Indeed, if she wasn't so busy being a
But since she is so over-scheduled, we will skip the book and hit the highlights.
First, there are functions of the Body. Yes, that Matron cuts right to the chase, does she not? When the Matron was a Young Miss and about 9 years old, her Mother found her reading this:
Are You There, God? It's Me, Margaret.
Seizing the moment, the Mother took this opportunity to give the Young Miss her most intensive, intimate discussion of Body and its functions, ever.
Mother: "Did you read the part about where she gets her period?"
Young Miss: "Yes!"
Mother: "Well, that's all true. Isn't it past your bedtime?"
Things picked up quickly after that. Later that same year, the Young Miss stumbled across this book.
Because this was a 'grown-up' book and Young Miss generally compliant (then), she asked her mother if she could read said text. The Mother flipped through same pages and gave Hard Thought.
Mother: "Yes. Actually, it's a good idea to read this. Everything you need to know about sex is in this book. It's good, it's beautiful, it's true."
That was the complete sum total of discussion regarding sex. To this day, the Matron recalls "it's good, it's beautiful, it's true" and remains puzzled. The book or sex?
Brief digression to the next book the Young Miss stumbled upon:
Rather than ask for permission to read what she knew would be forbidden, Young Miss hid the goods under her mattress and did the most dangerous thing in the entire Universe: that nine-year old read The Exorcist at night, in the dark, with a flashlight in a bed (that could start shaking at any second).
For better or worse, those two books shaped her world view. Lest one take that statement in jest, remember that she named her only daughter, Scarlett.
Another slice of life that didn't enter the Mother's radar was this:
The Young Miss was raised by a single mother who seemed pretty happy with the adjective, single. Indeed, not only was there no dating or romance, there was a fierce and significant silence surrounding the entire topic of the Opposite Sex.
This one-time conversation took place just before the Young Miss left for college.
Mother: "You're living in a co-ed dorm?"
Young Miss: "Yes!"
Mother: "I guess you can just go ahead and shack up with somebody right away then, huh?"
Thus schooled in elements of good decisions and sound judgment, the Young Miss pretty much did just that.
While in college, Young Miss also signed on for Counseling Services, of which she was very much in need (considering all that sound judgment). During one session, she made an offhand comment about her hair, drying split ends and all that.
Counselor: "Why don't you use conditioner on your hair?"
Young Miss: "Conditioner?"
True! Young Miss missed that lecture on personal hygiene. Other topics would include shaving your legs and wearing underwear when you ovulate.
While some children may learn basic culinary arts in their mother's kitchen, one Thanksgiving Young Miss feasted on this:
She remembers going home with a friend from college and being puzzled by the Martian-like entities cluttering the kitchen counter.
Friend: "Mary, that's squash."
Young Miss (in Foreign Tongue): "S-q-u-a-s-h. "
Friend: "Haven't you ever seen squash? You know, you cut them open and bake them?"
Young Miss: "With a knife or some kind of saw?"
Before the Young Miss met her future husband, she thought the following items were as close to home-grown, real food as it could possibly get. Indeed, John is fond of reminding her that when they met, this was all she had in her cupboard:
While the Matron's culinary skills--and palate--have greatly expanded, remnants of childhood render her unable to cook these without setting off all of the downstairs fire alarms:
Matron: "What do you guys want for breakfast?"
Stryker: "Where's Dad?"
Matron: "I can make pancakes."
Scarlett: "I want Daddy."
Merrick: "Me need Daddy."
Matron: "I can make pancakes."
Stryker: "No offense, Mom, but we'd rather you didn't."
Nary a cooking secret was divined to that Young Miss, although rumor has it that her sister learned how to make peanut butter cookies.
Because we are just hitting the highlights (and--big secret! The Matron has a self-imposed rule: no more than 30 blogging minutes a day and that timer has been ringing), here's the final entry.
Generally speaking, if you were a single mother of three in 1967 (especially one whose former husband pretended to sell encyclopedias for a living) you were not exactly raking in the dough.
Indeed, you would be engaged in Desperate Struggle for Survival.
Such struggle rendered money both desirable and utterly unfathomable to Young Miss.
Remember the wise college counselor?
Young Miss: "Well, I have to go now because I have to walk a mile to the bank for a money order."
Counselor: "Money order? Haven't you ever considered getting a checking account?"
Young Miss: "You mean, the kind of thing that comes with a checkbook?"
When the Young Miss and her future husband joined households, she routinely wept over the state of her banking account.
Young Miss: "No! I can't write that check! That will make me overdrawn by $22."
John: "How can that be? The bank statement says you have $4,5601.35 in your account?!"
Young Miss: "Don't trust them. I'm broke."
John took the Young Miss and a decade's worth of bank statements to the actual institution (in the days when people would sit down and look you in the face) and there uncovered the truth about his beloved's bookkeeping methods.
Bank Clerk: "Mary. You actually do have $4,5601.35 in your checking account."
Young Miss: "Mine says minus $22."
Because for ten years, the Young Miss rounded numbers. If she wrote a check for $13.82, she subtracted $15. from her account. Deposit $367? Better make that an even $300, just to be safe.
Guess who manages the money in her current household?
Now that she is a mother herself, the Matron is certain she is cutting her own corners and has already forgotten Vital Life Lessons she planned to instill in her children while she was just pregnant with them, not actually confronted with the real breathing creatures -- whose simple maintenance (eat, bathe, don't cause undue injury to sibling) leaves her in a state of shock and exhaustion.
She's certain she's doing her part to insure that some day, years from now, her children will chortle and snort over what they missed out on! Those poor dears. But she is already nailing those discussions (multiple! frequent!) regarding sex. (as God is my witness, I will never go hungry -- or perpetuate fear of Bodily Function, all sort -- again!)
The Matron can't even imagine what that would be like--to miss out on a vita life lesson-- now, can she?
Things your mother forgot to teach you, or lessons you're planning to skip?