As our family enlarged due to the marriage of our Dad and Beatrice, we gained our new brother (Kevin) and new sister (Sissy) from Beatrice’s previous marriage. With six mouths to feed now, cooking had become a daunting task. Beatrice let it be known quite often that she did not find cooking for a large family one of life’s pleasantries. In fact, quite the opposite.
Since Dad was not hard to please and would eat whatever was put in front of him, she could get by with serving tomato soup and deli sandwiches. Just like Mother, the offering of fruit was never found on our table. We were lucky to get an occasional vegetable that wasn’t from the potato family.
Every time Beatrice ventured out to the grocery store, she returned with the same refrain, delivered in a very matter of fact voice each and every time:
These groceries need to last. Do not gobble up everything in one or two days. Otherwise I will be without the necessary ingredients to make meals for all of you.
Then she would deliver her parting shot on her way out of the kitchen:
It doesn’t seem to matter how many bags of groceries I bring into this house, you kids eat them all up.
Now, isn’t that the point of bringing food into your house, to consume the food? I often wondered if she wanted us to let the food go bad and then be forced to throw it out. Again, as with Mother, logic was not one of Beatrice’s strong suits.
Since we enjoyed eating and had a few extra pounds on our bodies at various times, one would assume we were chow hounds. That point would be true. To this day, we still all enjoy food but have learned the lesson of all things in moderation. Well, most of the time anyway.
Mary and Beatrice were both sneak eaters and although the pounds often piled on, they insisted they were watching what they ate and wished we would do so also (basically subtly saying to each of us, “Hey Fat Ass! You’re really putting on the pounds.”). From the Bismarck Puffs to the miniature Reese’s peanut butter cups to the Fannie May boxes filled with delightful chocolates, we knew all the tricks and the so-called secret hiding places.
Depending on how brazen we were, we would get into the stash of forbidden goodies and believed the punishment would be worth it.
These two women taught us many tricks and lessons. Some were not meant to be emulated. The best lesson of all was that no matter what, Abby, Sissy, Kevin and I stick together through thick and thin as we grew up Far From Normal. And without a doubt, if there is a problem, chocolate can always help!