I'm a little slow today. I just switched to Sanka. So...have a heart?

Monday, January 10, 2011


Between whenever my mom went off maternity leave and when I turned three or four, I had a nanny named "Mom-Mom." Her name was really Francis Schaeffer, but I didn't know that she or her husband, Jim had any other names than "Mom-Mom" and "Pop-Pop." Even after I went to nursery school when I turned three, I spent a lot of time at Mom-Mom's house. I don't really know why. Maybe my nursery school had summer vacation?

Mom-Mom was a first-generation Baltimorean - her parents (Grandma Sobis and Pop-Pop Charlie) had immigrated from Poland. They had a plaster Virgin Mary in their front yard, which was covered in those little stick-feet that ivy leave when they're peeled off of something. I got my first bee sting (on the back of my knee) on their front stoop. Grandma Sobis was the first dead body I ever saw. They lived a couple of blocks away from Mom-Mom. Grandma Sobis had diabetes, and sometimes went into sugar shock and needed orange juice. Or an am'blance. On one of our walks to Grandma Sobis' house when I was probably four, Mom-Mom and I had a discussion about how the word "shit" was a bad word. Mom-Mom had a thick Baltimore accent, but I can't recall the sound of her voice - I can vaguely hear her calling me "Sweetlump" and singing "Sugar, you're my sugar..." to me. Mom-Mom is probably also the reason I have a weird accent - the first time I asked my parents for a glass of "wutter" they flipped about the prospect of having a child speaking Baltimorese, and corrected my pronunciation whenever I ventured close to picking up the accent.

When I think back on my early childhood, I think I have more memories of being at Mom-Mom's house that I have with my parents - which makes sense. It was the early 1980s, and My mom was workin' her way up the Governmental Corporate Ladder, wearing kilts and blouses with gigantic bows on the neck, and my father was a Ph.D. student at Johns Hopkins, who looked like Jesus and wore leather sandals, and happened to be the Mascot for the Baltimore Colts. (No lie.) I don't think I saw them very much. They would scoop me up from Mom-Mom's, feed me dinner, bathe me and put me to bed. Lather, rinse repeat.

I can remember the interior of Mom-Mom's house as well as or better than I can remember the inside of the house I was raised in. I remember her dog, Popeil, who likely gave me my lasting dislike of dogs, about as well as I remember our vicious, bitey Siamese cat named Pumpkin.

Mom-Mom had a puzzle of a cheeseburger tacked to the wood-paneled wall of her basement. Mom-Mom used to feed me Ramen Cup-O-Noodles (or Lipton Cup-O-Soup!) and we would watch the Price is Right on her big, wooden TV. Mom-Mom had a set of WorldBook Encyclopedias from the early 1970s with those transparencies showing the systems of the human body. I ripped a transparency, accidentally.

I can pull up eleventy thousand snippets of growing up with Mom-Mom, but I can't summon nearly as many memories, or the underlying details of our little row-house in Rodger's Forge.

I just went to make chocolate milk, and BOOM! A memory leapt out from the back-reaches of my mind - Mom-Mom used to make chocolate milk in a cocktail shaker!

I saw her in front of her avocado-green refrigerator, shaking me a batch, to drink out of an orange Tupperware sippy cup.

So I had to make my chokkamook that way. I forgot the bubbles... and how good it is cold...freezing... shaken over ice!

It tasted almost as good as reconstituted Lipton Chicken Noodle Soup, eaten out of a mug, on a placemat, while lying on brown shag carpeting, and watching a brown-haired Bob Barker speak into a long thin microphone with a cord...


Anonymous Jules said...

Like you, I too abandoned by my parents- I went to Mother and Father Weissman.... a nice elderly German-born couple that took care of me when I was 6 weeks to 5 years old. Sigh.... Funny, I called Milk "gook"...

7:17 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

OMG I LOVE Lipton Chicken Noodle Soup. I used to eat it for breakfast on Saturday mornings while watching "The Tick" or "Saved By The Bell." I may need to stop by Publix after work to buy that ... and some Velveeta for an unrelated cheese sauce.
- Cookietown

1:52 PM

Blogger SuperBee said...

Jules - I don't know why I didn't bring up "Mother Weissman" when I saw you last night - I vaguely remember you talking about that before...

Cookietown - It's a guilty pleasure, no? With the dehydrated chunks of chicken?! ::bliss::

4:58 PM


Post a Comment

<< Home