s contents and put it all down the garbage disposal, soaking the pan until dishes were done later in the day. She would then turn to us and ask, ‘toast?’.
It took several years for me to actually try making oatmeal. When I did, I realized it was not a horrible thing. In fact, I like oatmeal. I just try not to think of the oatmeal of my childhood while I am eating it.
Thanks for stopping by today, DAF