Mondays & Memories of My Mom – Blessings In Disguise

Thank God it’s Monday. I love Mondays, as they’re my 52 Chances a year, in which I get to share Memories of My Mom with you! Therefore, happy Monday.


It’s summer break – what students see as 12 weeks of freedom from schoolwork. Nowadays, it’s the time in which most families take long vacations together – I remember our family trips to Cedar Point (OH), Niagara Falls (Ontario), and Mackinac Island (MI), just to name a few, but it wasn’t always all play and no work.

Supposedly, summer breaks from school began in the late 1800s, when most of our nation were farmers, so families could harvest their summer crops. Time Magazine once referred to the school calendar as “a legacy of the farm economy”. However, others debunk that claim.

Mom referred to summer break as a mentally, emotionally, and physically draining test of her endurance. But Mom loved to spin a yarn – not necessarily for crocheting. This week’s blog post is mostly from Mom’s “memories” – as seen in her syndicated column, “No Laughing Matter” (Circa 1970s and 1980s)…


As seen in…

Gloria Pitzer’s “No Laughing Matter” Column (Secret Recipes, St. Clair, MI; Circa 1980s)


EVER SINCE OUR FIVE children have grown up and left the nest to follow their own lives, I’ve been going back in my memories to those days when they were little, and a well-meaning and dear aunt warned me often to love them while they were small because they grew up so fast!

Frankly, I didn’t think they were ever going to grow up. It was during a time when their father and I noticed that the children were outnumbering us, that we found ourselves walking around, asking the question: “what did we ever do to deserve them?”

I mean, we asked everybody – the milkman, the Fuller Brush man, my Avon lady, even that nice person who came to the door, collecting for Mental Health Week!

The closest we ever came to finding an answer was when we both realized we had once promised to love each other “for better or for worse” and figured that was the part that covered having children!

When we were much younger and both glowing with muscle tone and energy, Paul and I thought we knew everything; but having had five children, we now realize that it is what you learn AFTER you know it all that counts!

Frankly, it used to upset me to even talk about children but what else was there for a group of mothers who met in the neighborhood every morning for coffee and conversation.

We were conditioned to concentrate on our position in our homes, minding our hearths and little hearts, which is what mothers in the [1950s and 1960s] did. We were not yet emancipated beyond the home front, in the days during which we raised our children.

And even today, I don’t think motherly feelings have changed all that much, even though their individual activities and privileges and choices have changed a great deal.

We exchanged stories over coffee about the same kids who, when you would install a water cooler next to their beds, still woke you up at 2 AM to tell you they were out of paper cups.

The children, I am sure, felt that parents were invented so that kids could have something to grow up to complain about. They thought Yogi was what you got from eating too much yogurt. If a mother couldn’t say anything else about her children, [she] could at least swear that they were dependable – always there when they needed us.

You had only to meet the kids in our neighborhood to know that the voices crying in the wilderness usually turned out to be one of our kids with a transistor radio affixed to his ear! However, we were then more concerned about a movement that was quickly gaining momentum called the new Child’s Liberation Movement.

The person who conceived that idea probably wouldn’t have bothered if he had ever had to fight for custody of his own TV Guide in his very own living room with five children who claimed, “possession was nine points of the law.”



As seen in…

Gloria Pitzer’s “No Laughing Matter” Column (Secret Recipes, St. Clair, MI; Circa 1980s)


THE TROUBLE WITH CHILDREN being a blessing in disguise, is that you have to wait until they’ve grown up to realize that they were, when they were small. The Child’s Liberation Movement tickled me when I first heard about it, because I just knew that the founder of that organization had a completely unrealistic approach to the matter.

He probably never had to make an appointment to use his own here dryer, as I had two wooden we had five teenagers at home – nor did he have to explain to an $18-an-hour plumber how G.I. Joe’s head got caught in the sink trap.

He probably never had to watch his own five-year old bathe the neighbor’s cat in your very own Bathtique Bath Oil Beads or sought solace in a dentist’s chair, even when you didn’t need a filling because it was the only chance you had to sit down!

If children, however, were to crusade for their own liberation cause, then as a parent, I would have had to claim equal rights with them. I would’ve wanted to be tucked into bed at night and have somebody listen to my prayers for a change – and believe me, when I was saying my prayers as the children were growing up, I made an emphatic and urgent please with our Heavenly Father to send more patients!

And I would insist on having it right away, too! But with equal rights with liberated children, I could also claim a tummy ache to avoid those awful “meet-the-teacher” nights, when nothing would scandalize you more as a mother who didn’t care, then not showing up to find out from a teacher, what you already knew or even suspected about your blessings in disguise!

And in the liberation equality matter, I would also like to have had somebody to tie my shoelaces, defend me to a neighbor who said I was wild, and be allowed to wear ragged blue jeans and headbands to the A&P, without feeling I was being gawked at by respectable citizens.

I would want somebody to cut my meatloaf into tiny pieces for me and excuse me from eating broccoli and talk to the principal in my behalf when I was drafted to ride shotgun on a school bus or summoned to play ground monitoring during a teachers’ strike.

I would even like to have had a grandma to run to when Daddy wouldn’t let me have a new pantsuit or paste pictures of Paul Newman to our bedroom ceiling!

I’d like somebody to pick up all of my close after me, make me take a nap every afternoon, and call me into supper when it was ready but that was probably not considered when the Child’s Liberation Movement was founded.

Whenever I hear of “child abuse” I automatically think of a child who abuses a parent, when it is the other way around. I think of all of those 20-some years, when I was always there and could always be depended upon, when the five children needed me.

During those times, the sacrifices that parents made of our own generation were not unlike what our parents made for us, in their own way; only ours expected more consideration and respect from us then we asked of our children.

When my father raised his finger and pointed it at me, with a look of absolute sternness on his face, I knew then it was too late!

If our own kids were ever to be liberated, I know that having equal rights with them would have been unreasonable; but the right to know what we ever did to deserve them in the first place – or in the last – still provokes me.

For when they are little, they tug at your apron strings; but when they’re grown up, they tug at your heartstrings. The only thing I did not count on, however, was that while we were always there when they needed US, we never counted on their not being here when we needed THEM! Maybe that is the blessing, after all.


Incidentally, July is National Culinary Arts Month. Kids love to learn how to cook, while home for summer break…

I helped Mom develop a banana bread like Mackinac Island’s Grand Hotel. My sister, Debi, helped her develop an Oreo Cookies’ imitation. My sister, Cheryl, helped her with a pizza imitation. Here’s Mom’s story about my brother’s culinary adventures…


As seen in…

Gloria Pitzer’s “National Home News” Magazine (National Home News, St. Clair, MI; Circa 1979, p. 11)


FOR REASONS THAT DEFY analysis in the law of gravity, my teenager loves to cook. Some of his early creations have been enough to prompt Duncan Hines to turn in his spatula.

While we have seen buildings condemned on less provocation than my son’s new version of pizza, I am compelled by conditioning and [Dr.] Spock to permit him the opportunity to express himself in the realm of culinary creativity.

But then it may be good reason to do the kitchen over. I never did care for basic beige when it comes to peanut butter and fingerprints as a color complementary to the rest of the kitchen to décor.

Once he passed Home Ec., he felt a surge of resplendent confidence with a skillet and wire whisk. Too bad they didn’t cover the elementary steps of cleaning up! But as the teenage “Beaver” explains, “Gee, boy, Mom! You can’t cook and wash things at the same time!”

He can, however, peel a banana with one hand, open a bottle of Coke with the other, and create a sandwich that would make Dagwood Bumstead look like an amateur!

After consistent pleading and a half-hearted promise to consider increasing his allowance, we finally persuaded him to part with a few of his secret recipes [pictured above]. Once your own teenager has tried them, you may wish they had been KEPT a secret!

If basic beige isn’t for you, have your kitchen redecorated. After all, reason is nothing in the face of terror and grief – and Dr. Spock will bless you for your permissiveness!

Thanks for visiting! I hope you’ve enjoyed Mom’s memories from her syndicated column, “No Laughing Matter”. Feel free to email me your questions or comments at [email protected].


In honor of July, being National Blueberry Month and National Ice Cream Month, here’s Mom’s copycat recipes for “Ice Cream Muffins [with Blueberries]” from her “Ice Cream Bread” recipe, also included.

Both are from… Gloria Pitzer’s Cookbook – The Best of the Recipe Detective (Balboa Press; Jan. 2018, p. 163). [A revised reprint of Gloria Pitzer’s Better Cookery Cookbook (Secret RecipesTM, St. Clair, MI; May 1983, 3rd Edition).] Asking only for proper credit if you care to share it.




P.S. Food-for-thought until next Monday…


July’s observes: National Baked Bean Month, National Grilling Month, National Horseradish Month, National Hot Dog Month, National Independent Retailer Month, National Picnic Month, and National Peach Month.

Today is also… National Freezer Pop Day and National Chocolate with Almonds Day.

Tomorrow is… National Sugar Cookie Day.

Wednesday, July 10th, is… National Pina Colada Day.

Thursday, July 11th, is… National Rainier Cherry Day, National Blueberry Muffin Day, and National Mojito Day.

Friday, July 12th, is… National Pecan Pie Day and Eat Your Jell-O Day.

Saturday, July 13th, is… National French Fry Day, National Beans ‘N’ Franks Day, and National Delaware Day.

July 14th is… National Grand Marnier Day and National Mac & Cheese Day.


…28 down and 24 to go!

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