Thursday, October 6, 2005


I've journaled before about my childhood in Iowa, when my parents operated the local switchboard.  Any phone call placed in our community had to go through "central", unless a person was calling someone on her own party line.  So, somebody in our house had to be within running distance of the switchboard located in a corner of our living room at all times.  When Mother had a big meal to cook, or when she was canning the abundant produce from our garden, Daddy would don the headset and take over for her.  When we went to Church (three times a week), my parents paid someone to stay at the switchboard.  In other words, my mom was very much tied down to that thing, and it wasn't always convenient for her to get up and satisfy my every whim. 

Back when I was a toddler, Mother worried whether I was eating a balanced diet and asked the doctor, "What kinds of foods should she be eating?  All she wants to eat is bread and gravy."

The doctor told her, "We don't care what she eats, as long as she eats."

That remark was repeated to me like gospel, the rest of my life; and it may be the cause of my weight problem.  (It's much easier to blame a long-dead doctor, or my dear departed parents, than to take personal responsibility.)

So after that, if I wanted a snack a half-hour before dinner, that was fine with my parents.  I was eating, wasn't I?  If it was Christmas fudge, that was super, just so I was eating.

In those days, however, handy snacks weren't as easy to come by as they are now.

"There's nothing to eat," I'd whine to Mother.

From her throne at the switchboard, as she plugged one person to another so they could talk, she'd recite, "There's bread and milk, crackers and milk, graham crackers and milk... why, when I was your age, I was glad to have bread and lard and sugar."

I can  still hear my mom saying these things.

And although, as a child, I wished for something more interesting, I usually ended up eating something-and-milk as a snack, and I fixed it myself.  

If I was sick with an  unsettled stomach, I was given toast and milk, with sugar sprinkled over it.  I loved it. 

At least once a week these days, I'll get a yen for something and realize nothing but crackers-and-milk will satisfy my craving.  But you know, it's been years since I've had toast-and-milk:  I may have that tonight.


siennastarr said...

Bread and gravy??  My mother used to make that for us when we were little, and it was, and still IS my favorite breakfast (or dinner for that matter).  She would fry up bacon and than from the drippings make the gravy.  So goooood!  And, we never used bisquits, it was always bread.  To this day, my kids and I would rather eat our gravy with bread, and not bisquits.
That's good stuff!
Not a big milk drinker though.  Never have been.


robinngabster said...

I think anything with milk and sugar sprinkled over it is yummy!  My daughter is a huge gracy fan too...when she was about two she would dip everything in it...pickles, tomatoes, bread of course...whatever was handy she dipped it in gravy!  I gotta thank my Oklahoma Grandma and relatives for our love of all things cooked southern style!!!   Have you ever had corn bread and milk?


astaryth said...

I remember my grandfather filling a glass half full of milk and crumbling up cornbread left over from supper into it. It was his favorite evening snack!

marainey1 said...

It sounds like 'comfort food ' to me!  I've always loved milk and crackers!  If I'm hungry for something and nothing will satisfy my cravings, I usually have some cereal with milk.  And here's a positive thought about the little extra padding we have--It's makes us softer for cuddling those grand'babes' !  'On Ya' - ma

ksquester said...

Hopefully, you won't become a "milktoast"        Anne

amy122389 said...

My 'thing' has always been cinnamon toast (cinnamon & sugar on toast) and a glass of iced milk  <g>  My kids love it too....  We could probably put away a full loaf of bread with cinnamon toast for breakfast....

One other thing for me was pretzels & peanut butter.  My mom always let me have it before bed so I'd sleep better with a full tummy....  Although now that I look back, I don't think I needed the extra food right before bed....I was a chunk of a kid...LOL


toonguykc said...

When I get the urge to snack -- I go immediately for cheese and saltines.  And, by the way -- you DO NOT have a weight problem!!  I've met you, girlfriend -- and you are tiny little thing!!


bookncoffee said...

Same for me.. when I yelled "we don't have anything to eat".....cept I ate mayonnaise sandwiches, crackers and cheese, bread and peanut butter.  I always keep these staples now.  I never eat mayonnaise sandwich w/o meat now though.  And I usually toast my peanut butter on bread in the oven.  It's so good like that.  
Have a great Friday....better go to work...

ora4uk said...

I don't wanna put a "damper" on anyone....but as a kid growing up...just at the end of the "big depression"... we never had "snacks"...were happy to have three meals...and alot of days....didn't have those.....bummer time....but then that's life....we all managed....and boy...even without those "snacks"....I have a montrous weight problem.....LOL..Hugs

csandhollow said...

Bread and butter with some sugar on it and a glass of milk. Milk goes with anything!

boodotte said...

Now you know you're going to hear me say I would have been overjoyed with having "anythiing and milk" as a child.  That said, I have to agree that milk and toast sound great now that you mentioned it.  I love to read entries about your childhood memories.  I know it wasn't always easy on you, but in between every entry I always find a treasure from times gone by.  (Case in point:  switchboards and party lines).  Boo