Saturday, August 8, 2015

Tomatoes, Scrub Brushes, Saucers and Childhood Memories

My husband is a source of great stories and memories. Little commonplace things will spark a tale or perhaps just a fleeting memory of something from his childhood. Growing up in the small coal camp of Olcott, on Brier Creek in southern Kanawha county, WV had its share of hardships to be sure. But it also had many golden moments.

This morning was a good example. Breakfasts these days include sliced ripe tomatoes, a summer treat we both look forward to. As Larry put tomatoes on his plate, he said "This reminds me of when I was a kid."

"How so?" I asked.

"I was too little to help, but I'd go up to the garden with Max (his older brother). I'd take the salt shaker with me and while Max was hoeing I'd sit in the garden with my shaker and eat tomatoes."

I could just picture him: a little boy with hair bleached white by the sun, wearing his bib overalls and barefoot. I can hear his steady stream of happy chatter as his brother, almost 8 years older, sweated over his hoe.



Another memory surfaced when he was putting away the band-aids. "One time my sister Mary (his twin) was sassing Mom off really bad. I think it was this time of year because I remember it being really hot. Mom was scrubbing something with one of those old wood-handled scrub brushes and she just let it fly at Mary. It caught Mary on the head and the blood flew everywhere! I told Mary, 'Don't do that! She'll kill you!' I always liked to look at the excitin' side of things." His mother must have been at her wit's end at the time, although other tales about her reveal a woman with a some fire in her who didn't take much guff.

Larry's memory sparked one of my own.It was a hot, hot day and Mom was canning something in the steamy kitchen. I stood in the door and just sassed her something awful. Mom picked up a nearby saucer and flung it through the air. I ducked and it missed me, so I called out, "Ha ha! You missed me!" Mom, pregnant as she was, chased me right through the house. Believe me, she didn't miss when she caught up with me. It's the only time I can remember my usually peaceful mother spanking me. And I knew I deserved it.

Childhood memories--they come back to us at surprising moments, don't they?

Copyright Susanna Holstein. All rights reserved. No Republication or Redistribution Allowed without attribution to Susanna Holstein.

4 comments:

annie said...

I have had exciting moments with my son too, not telling what, but I earned everyone of my gray hairs on my head!

Dustin Fife said...

My brother was once sassing my mom and got a hot pancake in his face--straight off the frying pan. Ouch!

Granny Sue said...

Dustin, our poor mom's had much to put up with!

Granny Sue said...

I did too, Annie, lol! 5 boys, no wonder I had gray in my hair from an early age.

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