Friday, March 28, 2008

My Hippie Mother

My mother was a hippie.... but not so much anymore. Although she is still a healthy eater.

So she was a hippie....
Sort of.

I was born in 1971, so I still remember the 70's.

The seventies in Dallas / Fort Worth were cold in the winter (with snow) and pleasant in the summer. I remember running around the back yard under medium sized shade trees in my halter top and scooter skirt (all homemade).

My mother wasn't a political hippie. I must make that distinction. However, she may well have voted for Jimmy Carter..... she just might have..... I'll have to ask.

She was a health food hippie and we always wore seat belts or else the car didn't budge. I don't know if she would see herself that way, but she was a radical in those times. She wasn't a lunatic fringe vegetarian or vegan but there were rules that weren't broken none the less.

On Junk Food:
I never had any Hostess products growing up. Our next door neighbors (she secretly called "honkies") would give me a Twinkie, Ding Dong or Little Debbie from time to time and I felt guilty and didn't want Mom to know. One time they gave me TANG. Mom still doesn't know about that! (hi, Mom) [ My mom didn't think of herself as a honky, despite her blond hair and aqua eyes... she was Czech and German! Before she knew the word honky - like when she was a kid, her family called these types of people "Americans" ]

I only went trick or treating about three times that I remember. Mom said it was stupid dressing up begging for candy... so it didn't happen often. Plus, I was terribly shy and didn't want to walk up to stranger's doors in the first place. I would watch out the window.
On the few times I went with the neighbors (honkies) or my cousins from the country, Mom would confiscate my candy and ration out a few pieces for that night-- then tell me that she was putting the rest up in the pantry. I could ask her for a piece when I wanted one. I think the candy sat up there for about ten years after the last Halloween begging escapade. I always forgot about it and so did she.

I didn't drink a full-strength soda ("coke") until I was about 5 years old, and then only about once or twice a year. Before this, I would be given coke watered down by half. So it didn't taste good and I didn't want more. When we went to our family reunions in Schwertner, Texas I was allowed unencumbered access (as were all the kids) to the ice chests and drank my fill of orange Chek Cola.

When I started soccer in the 1st grade, I again looked forward to soccer practice and games because I would again get my own can of soda pop. I would plan out what I would get at half time all throughout the game. "Would it be grape this time? or lemon-lime?" I couldn't wait. I think the ball passed by me multiple times but I was too busy trying to figure out which ice chest would be the best one to aim for first. The best soccer game ever was when it was Mom's turn to buy drinks! I got to pick out the selection of Chek Cola. Pure heaven!

I have been told that at the tender age of 4, I chastened a child in Vacation Bible School about eating junk food. I said something like, "If you eat junk food your teeth will rot and fall out of your head!" Mom told me that and I believe it to this day.

There was NO junk food at home, I guess you can imagine. We even made homemade ice cream. Cookies didn't come in a package, but off a cookie sheet. That's just the way it was.
Cookies in packages were called, "Store-Bought Cookies" but never called, "cookies". Icing was mixed in a bowl and gingerbread houses were made from scratch with ginger.
To this day, "StoreBought Cookies" still only partially qualify as a dessert in my book, and I think people who pass them off as treats for meetings and parties are down-right lazy.

On Bread:
No one on Mom's side of the family bought white bread except for Grandpa Schlesinger (her dad). As kids, my cousins and I weren't allowed to eat white bread as "bread" but we were allowed to eat it as a "treat". I remember my cousin Suzy rubbing a piece of white bread with margarine and "showing me how it was done". She pulled off the crust and then mooshed the slice of bread into a tiny ball about the size of a large marble. I remember this so vividly because I was so impressed! I was only about 6 years old. Then she popped it into her mouth and sucked on it.
Mom didn't call "white bread" bread. It was called "cake", because that is what she said it was. Cake. Not fit for consumption as "food".

Mom would make the weekly drive across town (WAAAAAAAY across town-- about 20 minutes) to the Orowheat store. In those days, finding whole wheat bread was hard. The regular grocery store only carried stuff like "Roman Meal" which Mom to this day still doesn't recognize as "wheat bread". She knew about whole-grains being good long before the rest of the world was talking about it.
I remember Mom talking about how expensive the bread was. But that's what she bought.

On Cereal:
She only bought healthy cereal. Nothing with sugar or flavors added.... Corn Flakes, Reg. Cheerios, Rice Chex, Corn Chex......Rice Crispies, Grape Nuts.
Even Honey Nut Cheerios were too sugary. (but she did loosen this rule a bit as I got into my teens as long as I mixed it with something else).
On occasion, Mom would buy the six pack of sugar cereals as a treat. I could have them after school -- dry as a treat. I remember eating a package of Fruit Loops this way while watching The Bugaloos and Sigmund the Sea Monster after school.
Sugary cereal for breakfast was a TOTAL NO NO.

Funny, probably every other kid in the world was eating Cheetos and Pringles after school and I was eating like candy what they had for breakfast.

On Music:
Let's just say that there are The Seekers, Judy Collins, Mary Hopkin, Peter, Paul and Mary and John Denver in my 45" collection.

Other oddities:
Mom made her own sprouts.
She had a gallon jar that she sterilized and seeded with a layer of alfalfa seeds. Over the jar she would layer cheese cloth and tighten them with rubber bands. I was forbidden from touching the jar as they sprouted in the hall closet.

Mom would put sprouts on my school sandwiches. My school sandwich was made with the ULTRA thin wheat sandwich bread, Italian dressing, sprouts, American cheese, and thinly sliced ham or turkey or roast beef . In my lunch box there would be a tiny piece of foil wrapped around a few tablespoons of raisins or peanuts (plain of course). Sometimes there would be a small bundle of grapes or cut up fruit in a cup (never fruit cocktail!) Sometimes there were bread sticks with sesame seeds or Pepperidge Farm Goldfish. Rarely, and I mean RARELY there would be potato chips. (probably non- salted) If I was REALLY lucky, there would be $0.35 in there to buy an "Orange Thing" (ice cream pop)

Mom had an herb garden and drove to nurseries all over the metroplex finding unusual herbs, like tansy, and mint marigold and horehound. She had a neighbor friend (not the honkies) who was a "REAL HIPPIE" and made homemade yogurt and squash birthday cake and bought all their toys and clothes at garage sales and auctions. She did plant and garden stuff with this real hippie woman, Bonnie. Bonnie's family was very "earthy", but the kids had every Lego set ever invented and all the Atari games. Going to their house was like going to toy heaven..... except eating there was an adventure.

Time at Home:

Mom would take me to the library downtown about once a week when I was little (usually before school age). She would get stacks of books. HUGE stacks. A lot of the books she would look for in the adult section were about paper crafts and making things. We would sit around the kitchen table and make Christmas ornaments, origami, pinatas, and doll furniture. We were very crafty. At one point I had a potter's wheel. But it didn't work very well.

But, my mother is EXTREMELY creative. She needs to do more crafty stuff.

I can't remember anything else right now.... I need to find pictures.

Maybe I'll add more later.


Betty said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Anonymous said...

This is David Casillas and i don't know a childhood without Count Chocula, Dr. Pepper, and orange sherbet ice cream . . . i was also a very fat child and everytime i'd go visit grandma, she'd grab a shovel and pour bacon down my mouth. . .

I have since dropped all the weight and am now healthy, but that was MY childhood in a nutshell . . . . just add fear of aliens and love of Batman and it's done hahahaaaha

This was a good read, by the way :)

-K said...

wow. bacon

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