Mother never minced words when it came to the pecking order in her life. She was the top dog and we were nothing more than her minions. Mother expected us to wait on her hand and foot, getting her cigarettes, ashtray and special glass filled with “happy juice“. Next she may bellow out to bring her the latest trashy paperback she was reading or some food item from the kitchen. There was no doubt about it, we knew from an early age that her needs and wants trumped ours.
Laundry was done sporadically and only when she was “in the mood”. Same with ironing, cleaning and most other household chores. Apparently, being in the mood only came when she was hopped up on diet pills (speed) or had run out of booze. She believed until her dying day that a clean house was the product of a simple mind. In fact, Mother took great pride in not “wasting her life” by having a well organized and tidy abode.
Growing up with Mother taught my sister and I the importance of never allowing our own homes to be in such disarray that people visiting might assume there had been a tornado just prior to their dropping in. My sister Abby is much more the Betty Crocker to my Galloping Gourmet. Her home is welcoming to one and all and always neat, clean and filled with warmth. I have a more laid back style which does not mean sloppy but more the lived in style. However, if you happen to drop in on either one of us, you can count on us always having food, a warm smile and a never ending pitcher of iced tea.
When my sister and I took the Girl Scout oath, we took it to heart. In the 1947 Girl Scout Handbook, the motto was explained this way:
A Girl Scout is ready to help out wherever she is needed. Willingness to serve is not enough; you must know how to do the job well, even in an emergency.
The same ideas are true today.
Unfortunately our mother was never a Girl Scout.