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Found Chocolate

Posted on 2010.02.02 at 10:36
Current Mood: relaxedrelaxed
Current Music: The Music Goes Round and Round - The Boswell Sisters
My mother made quite a point of keeping our family generously supplied with sweets and other goodies. I think this may have been a reaction to her own scrimping childhood during the Great Depression, but I will save any further psychoanalytical speculation for another time.

Considering that there were 8 kids living under the roof of my childhood (myself plus 7 siblings), there was a good deal less squabbling over food than in many other families I’ve heard about. I think this is a testament to how well stocked Mom kept the shelves in that kitchen. Still, there’s something about discovering hidden sweets that can turn a child’s heart toward larceny…

It wasn’t in the kitchen, in the can cupboard, or even in the dining room. It was in my parents’ bedroom in the top drawer of a high bureau. Still, it was certainly chocolate – a small bar that was sectioned off so as to break into little squares. Even if I had been able to read the lettering on the front, I wouldn’t have read any significance into the word “Ex-Lax” at that point in my life.

And there were witnesses. At least one older sibling witnessed the deed and reported it to Mom as soon as she showed up. I had eaten at least a couple of those squares of chocolate – I don’t recall the precise number, and my sibling took no small pleasure from the act of tattling that I had taken some candy that clearly wasn’t intended for us kids.

I don’t recall that Mom said a great deal to me. I don’t recall any specific admonition for taking something that wasn’t mine; no discussion about why I would have done such a thing. What I do remember is that she briskly and efficiently pulled me into the bathroom, set me on the throne, and told me to stay there. I recall feeling puzzled and a little scared about why she would compel me to do such a thing. Very soon though, my questions were answered in a very personal manner. Let’s just say that learning is sometimes both an internal and an external process, and that it’s a lesson that has stayed with me. And while it didn’t lessen my fondness for chocolate, it may have accelerated the development of my reading and comprehension skills!


(Anonymous) at 2010-02-05 16:48 (UTC) (Link)

Ex Cathedra (From the Throne)

I found myself looking for a tasty treat one day and found a box in mom's baking cabinet. The contents were indeed tasty and I proceeded to empty the box. Some time later I went to mom or dad and complained of having great intestinal discomfort. He or she asked me what I had eaten. When I described the box the word prunes came up and I was told to make sure I avoided a repeat performance. Having found an easy mark...near that same time period, I brought a small jar of salt like crystals from the linen cabinet to Dad. I asked him what it was...With a slight grin on his face he said "Taste it." I followed his instructions and found out what putting alum in your mouth does to you. My extreme puckering response gave Dad quite a laugh. I gave him credit for having really "put one over on me" and teaching me some simple facts. Thanks for the memories ! FG
charlesofcamden at 2010-02-05 22:06 (UTC) (Link)

Re: Ex Cathedra (From the Throne)

I don't remember ever hearing that story about the alum before. I don't think Dad ever gets enough credit for his sneaky sense of humor!
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