Thursday, April 9, 2015

Things Remembered #HAWMC


I never got around to posting yesterday for HAWMC so I will go ahead and post two HAWMC posts today.

Today’s topic is to blog about an item I’ve kept that reminds me of a time in my life, whether good or bad. I went with the first thing that popped into my mind—the dogs pictured above.

They remind me specifically of a woman named Ethel, who was always old to me, when I was a child. These dogs always sat on a shelf in her living room. My mom did a lot of things for her like running her errands, taking her to doctor’s appointments, going shopping, picking her up for our church meetings, and just checking in on her to chat. I loved to tag along with my mom anywhere she went, so during the summers and when I wasn’t in school I would go along with them.

While my mom helped out or chatted, I remember loving to look at all of the things on her shelves while I listened to them chat. She had so many trinkets and interesting things, but I especially liked these dogs.

She would also hire me to come over and clean for her and that made me feel pretty important as a child. To this day, I cannot dust my living room without feeling guilty for not dusting the legs of my coffee table. She taught me the proper way to dust—which was to remove every single item from the surface, dust each item, and dust the table. You must not forget to dust the legs of the tables. The same concept applied for the shelves in her living room and so I dusted these dogs many a time. She was a far better housekeeper in her day than I am, that’s for sure!

Sometimes she would invite us over for a dinner that she labored hard over. She made the most delicious pies—chocolate, lemon merengue and I remember a red velvet cake before they were popular. She would have homemade rolls, jams, fresh berries and veggies from her garden, fresh canned pickles, and home style foods. Her food always tasted good.

It was from her that I learned of growing old. I remember finding a butter wrapper in a piece of pie when she got to the point where she couldn’t see well and my mom telling me not to say anything but to simply complement her on how good the pie was. There was the time she used cayenne pepper instead of cinnamon in her famous cinnamon rolls, or the time she used salt instead of sugar. I remember feeling incredibly sad in these moments.

And then she had to go to a nursing home and when we visited she wasn’t really Ethel anymore. Her mind was gone. Instead of the smell of freshly baked bread that so often filled her home, her new home smelled of stale coffee and urine—and it was heartbreaking. I remember asking her for the recipe to her chocolate pie and she told me the most absurd ingredients—so I never got that recipe, but she felt special for being asked.

I saw my mom comb and braid her hair for her and pull the whiskers from her chin so that she could maintain a sense of pride. She would lay a blanket over her shoulders for her because she was cold. She would spoon feed her broth to try to get her to eat.

And then one day, my mom asked if there was anything that I wanted from her house to remember her by—and I chose these dogs. Her family didn’t want them, so they were mine. Every time I see these dogs I am reminded of Ethel, but I am also reminded of the lessons I learned from seeing my mom take care of a friend.


  1. What a beautiful memory. :-)

  2. I have similar memories from my childhood of a woman named Roxie. :)

  3. Your memories never cease to amaze me 😉. All the details and everything.



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