Sunday, March 05, 2006

The Pickle Factory

This, I hasten to explain, has nothing whatsoever to do with the pickle jar. (Or does it? How much of our lives are truly coincidental?). This was a blast from the past of my childhood that came up in conversation with a friend a couple of days ago. When we were kids, my mother's chief "management tool" was to utter wild threats that scared us into keeping in line, lest the unthinkable happened, (not that she needed much, we were all 3 of us very scared, obedient little girls, I don't think she ever appreciated how easy she had it compared to many parents, but since she really wanted little mechanical dolls, not flesh and blood children at all, I guess it was very tough for her) For instance, I was always told that if I didn't do exactly what she wanted, they wouldn't keep me any longer but would send me to live at boarding school, where I would be made to do what I was told (she made it sound like a reform school straight out of Dickens!). If I spent to much time with my head in books I'd end up in the local mental hospital. If I didn't wash my hands, I'd catch hepatitis and die. If I played in the street a nasty man would kidnap me (but apparently only if I played, nasty men don't seem to go after little girls who are walking those same streets doing errands for their mother ... go figure! Maybe they're only attracted to kids who are enjoying themselves?) But her favourite, repeated almost every day of our school lives, and the one my sisters remember as well, was that, if we didn't do our homework, we'd end up "peeling onions in a pickle factory" The ultimate life of tearful drudgery, I suppose ...

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