Monday, November 24, 2008

Orange-juice cans and macaroni

A few people asked about our hydrotherapy time. I found with our first child that the hour between five and six was the most difficult hour of the day. Especially the two year old time. And since I liked to cook I was forced to spend that hour in the kitchen. If we walked to Mrs Murphy's house, I was sure to have our potatoes baking in the oven or our casserole was getting warmed. Then I fed the children when we returned.

But if Sam were working nearby, then we would wait for him and then we had an extra hour of entertaining the brood. The older ones liked to read or play with crayons but the little ones were restless and had to be entertained. It might not have been the safest, but the two little ones stood on chairs and immersed themselves as far as they could go into warm sudsy water. All they did with the macaroni was pour it in one can and then poured it into another. Occasionally they would put a piece of macaroni in the mouth and I figured it could not hurt them. They could have pushed each other off the chairs, but they never did. If they got too wet they metamorphed into their pajamas before eating. It was cheap and it worked. The amount of macaroni was minimal.

The orange juice cans have a story. We could afford one can of juice each morning. You young people don't know about frozen orange juice. There were six of us and we shared the content of of one small can. The children were so happy if one of them got invited to spend the night elsewhere. The one who was invited, because she would probably get more in the house where she spent the night, but her siblings because the little cheese glasses would be filled to the brim next morning. You might say: why didn't you buy bigger cans? We were extremely poor and If I had to buy a tube of toothpaste, we probably had baked beans that night. I even drove in to Walnut Creek to buy concentrated milk which saved a couple of cents. Safeway was in Walnut Creek and the groceries were cheaper than in our family owned stores in Danville.

10 comments:

falnfenix said...

ah, frozen OJ from concentrate - i grew up on the stuff!

Sandra @ The Memory Workshop said...

I grew up on frozen OJ too...and it still exists!

My little guy loves Hydrotherapy. He's 5 now, and has been doing it since he was old enough to stand on the chair.

He'll also scrub a couple of pounds of carrots and potatoes if needed. His favorite soup is "carrot soup" (not the real name, but that's what he calls it) so he likes to help make it.

Anonymous said...

My friend Marilyn had 7 siblings, and a young widowed mother, making money nonexistent. During a sleepover I made frozen OJ. Marilyn said, "It tastes so good, how did you make it? "Just like it says, add 3 cans water," I replied. Silence. Her mother added 6 cans of water to the OJ to fill everyone's glass. They should have bought smaller glasses, or not filled them all the way like your family! :)

I adore reading your blog. Your writing captivates your audience, and leaves us wanting more, especially with your cliffhangers. I am so happy you have continued writing despite the difficult parts. I hope you find the writing cathartic, and a wonderful way to remember the wonderful times you have had.

Stephanie said...

In the summer I would eat the frozen OJ right out of the can with a spoon... It sort of sounds gross now, but man I loved it then.

powwy said...

Cheese glasses! We called them that too and used them for juice when we'd used the Kraft cheese spread that came in them. My favorite was olive pimento.

Fire Fox said...

Thank you for explaining the macaroni and OJ cans! You inspired me to write a post about how my mother taught me to be frugal! I also remember the frozen OJ containers, and the condensed milk my father used in his coffee. Thanks for the memories!

Vics said...

I still use OJ from concentrate. :) I could really relate, when you said getting a tube of tooth paste would mean you had baked beans for supper. Those sorts of trade offs are a regular part of my weekly grocery budget.

I have been following your blog since its beginning, and your posts always touch my heart. Thank you for sharing your life story with us.

Barbara said...

Have a wonderful Thanksgiving with your daughter & family. & don't foget to ask them to take some photos you can share with us.
Barbara

Deborah said...

I will be a first time Gramma around Feb 7 and I am going to be the coolest gramma ever if I allow him to play in the water with cans and pasta!
I like to play in the water...yes I like to wash dishes although we have a machine to do it.
Our new little lad will love this when he is here.

Sue Thompson said...

It is Thanksgiving Day and I have just spent the entire morning reading every single entry of this blog from the beginning. It is funny, touching, fascinating, thrilling, and REAL! You reinforce my belief that we are so unaware of the depth of the lives of people with whom we come in contact. We could be standing in line at the grocery store next to a man who survived a German concentration camp, or a couple who emigrated to Israel and befriended David ben Gurion, or a woman who came from Sweden on a boat where she met Greta Garbo. You are a wonderful writer and I can see from where Shreve's adventurous, do-what-calls-to-you spirit has been passed. I am hooked on The Daily Coyote, and now on Svensto!