The Zombies Ate My Brains

Rescuing what might remain of the grey matter.

Curse you, WordPress!

Evil, that’s what you are, just plain evil!

Get thee behind me Sugar!

Here I am, trying to limit sugar and fat intake. I’m trying to get out for walks but not having a whole lot of success in the output department. I’ve got excuses. I’m trying.

I know what Yoda says. “No. Try not. Do… or do not. There is no try.”

Yeah, well. Yoda? Easy for you to say, that is. .

tthppbhbpbh

tthppbhbpbh

sigh

OK, let’s get on with this then.

Mom did not bring store-bought candies or snacks into the house. She baked pies and cookies and cakes. She preserved fruit. We always had dessert at dinner. However, the only time we had candy or chips was at Hallowe’en or Easter. Uncle Bob was always good for a box of Turtles at Christmas; he happened to work at Smiles and Chuckles, the candy factory. Otherwise, all of our pleading and wheedling for “real” candy and treats fell on deaf ears.

I took matters into my own hands. I stole money from my mother’s wallet to buy candy. Every lunch hour while she was upstairs reapplying makeup, I’d sneak into her purse and grab a handful of loose change.

In the late afternoon, after I finished my paper route, I went to the corner store and bought a fistful of penny candy. The bulging brown paper sack was a trophy, its weight more satisfying than the contents which I scarfed down on the walk home.

This is 1967 or thereabouts.  I was eleven years old. I knew better. I was a good Lutheran girl, I was fully aware of the “thou shalt nots.” That did not stop me.

Nor did the image of mom sitting with her head in her hands, despairing over the household account ledger. The bailiff was about to threaten eviction. I am not suggesting that the red ink was entirely due to the lunchtime robberies, but the loss of ten dollars a week was a significant amount in those days. Did Mom suspect me? I’ll never know. At the time I thought for certain that she did. I lived in fear of the confrontation.

One Saturday morning when mom was vacuuming my room she poked at my book bag. It was zipped shut and stuffed with brown paper bags and candy wrappers.

She turned to me and more angry than curious asked “What’s in there?”

“Nothing.” A whimper.

And she let it go.

Maybe she was afraid of the confrontation, too.

When I sat down to write this morning, I had no idea that my thieving ways would be the topic of this post. Way up there around the sigh I had every intention of listing all of the sweets that I enjoy and allowing that I really do not have a favourite. By way of settling on something, I planned to reprint a recipe for custard. It’s a recipe from an acquaintance who kept chickens. I have never tasted better custard than hers, made with fresh eggs.

Custard

Egg custard is a food I turn to when I need comfort. When I was a girl, I turned to candy. Not for comfort, but for power.

Now that I’ve shared this here, I sense I have managed to find both.

As my WordPress friend Frankie says,

Thanks for reading.

PS – WordPress, I take it back. You are not evil. Cagey, maybe. I’m grateful for the prompt that led to this work. Thanks.

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Categories: Food, Mom and Dad

Tags: , , , , ,

40 replies

  1. I stole too, from Mom’s purse and (gulp) Grandma’s stash that she kept in a hymnal. Anything for sugar! Oh, the shame!

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  2. Fabulous, Maggie: funny and touching and oh so familiar! I went through a phase of shop-lifting to cope with my craving for sweets. My next sister down and I went on this mini crime heist for a week or so, until we were caught red-handed, marched into the shop by a livid Matriarch (hissing and fluffing her feathers like an enraged goose). Most embarrassing! xxx

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  3. For shame! 😉
    Great story! Thanks for sharing.

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  4. I stole from my Mom’s purse too, but for money for lunch. Which was usually awesomely bad crap from the vending machine (oh Honey Buns, why, WHY do you have to be so cakey, so sweet, so gooey!).

    I like that you included the recipe for Egg Custard. That looks delish! I’m going to have to try it.

    Thanks for the fun read! 🙂

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    • OK. I’ve been carrying this thing with me for… what? over 45 years and now I find out that it’s a common practice to pilfer mom’s purse? I don’t know whether to laugh or cry! 🙂 Glad you enjoyed, and hope the custard turns out for you!

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  5. I didn’t steal from Mom’s purse — she’d have known instantly. I just stole packs of cigarettes directly from the store. Uh, for a while….

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  6. Hi Maggie, don’t feel bad. In fact I’m just back from pilfering my mother’s purse, just now. 🙂
    And I’m 43!
    Kidding! 🙂
    Your thought pattern when writing feels familiar. I start writing with it all worked out and then it goes elsewhere. You are an expert at the ‘wasn’t expecting that’ storyline, intentional or not.
    Thanks a million for the mention my friend. I didn’t see that coming.

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  7. OMG, I can’t keep up with you… sigh

    Love this… love the flow… love the reveal… not so in love with how many stories you have thus sparked in the wormhole… Good grief woman!

    For now, YOU ARE NOT ALONE IN THE THIEVERY/CANDY SNEAKING DEPT. Like by a mile. As in, I bet 4 out of 5 dentists know that 9 out of 10 of their patients are in the thievery/candy sneaking habit. Or, you know, were. Once upon a time.

    s/MjK

    Having now done the math (thanks for the hint!), it’s amazing how much we have in common and think alike given that there is nearly a decade difference in our ages. :>

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  8. I was dumbstruck to learn as a child that many of my friends and acquaintances who loved their parents stole money from them anyway. My own sister admitted to it–and later, I found out she had stolen from me, as well. In college, as an experiment, I did shoplift one pair of earrings–a pair I did not like or want–from a store. I felt extremely guilty for years afterward.

    However, cannot claim holier-than-thou status: Had no difficulty justifying the “lifting” of food items from the dining hall for later consumption in my room, or to eat on weekends tho’ I was paying for only the weekday meals. I once managed to walk out with an entire sheet cake–german chocolate

    Sadly, got caught borrowing a mere spoon to stir my tea (yes–really! only borrowing it for the weekend, with full intention to return it. Really, your honor!).

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    • That right there is why I enjoy this WP thing. I find comfort in knowing I’m not alone. Seriously, I’ve never told anyone about this until this post – out of deep shame. There is a temptation to allow myself total pardon on the basis that these childhood “transgressions” are typical. I guess I need to settle somewhere in the area of “not one of us is perfect” and manage to find acceptance / forgiveness.
      An entire sheet cake?? German Chocolate???? I’ll be right there. I’ll bring my own cutlery!

      Like

Trackbacks

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