As I approach being a first-time grandmom, I’ve been thinking a lot about how to give advice without meddling and how to be fun but supportive of “the rules.” My hope is to be fair, wise AND relevant. Naturally, my mind returns to my own Mamie and the 45 years that I was lucky enough to be her “Lovebird.” I thought it would be fun to jot down some of the memories I have that keep her unique perspectives on life always in my heart.
Mamie was a first-born, 1st generation American of Italian immigrants with a Brooklyn accent. She was formally educated only to the age of 14 when her mother was stricken by Tuberculosis and the family had to move to the “country” where she cared for her mother and siblings, became the head of the household, and helped her father run two businesses. After she married and her parents passed away, she became the hub of the family and her home was where all the spokes of the extended families gathered. She was unique and had a wisdom all her own.
So Here’s Mamie……..
On Behavior Modification……..
• “If you keep making faces, the angel will pass and you’ll freeze like that!”
• “Pop-Pop is looking in the window and he can see everything you do – the reason you can’t see him is because he just went to get a switch.”
• “Don’t be a Cheater McGreeter.”
• “Don’t be a Mary Mary quite contrary.”
• “Quit acting like a bunch of hyenas!”
• “Be quiet or the cake will fall.”
• “If you lean back in the chair, God will punish you and pull you over.”
A Couple of Silly Songs:
• “See Saw, Marjory Draw, Jack shall have a new mast-a. He gets paid a penny a day because he can’t work any fast-a.”
• “Knock Knock,” (knocks on the forehead)
“Open the latch (twists nose and pulls down chin) and walk in (tickles tongue with walking fingers)
On Brand Loyalty………
• “Lather up with LifeBuoy. Leave it under your arms for 10 minutes so there’s no B.O. then rinse clean so you won’t itch.”
• “Tell your mother, I said –’use Wisk for ring around the collar’.”
• “Use the recipe on the Mueller’s box or your Macaroni and Cheese will be no good.”
• “Only Clorox will do”
On Eating and Cooking……
• “Eat it, it will put hair on your chest.”
• “If you swallow that pit, a tree will grow in your stomach.”
• “If you don’t mix the broth with the puree, the chicken soup will be crap-ola.”
• “Always “sautate” your onions and garlic in olive oil.”
Some Kid Friendly Foods……
• “Dunk Dunks with Piggies” – Over Easy Eggs with Toast cut into 4-6 lengthwise pieces
• “Ice Cream Medicine” – stir up ice cream until it is creamy and eat a teaspoon at a time to the tune of “Spoon full of Sugar”
• “Midnight snack” – Pretzel Sticks and M&M’s in measuring cups (“I don’t want no jealousy!”)
• “Turkey Duck” – when you have duck for Thanksgiving
• “Don’t go in the water past your knees – you can drown in a teacup. And don’t go in for 30 minutes after you eat or you’ll get cramps and drown.”
• “Don’t go out in the rain without your raincoat (yellow slicker) or you’ll catch pneumonia and land in the hospital.”
Some Age Old Advice……..
• “The more you cry, the less you pee.”
• “You’ll be dead a long time.”
On Love and Marriage………..
• “Love flies out the window if you’re not a good cook.” (Corollary to “the way to a man’s heart is through his stomach”)?
• “Never go to bed angry”
A Superstition or Two………..
• “Keep a pair of scissors hanging over your door to keep bad spirits away”
• “Don’t open an umbrella in the house, walk under a ladder or break a mirror or you’ll have 7 years bad luck.”
• “If you forgot what you were going to say, it must have been a lie”
• “If you drop the silverware while setting the table, you are going to get company”
On Having a Favorite (LoveBird)…..
• Whisper….. “Wait until your brothers go to sleep….., then sneak back downstairs” (where I would invariably find more pretzels and M&Ms and ice cream).
I hope I’ll be a one-of-a-kind to BGT in my own unique way. I wonder if she’ll be my favorite…