Winter 1968, Columbus Ohio
My third grade teacher held me back after school to talk about the hand puppets my mom had taught me how to sew.
When she was finished I went out to biting cold snowy winds and a sky that was as dark as night from a winter blizzard.
And I had missed the bus.
I tried to go back inside but the school doors were locked tight.
Mom screamed when I came in the door.
Swooped up immediately, I was spirited to the kitchen counter where she lit every stove and stripped me down, weeping to console us both.
Mom then dashed to and from the laundry room and surrounded me with a load of hot towels from the dryer, including two that covered my head.
I was in warm towel heaven but Mom was still deep in hell, wistfully moaning out every teary-eyed apology she could muster.
Drawers open and slammed and pots and utensils clanged until at last two mugs of hot cocoa with marshmallows were finished, one in my hands.
"Can I have some too?" my ten year-old brother asked out of nowhere.
"Go. Go. Not now. Go please."
Mom's red tear-splotched face shocked him into an immediate about face and retreat back to our room.
Mom dried her tears on a cooling towel and we drank quietly together as she cooed at me softly and we talked about what had happened.
I told her everything. But I didn't care any more at that point. She had taken the entire horrific experience away from me. It was a surreal contrast that I would, and will, never forget.
I don't know how this relates to what we're all going through now, but it does. For me. Deeply.
@StevenDouglas Your mom’s maternal instincts were 💯. I admire her love for her son.
I’m weeping with your Mom! I would have been panicking and furious at the same time. Once I had a student in my class (5th grade), who missed the bus. I called his mother and asked if I could bring him home. She was so relieved. We must care.
@StevenDouglas what a wonderful mama bear❤️❤️❤️
And the fiercest. She had NO FEAR beyond our safety and well-being.
When I was twelve a huge, vicious German shepherd on the loose prevented me from finishing my paper route.
My mom drove me out there. The dog was right there in the middle of the street.
"Go deliver your papers. I promise that dog won't hurt you."
I did. The dog charged, straight for me.
Mom got out with a tire iron, screaming profanities as she charged back at a dog that very much backed down.
Gold standard Mom.
So what was wrong with the puppets?
She loved the puppets and wanted to know how they were made. It was my first time learning to use a sewing machine and my teacher was struck by that and how good they looked.
They were just fuzzy socks, but my mom turned them inside out, and sewed stuffing and parts that gave them a really cool cartoon shape when turned right-side out.
I showed the teacher how everything was done and gave one of them to her as a gift.
So it was good on both ends but crossing the canyon on the rope and wood plank Bridge was really terrifying.
Falling into the water is the terrifying part. You have to move very slowly. As long as you don't make sudden movements or disturb the water the piranhas won't attack.
I cried reading your post Steven.
I cried for the millions of children that will never know the experience of going home and knowing 'mom' was going to be there. Not at some job. Not going to some daycare. Not some sitter.
Mom. How we need that in this world again.
@runningONmt2 @StevenDouglas do we ever...
@StevenDouglas I’m not crying, YOU’RE crying 🥺😭
@StevenDouglas beautiful story. I wish us all to have this experience of comfort in our times of need, both literally and figuratively.
@StevenDouglas gosh, that wonderful story made me cry! Thanks for sharing.
@StevenDouglas You had a wise wonderful mother..❤️
@StevenDouglas There is nothing more precious than a parent's love and care. That was a lovely memory. Thank you for sharing.
@StevenDouglas 1968? Columbus Ohio? My goodness, you and I could have been classmates! I can relate to your story, both as a daughter and a mother. Thanks for sharing ❤️
Lucy's Toy Shop and Flippo The Early Show?
Did you ever eat a 15 cent hamburger under "The whirling satellite!"(jingle)?
@StevenDouglas never missed Flippo and watched Lucy’s toy shop every morning. Wake up Mr. Tree song and the chicken fat song...you’ve jostled some memories for sure. We lived in the north end of Columbus and I could see the satellite from our kitchen window at night. It always fascinated me. Dad wasn’t much for indulging us with fast food but on occasion he would walk with my little sister and I down to the corner for a hamburger. We thought that was big stuff back in the day. Good times 🤗
One of the houses we lived in was a hundred year-old two story house on N. High Street, right across from a Copper Penny restaurant.
In Newark we lived in a tiny house across the street from Mound Builders Park. Exotic forest to me, with a little shack further in with an old lady that sold penny candies. She called herself The Forest Witch. My brother and I ate it up.
I went to Maholm Elementary - an OLD brick school house - for kindergarten in 1965. LOVED.
We had a Copper Penny restaurant in Hollywood. it was great. Everyone went there-Doors, cast of "Hair", Ian Whitcomb, groupies. And good food.
The Copper Penny might as well have been Hollywood. To me, North High Street was MASSIVE. That restaurant was gorgeous, always colorfully and beautifully lit up at night.
Because we were poor, almost any restaurant like that struck me as a mystery playground for the rich and famous.
I didn't know until later years that the beautiful old house we lived in was actually in the form of an ultra-low rent alm from a wealthy old man in our church who loved my dad.
@athena12 @StevenDouglas @LibertyBelle1
One of my first waitress jobs was at a place called Copper Penny...I remember I was so confused and it was always crowded. I made 1000 mistakes a day at first.😂 Waitresses always sticking my order pad into my pocket AFTER i went to take an order, Id turn the order id taken to the cooks..theyd call me back to ask me things like how they should put one egg on two plates etc..Eventually I got the hang of it 😂 😂 😂
@StevenDouglas small world indeed! My husband being from Newark I spent a lot of time there as well! We were a young coal mining family who migrated to Columbus from West Virginia in the early 60’s after my father was injured in the mines. He worked 3 jobs and later started his own company. Quite successful for many years. He always said “not too bad for a poor, dumb hillbilly”. A proud yet humble, good man who passed away in 2008. After 40 years Covid has all but killed his American Dream.
You are a powerful story teller. In the middle of your tale, the mother came out in me and I just wanted to take you as the child and hold you and comfort you as well. You should write a book or 20...honestly. 😢
@StevenDouglas what a beautiful story about your mom ♥️
Not friends, Mike. Family. Bigger. You're family. Always think family - then everyone doesn't even have to be friends in the usual sense. We just have a common bond, a kinship and protective love for one another, like soldiers on a battlefield so often do.
Are u still in Ohio ?
I live in Saigon now.
Much of my young childhood was spent in Ohio. Newark and Columbus. LOVED living in that state. Good schools, four seasons, great smells, fireflies, Old Man's Cave, too many AMAZING memories to count.
Ohio was the idyllic calm before my storm, when we moved to California and everything heaven turned hellish nightmare.
Like Thomas, my life was very unrooted - unstable and nomadic in many ways. I've lived in more than 20 places and have nowhere that I call home.
Where did you live in Cali? It used to be wonderful. Would also love to know how you wound up in Saigon. It must be fascinating.
Newark, California in my teens (the second Newark I lived in).
If you knew all the places I've lived it would sound completely ridiculous. Sojourner life that I still find hard to believe.
San Jose, Santa Clara, San Leandro, Fresno, Clovis, Tulare, Visalia, Castro Valley, Anaheim, Salt Lake City, Vernal (UT), Phoenix, Sedona(AZ), Farmington (NM), Santiago and Iquique, Chile, Wuxi/Jiangsu China and now eight years in Saigon.
@StevenDouglas @athena12 @Donfa
Interesting. When and why were you in Chile lindo? I love that country (though I worry about its politics).
I was with an exploration geophysics company out of Salt Lake, sent out on contract with Geomet and Conoco for mineral exploration (copper, gold and silver).
We were doing resistivity and magnetometer surveys at various sites in the Andes foothills near Santiago, Iquique, and Arica in the far north.
I was there primarily as technical support for the survey equipment.
@StevenDouglas @athena12 @Donfa
That is really cool. So you were there during the dictatorship. Whatan experience! I was there in the mid-1990s, which was a wonderful time, but I was just goofing off. Thank you for the reply.
Sedona is really beautiful. San Jose and Santa Clara used to be pretty nice too.
Those who label words as violence do so with the sole purpose of justifying violence against words.
Home was a half mile away but I had thin gloves and no earmuffs, no scarf.
I was hungry, so I hit the nearby McDonalds. I downed two sugar packets until a loud bark told me to shove off and run on home.
Snow bees stung my face by the thousands but it was my ears that hurt most of all. I couldn't protect them with my knitted gloves now covered in snow and ice.
The last hundred or so yards took forever and for the last 50 I couldn't stop crying.