I have been cleaning a few drawers out, etc. and I found a story I wrote in 1968! I took Journalism all 4 years of high school and loved working on the school paper and annuals. I would love to have had the ability to write a book or short stories. So one winter day in 1968 I sat down at my old typewriter and wrote a short story and was going to send it to a magazine that actually printed short stories that people would send in. I seem to think it was Good Housekeeping but am not sure. Anyway, I sat down and read it and had to laugh. There were a lot of misspelled words and typos. (No spell check back then) But I re-typed it and thought I would post it here. I wrote it the first winter after we had moved to the northwest corner of Washington. So here it is.
JUST ANOTHER DAY
Awaking to that horrible buzzing sound only an alarm clock can make, I burrowed a little more under the delicious warmness of the electric blanket. I waited until the last possible moment to get out of my warm nest and grabbing the clothes I had worn the day before, I staggered out to turn the furnace up and get dressed. The outside thermometer read 19°, I noticed as I plugged the coffee pot in. We are new to this part of Washington and had not become accustomed to the northeasters that we had heard so much about. The temperature might not be any colder than in other areas but when that wind hits, you feel as if it is going right through you.
Kristi our nine year old had gotten her legs chapped over the weekend and I had decided, rules or no rules, she was not going to wear a mini dress to school till the weather changed for the better. She had gotten so tall the past few months, I am afraid she only has two pair of long pants that don’t fit her mid-calf. So I decided to put a load of wash in so she could wear a pair of genes that she had worn over the week end. Knowing good and well she is not supposed to wear these two pair except for good, she wore both pair out skating on the ice Saturday. And for some reason when she skates, the seat of her pants is what gets dirty.
As I was cutting grapefruit, buttering toast and trying to get the bacon at that just right stage, not limp and greasy and not brittle and black, trying to get 3 kids out of bed and letting the dog out for her duty, I noticed a funny splattering sound coming from the utility room. Sliding out into the soapy mess all over the floor, my husband comes out of the bathroom with a half shaved face and declares, “Looks like the washer drain might be frozen.” About that time, Kristi comes out of her room asking when her jeans will be dry. “I’m sorry, but the washer won’t work, and you will have to wear another pair.” I say as sweetly as I possibly can so early in the morning. But knowing Kristi (Miss Temper of 1968) off she goes in a huff, slamming her door.
After trying to get my husband fed so he can get off to work, my oldest boy, Mike (10) brings out his long underwear that he had been wearing for the past five years. Now, I admit they were awfully short, but he didn’t have to throw them on the floor, yelling “What can I wear to keep warm?” So I say, “Well, maybe Steve (7) can wear these.” Well, these two boys are not built like brothers. Mike is built like his Dad, the after picture in these body building ads, but Steve, poor little tyke, resembles the before picture! Good natured Steve tries them on, but Mike has them so stretched out, they keep slipping down and bunching up in the seat of his jeans. So that idea went the way most of my ideas go...out the door.
My husband has finished eating his breakfast and getting his car warmed up is now hunting for a stocking hat. Now we must have at least 10 of those little knitted head warmers around, but come this times when someone needs one...they have all disappeared. So taking another sip of coffee on the run, I start digging in places only kids could throw a hat. I found one in the dirty clothes hamper one in the back of the truck and one in the garage under a half frozen boot. So all 3 men had head warmers to go on their way with. Where the other 7 hats are, no one knows.
About that time, Kristi comes out of her room with cut-offs on. How do you explain to a 9 year old that the teacher will not understand wearing cut-offs when her legs are chapped. Wow, this really set her off, running down the hall. Slam!!!
My kids never seem to all want the same thing for breakfast. Mike declares he wants french toast, Steve wants Maypo and all I can hear from Kris’s room are drawers slamming and muttering. Going to her room to try to console her a little, I find the other pair of pants that fit her. They are only a little mussed after being under the bed. By this time, my good humor is shot. So I start a little of my own screeching. “You’re gonna have to wear these pants today, whether you like it or not. The other pair is in the washer and I will have to rinse them out by hand and wring them out by hand before I can dry them. Then you can wear them tomorrow. It’s not my fault the washer is frozen, so quit taking it out on me. You’ve got exactly 5 minutes to finish getting dressed and get out to the kitchen.”
After all my little darlings get fed, teeth brushed, faces washed and hair combed, we start the little game of “Where are your boots?” Mike goes out to the garage and finds parts of four different pair of boots. So that leaves it to Mother to go out and try to find three whole pair. Of course, Kristi had worn her fur lined snow boots Sunday while trying to see who could walk in the deepest snow drift. Well, half of that snow drift was still in her boot, frozen stiff. But she doesn't want to wear her barn boots, so she timidly puts her foot into the snow boot. And decided it wasn't too bad!
They are all off and I could scream or cry or both. But I decide a cup of coffee might do me more good. I pour another cup of that wonderful brew only Mother's can appreciate. Now, I know I can't wash unless I go to the laundromat and the weatherman predicts more snow in our area, so that is out….But I have a lovely pile of mending that is waiting very patiently for me so I might as well get that done. These kids, (and their Dad) can split more things out than you can imagine. But after I get the seat of one pair of jeans put back together with the magic of my Singer, I reach for my brand new pair of sewing scissors. BUT they are missing. My old pair of sewing scissors cut more paper, tin, feathers, wire and anything else you know kids can cut that they were shot with a capital S. So two weeks ago I had very proudly bought a pair of good, new sewing scissors with a warning to the entire family. “I will put the old scissors in a kitchen drawer and you can cut anything anytime with them, but nobody, but NOBODY dare touch my new ones.” I go to the kitchen drawer where the old ones are nestled right where they were supposed to be, between the stapler and the Elmer's Glue. But Mother's nice shiny new ones that you can use one-handed are no where to be seen. I start searching through all the drawers in the house and garage, but I guess where they are will remain a secret until the family gets home tonight. But I am quite sure that they are all perfectly innocent. (Until I prove them guilty!) It is funny how sometimes something so little like a pair of scissors will set me off but that was the last straw and I found a little cry never hurt anyone. Fact the matter, it does you good once in awhile. Kinda clears out your sinuses.
But to top it all, when I struggled out through a blizzard of snow and wind (for once the weatherman was right) to get the mail, here waiting for me in the mail box was the summer catalog from Sears & Roebucks. It does seem that they could pick a little nicer day, doesn't it?
So I sit down with another cup of coffee and look at swim suits!
This was back in the day when rural people ordered half of the things they used from the Sears and Roebuck catalog, which was a big thick book with anything you might need.
After reading this you will realize why I never became an author! But I did get to blow off some steam and got a laugh out of it 48 years later.
Back to work. Hope you enjoy my little story of a regular winter morning in 1968 trying to get 3 kids off to school!