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Pretty Girls Make Gravy
Thursday February 28, 08
As it’s Mother’s Day this Sunday I thought I’d tell you a tale from my childhood….a tale about what it was like with my Mum.
It was a blisteringly hot summer’s day and I was about six or seven years old (1973...74) and out playing in the garden. At this point in my life I was an only child. My siblings didn’t come along until much later…a reason why I don’t think I was ever that close to my brother and sister. They were a little “gang”...the two of them...still are...and I was always on the outside looking in.
My Dad was inside cleaning the house and making it all “nice” for a very special visit. You see as usual my Mum was “away”…resident in a victorian mental instituation miles away. It was a horrible place with padded rooms…screaming…and people walking backwards! Needless to say my Dad didn’t take me to visit my Mum there very often…it was a terrifying place to a “grown-up”…to a child it was the stuff of nightmares.
On this day my Mum had been deemed well enough to come for a ”home visit” after weeks of Electric Shock Treatment…a delivery of volts to her brain that would jolt her back to mental well-being. As we didn’t have a car my Uncle Des had gone to collect her in his old Ford Cortina. I was desperately excited…I hadn’t seen my Mum for almost a month.
As I played outside I heard the chimes of the ice-cream van coming down our road and ran inside to ask Dad for some money for an ice-cream. He came outside with me to the van and I chose a lolly. It was called a BIG CHIEF as it had pictures of red indians on the packet. It was a strawberry lolly covered with nobbly multi-coloured hundreds and thousands. I was delighted with my BIG CHIEF and hastily ripped off the paper and started licking away on it like my life depended on it sat on a deck chair in the garden. Life seemed pretty BLOODY good at that moment I can tell you….I had a lolly…and my Mum was coming home (albeit just for the day)
After a while I got to thinking that my Mum might like to try a bit of my BIG CHIEF! I went inside and told my Dad I wanted to save a bit of the lolly for my Mum. I put it carefully in the little ice-box at the top of our fridge next to the fish fingers and went back outside in the garden to play and to wait for the back gate to open and Mum and Uncle Des to come walking up the garden path towards the house. I wanted to be there to greet her and run into her arms the very moment she arrived. I watched that gate like a hawk I did the entire morning!
That lolly was on my mind though. I was boiling hot and that lolly was so cold and tasty. I went back inside and told my Dad I might just take a few more licks. And that’s what I did! I licked and licked until it was about half gone and then put it back in the ice-box for Mum. I was sure she would love the BIG CHIEF as much as I did.
Inevitably after a while the lolly called to me again from the ice-box….”eat me…eat me…eat me….come on…just one more lick!” I was drawn to that lolly like bees to a flower in the sunshine of the morning!
The BIG CHIEF was just a tiny blob of strawberry goo looking all sad on it’s little wooden stick…hardly worth saving now…so I popped the final bit in my mouth just as Dad came into the kitchen with the mop….
“Oh!...it’s all gone…I thought you were saving a bit of your BIG CHIEF for your Mummy?”
“It’s alright Dad…she can smell my breath!”
My Dad laughed and ruffled up my hair…
“Go and wait in the garden then…I’m sure she’ll want to smell your breath the minute she get’s here!”
So I went back out into the garden to wait…grinning from ear to ear I was...and sure enough after a while the back gate opened…but Uncle Des was on his own…my Mummy hadn’t wanted to come.
Love Alma xxx