Archive for November 15th, 2008

“You’re Going to School. There’s a Nurse There”

Saturday, November 15th, 2008

My Mom was not an educated woman – but she was very smart and a walking encyclopedia of common sense. I don’t know how many times I heard her say the words above when I felt sick and wanted to stay in bed. Or telling my grade school teachers, “If he misbehaves, make sure you punish him. Then call me and he’ll get it twice as bad when he gets home.”

When we were kids, she would take out her ‘wooden spoon’, wave it around, and let us know we’d meet the business end of it if we didn’t straighten up. She also told us the spanking would hurt her more than it hurt us but she’d have to do it because she loved us. We never doubted either premise for a second. Now – I never remember actually being spanked by the wooden spoon, but it wasn’t the worst punishment anyway.

The worst punishment was disappointing my parents.

Being sent to the principal’s office or getting a bad teacher’s note never resulted in any loud theatrics in our home. But the hurt looks and gentle shaking of my parents’ heads were enough to make me melt into the floor. A rotten report card was put on the kitchen counter to “talk about after dinner.” It sat there like a turd and I just picked at my food during those sad, quiet meals.

What was my Mom like? When the heavy duty discussion led by my Dad was finally over, she’d quietly say, “Let’s go back in the kitchen. I kept your dinner warm in the stove.”