The Zombies Ate My Brains

Rescuing what might remain of the grey matter.

For Suzanne. And Jean.

For Suzanne

It’s funny, isn’t it, how the universe drops hints as it nudges you forward, backward, toward… I dunno which direction, to tell you the truth. But thanks to Suzanne and her tantalizing post about an intimate encounter with leftover pineapple, I remembered something. Something that at one time would have been very painful to recall, but this year, I completely forgot it.

As is usually the case with my comments on Suzanne’s site, they end up being blog posts of their own. I had intended to tease her about her erotic enjoyment of leftover fruit by directing her to my post that included a 1953 Better Homes and Gardens recipe* for a party platter with this eye-popping centerpiece made entirely of processed ingredients from a can or package. Except for the topper.

As I scanned that entry, my eyes did some popping of their own when I read the opening lines. I think about my mom. Probably more than I realize. Jean died in a car accident almost 27 years ago. Just enough time has passed that the anniversary of her death will go by unnoticed.

Well. That’s an understatement. November 13 is the anniversary date. Now over 30 years ago. But it seems that I was meant to remember this year.

I have my mom’s set, though have needed to replace the blue and the yellow bowls over the years.

The other morning, the kittens were chasing their toys near the microwave stand – it’s an IKEA butcher-block cart with open shelves underneath. That’s where I store the nesting set of colourful Pyrex bowls from my mother’s estate. The cats got close enough to rattle the dishes and Reiner shoo-ed them away.

He said, “It’s funny. I realize that I am fond of these bowls. Know why? Because they are important to you.”

Reiner rarely discloses this sort of sentiment, so his tender statement was all the more touching. And it side-tracked me from thinking about why the bowls were important to me. So, I missed the reminder to recall the anniversary.

In my last post where I poked fun at Madison Ave and the magazine ads from the 40’s and 50’s, Christine shared her opinion of the full-page feminine product ads from the same period, reckoning that she is “scarred for life” what with all those women wearing ball gowns and fake smiles. That brought to mind my mom, again.

Modess Because – Family Circle full-page inside front cover ad May 1958

You see, I was smitten by the mid-century models found in magazine ads and on the packaging of sanitary napkins. Whenever the family went grocery shopping I wandered away to the toiletries aisle. There I stood, transfixed. I stared at the exquisite creatures on the Modess packages until Mom finally dragged me away. It was a good day when she needed to replenish her supply, because I got to carry the box home.

As it turned out, my comments to Christine are time-stamped November 13. The exact anniversary. And still, I did not remember.

So, what to make of this convergence, this roundabout way of recalling my mother? What can I do, to honour her memory?

Sharing a recipe would be a great start, wouldn’t you agree?

*Liver Sausage Pineapple

Mix 1 pound liver sausage with 1 tablespoon lemon juice, 1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce, 1/4 cup mayonnaise. Shape around a jelly glass. Soften 2 teaspoons unflavored gelatin in 2 tablespoons cold water, dissolve over hot water; add 1 cup mayonnaise; chill. Frost “pineapple,” score; stud with sliced stuffed olives. Top with real pineapple top.

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Categories: Mom and Dad

Tags: , , , , ,

39 replies

  1. As always, Maggie, your posts make me misty. It fascinates me the way our brains work to form these links. I find I am often inspired by other people’s posts but unlike you I don’t act on them right away and then its gone. I look forward to retirement so I can get those thoughts down right away. Modess!!! I’d forgotten that brand. See? amazing.

    Liked by 4 people

    • Oh retirement is indeed lovey. 🙂

      I’m the same: If I don’t act on the impulse to respond right away, it doesn’t get written. Even if I make a notation on my “blog ideas” file. About 99% of my writing is spontaneous, in the moment. Not always stellar or well-crafted, but I’m riding the wave, you know?

      Liked by 2 people

  2. I remember the boxes as being “gift” wrapped so no one (really?) knew what was inside. Now when you walk down the aisle there are pictures of various contraptions with wings/without wings, etc. Nice memory of your mom.

    Liked by 3 people

  3. It’s interesting, the things that trigger memories. You mentioning Modess just triggered one for me. My career has been spent in advertising and originally I wanted to be an art director. How I ended up being a copywriter has nothing to do with the memory so I’ll spare you. But it turned out that in my third job I got to work with the only female art director in Montreal (where I’m from but no longer live). Because she was female, the only clients she got to work on were either detergents or feminine hygiene products. Even back then it pissed me off, but now it makes me want to burn my bra all over again!

    Liked by 3 people

    • If you’ve written about how you ended up as copywriter, I’d love a link, Fransi. 🙂

      Have you watched the series “Mad Men” about Madison Ave and the hard-living ad execs? I wonder how that story jives with your experience?

      Liked by 1 person

      • I’ll have to check back. I may have mentioned how I became a copywriter, but I am sure it wasn’t the focus of a blog. Maybe I should do that. I did watch Mad Men in its first year. I stopped watching after that because it pretty much described my first few jobs and I realized I didn’t need to keep watching because I lived it.

        Liked by 2 people

  4. What a difference a “couple” of years make! I remember having a set of those Pyrex bowls back in the day – I still have the green one. That’s the one thing I own my daughter wants to inherit. My son wants my ice cream scoop, which also goes back many years.

    Liked by 2 people

  5. Ahh..memories.

    I have a serving platter buried in the back of my closet, fully loaded with bubble wrap from the move. I’ve not dug it out in the year+ we’ve been in this apartment, and it probably will remain hidden from view until I can assure all and sundry it won’t end up in pieces on the floor…cats being cats, and all.

    It’s shaped like santa – red had, cherry cheeks, full beard. It was made by my grandmother, who dabbled in creativity much like I do. At one time, she had the full set up for ceramics (wheel, clay tools, kiln – the works) and the santa platter is one of my most cherished possessions.

    Liked by 2 people

    • I have to admit that when I heard the bowls clattering I startled. There was the kitten, on the shelf with his toy. You know, cat’s being cats and all, he had to create an extra challenge for himself – knocking the ball about the floor wasn’t satisfying enough. Oh no, he had to take it up on the shelf behind the bowls so he could sneak up on it, all stealthy-like.

      You Santa is very precious, being hand made by your grandmother – and a one of a kind. You are wise to keep him protected.

      Liked by 1 person

  6. I’ve been thinking about my late mother as I’ve been finally sorting through all the stuff in our basement, some of which was hers. I agree that it’s odd about what triggers a memory– and what that memory is. I’d forgotten about Modess– and am grateful that I never ate any of the recipe that you so generously posted above. bleech

    Liked by 3 people

  7. Sweet post . I’m not one for remembering anniversaries. The memories come whenever , and that is fine enough , I think .

    Liked by 3 people

  8. I remember the “your special time” movie we gals had to watch in PE back junior high. I still hate pink (the main “character” wore only pink with pink ribbons in her hair). My father died 13 years ago this month. For some reason, I inherited his argyle socks and yes I do wear them.

    Liked by 3 people

  9. Obviously your mom and the date you lost her are still very important to you, otherwise all these coincidences would mean nothing to you.

    .. but liver sausage pineapple?? I’m with Ally on this one. Pass 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

  10. I love the vibrant colours on those Pyrex bowls and the ad, Maggie. Enjoyed your post. And even though I love herbed liver sausage, I think I’m gonna take a pass on. It’s the mayo. 😀 I’m not a fan.

    Liked by 2 people

  11. Oh my gosh… that recipe sounds awful! Love the bowls, though. And, I love what your husband said about them. So sweet. I have a set of dishes from my mother that I treasure but I don’t use them very often. I’m not sure what I’m waiting for.

    I have noticed that, over the past several years, the anniversary of my mother’s passing has gone unnoticed. My memories of her love, sense of humor, and support have remained strong, though, and I think she would have preferred it that way.

    Liked by 3 people

    • I’m glad that you can relate to not noticing the anniversary.

      For a few years, I felt guilty about that. Partly because it had been a date that I thought I’d never forget. Partly because my brother, who took her passing very, very hard, continues to this day to honor the day. But forgetting the date of the event can in no way be equated to forgetting her.

      Liked by 2 people

  12. I got a nice chuckle on the image of you carrying the dreamy Moddess package. Wasn’t there a old commercial about dreaming something in a maiden form bra?

    Liked by 2 people

  13. I think we still have a few of those bowls. I’ve lost some very important people. I hope I don’t forget them. I’m glad you have these memories and connections.

    Liked by 2 people

  14. Wow… those Pyrex bowls. Great stuff. I wonder if that was considered a reasonable price at the time? My mom had that exact set. The advertisement is fun to look at. – Marty

    Liked by 2 people

  15. Pyrex bowls? Oh, yes! I do love my thrift store finds. My mother died on my daughter’s 5th birthday. So there’s that….

    Liked by 2 people

    • I really enjoy the colourful displays of pyrex in the antique malls – whole walls of avocado green, vermilion, sky blue, and bubblegum pink.

      Yes, I don’t imagine that you’ll likely forget your mom’s date of passing. That must have been an extraordinarily emotional day for you. ❤

      Like

  16. I have a recipe for an olive, chipped beef, and pineapple cheeseball — my mother’s. I almost never make it because when I do, people want the recipe and I’m greedy with recipes, 90% because ownership and 10% copy it your damn self. I would totally try this concoction you’ve posted, but I’ll not make it.
    I have two sets of Pyrex nested mixing bowls. One day I’ll have three, but I hope not for a long, long, time. I will always call them granny bowls. ❤

    Liked by 2 people

    • I hope it’s not for a long, long, time, too.

      So tell me, why do you think the glaze on the faux pineapple looks yellow? Was the the colour of mayo back in the day? Or have the blue shades faded out in this image, giving yellow an unfair advantage?

      Liked by 1 person

      • If it was homemade mayo, it’d be much yellower than store-bought.
        I dunno how old the photo is, but all my childhood photos are yellowed. My father’s family looks jaundiced and my mother’s family looks like they’re trying out for Coppertone commercials and we all have red hair, soooo, the yellowing is surely real.

        Liked by 1 person

  17. I so understand. My Mom passed 37 years ago, just 2 wks before the birth of my first son. In the last five years or so I finally stopped recalling the date but rather struggled to understand the sudden depressive or moody state that would come over me for no apparent reason-until I recalled the date. Finally, in the last few years I find myself not affected. I can recall her most times without the pangs of abandonment and anger with God, with her, the circumstances. My good memories fill me with joy now rather than loneliness.
    A liver pineapple? 😳
    My Mom’s recipe would likely be her Hermit cookies or amazing Fruit Salad.
    Happy Holidays!

    Liked by 2 people

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