Susan Spess Shay

Still playing make believe.


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Sit Down and Stay Clean

When I was growing up, Mom, like most of my friends’ moms, stayed home. But she wasn’t a sleep in and take it easy woman. Every morning she was up (usually first) cooking breakfast for us.

I could gain weight just imagining those breakfasts.

Biscuits and gravy was my favorite, but depending on what was in the larder (or what we’d recently butchered) we had eggs (usually fried) pancakes, waffles, squaw bread, bacon, sausage, pork chops and fresh side (uncured bacon.)

But Sunday mornings were a little bit crazy in the Spess house. To start with, Mama slept late–8:00. Okay, that’s not very late to most people, but for Mom, it was. That was the one day of the week when she didn’t cook breakfast.

Sunday mornings we had cereal and Sara Lee Coffee Cake (I’m hungry now just thinking about it) because Sunday mornings she had to get her kids ready for church. Brother Jeffrey wasn’t difficult to get ready since his hair was always fairly short. At least it never got much past his ears. 🙂

By the time Deb and I were old enough to pretty much get ourselves ready, we had three younger sibs who were very close in age and we all had long hair. So on Saturday, Mom washed our hair in the kitchen sink, rolled it up and we sat under the dryer while she did the next sister’s hair.

Do I need to mention we had a lot of rollers? (aka-curlers) A whole big drawer full! Half the time we couldn’t find enough picks (kept the rollers from unrolling) but curlers we had.

So Sunday morning, we’d eat our cereal, get dressed, and then Mom would do our hair. I remember when she had a baby once and was in the hospital over Sunday. When she fixed my hair the next Sunday, she mentioned that my part had been crooked the week before. (Someone ratted me out for having less than perfect hair!)

Once we were ready she’d say, “Sit down and stay clean until we’re ready to go.”

As we got older, we started doing our own hair. And choosing our own clothes–but it always something special that we saved for dress up. When we were ready, Mom still checked us out to make sure we looked okay before we headed out the door.

I have a feeling if she were here today, she’d look me over, probably tell me to put on a dress, then tell me to sit down and stay clean until we’re ready to go.

Boy, I’d like to have Mama pass me a slice of Sara Lee right now.

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