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MOSTLY MEMORIES
Wednesday, July 8, 2009 • Posted July 8, 2009

Oatmeal and Jelly Glassware

My mother, bless her heart, ate oatmeal for breakfast all of her life and we kids often attributed her longevity of near 96 years to that fact alone. Throughout our childhood we were fed that damned stuff every morning whether we wanted it or not. Now I call it “damned stuff” because the way Mama prepared it there was no other appropriate name for it.

Back in the late years of the 19-teens and the early 1920’s Mama taught us to make paste for our school books and activities out of flour and water and we always jokingly told her that her oatmeal was a far better glue. She liked to cook that stuff until it was thick and gooey and no amount of begging could get her to prepare it any other way.

When Mama was in her early 90’s and came to visit with Alma and me for the first time, I told Alma of Mama’s fondness for oatmeal. On the first morning of her visit Alma prepared oatmeal (the 3 minute kind) and put some of it in a bowl for Mama. Mama looked at it, stirred it with her spoon, gave a discontented grunt, got up and poured it back into the pot and cooked it until it arrived at the consistency of glue that she really liked.

Oatmeal not only provided an economical meal for those who would eat it but it supplied Mama with her coffee china, for in those days each box contained a coffee cup or saucer. And, if my memory serves me correctly, those women desiring a set of 6, 8 or 12 had to buy a lot of oatmeal in order to get a full set before the oatmeal people changed patterns.

I have been asking friends (the old ones) if they could recall any other product that enclosed prizes in their product boxes. Thus far oatmeal seems to be the only one remembered for prizes, however, all did remember those JELLIES and JAMS that supplied the housewife with her everyday glassware. Mama prepared most of her jams, jellies and preserves and she put them up in pint and quart fruit jars. Consequently she was frequently called upon to buy jams and jellies from the grocery stores in order to replenish her everyday glassware. While water tumblers (as they are called) were preferred for Sunday dinners and for company, the jelly and jam glasses, as far as I can recall, were socially acceptable within the “unwashed” society of the poor and middle-class.

My memory does not bring back a set of “water tumblers” that Mama may have had for Sunday usage, however, as proud as she was I am confident that she had some, But the jelly and jam glasses I remember well.

Looking back to those days I understand that not only are the “sins of our fathers” passed on to the following generations but also the habits of the mothers. For, after getting married, my young wife and I, having become accustomed to this glassware in our youth, continued for many years to “dance with the ones who brung us.”

You have heard me say that we (our family) were poor, and that was true insofar as money went, but even with nine mouths to feed we never went hungry because of the home products from our garden. our chickens, cows and hogs. So I will end this saga from the past by saying that while our home products kept our larders filled with eatables, it was the oatmeal and jelly manufacturers who kept Mama’s kitchen cabinet full of everyday cups, saucers and glassware.

    ******

Footnote:

THE THINGS WOMEN ASK:

Here are the 5 toughest questions women ask their husbands and some

of the proper answers:

1. What are you thinking?

Among the best answers would be: I was just reflecting on what a warm, wonderful, caring and beautiful woman you are and what a lucky guy I am to have met you.

2. Do you love me?

The correct answer of course is “yes.” Those guys who feel the need to be more elaborate could say “yes dear.” Wrong answers include “I suppose so” or “would it make you feel any better if I said yes?”

3. Do I look fat?

Be careful with this one fellows it is loaded — therefore the best answer is an emphatic “No, of course not” and then quickly leave the room. Wrong answers include such statements as “I wouldn’t call you fat, but I wouldn’t call you thin either,” “A little fat looks good on you” or “compared to what?”

4. Do you think she is prettier than me?

The selected answer to this one is “No, you are much prettier”. Wrong answers include “not prettier, just pretty in a different way,” “Yes, but I’ll bet you have a better personality” or “could you repeat the question?”

5. What would you do if I died?

This perhaps is the stupidest question of the lot and can generate more trouble for the husband than any of the others. Should he respond by saying “Why do you ask such a question?” he would then be hit right in the kisser with “Would you remarry?”

His effort to dodge the issue by saying “No, of course not dear” would be followed by “Why, don’t you like being married?” to which he must answer “Of course I do, dear”.

“Then why wouldn’t you remarry?”

If the poor devil says “all right, I guess I would remarry” he is then hit in the jaw with this uppercut, “Would you sleep with her in our bed?”

The exhausted husband then says “Well yes, I suppose I would” and she follows with this right cross that puts him on the ropes “and would you let her wear my clothes?” he covers with “I suppose so, if she wanted to.”

“Would you let her use my golf clubs?” she asks. “Of course not” the poor devil answers. “Why not?” she asks. This being the last straw he gives up and answers “Because, dammit, she is left handed.”

bodenhamer@cebridge.net

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