I am now presenting a new weekly feature called Mondays with Melitas. Melitas is my 93 year old student and I love spending time with her. I had the privilege of spending the day with her yesterday and I got to watch golf with her and listen to her read this story to me. I loved it and I know you will, too! Leave her a comment after you read this, she reads them all!
POTS AND PANS AND OTHER STUFF
For as long as I can remember, I can recall how the JEWEL TEA CO. salesman would come around every month knocking on the door, and then sucker my Mom into buying some thing. Of course, she bought some tea since her Mother and Father …..Granny and Grampa Moore…..had come to live in America from England so tea was very large on the menu at 509 No. Pomona Ave. in Fullerton, CA. Tea in the afternoon, and then tea at dinner time.
There were other things, though, that she would buy: spices and grocery items, cleaning supplies, cookware, china…..you name it. The Jewel Tea Co. had it. When it came to the more costly items like cooking utensils or glassware, or dinnerware (if she wasn’t getting free dinnerware at the local theater on Wednesday nights) Mom had to spread out the payment at the rate of 25 cents a week so Dad wouldn’t know she was spending all this money on stuff he probably would consider uncalled for. It was Dad that took care of the finances. He would give my Mother the money for the weekly groceries, and big items were a joint shopping effort. So you see, she was having to filch these quarters out of her weekly budget to pay Mr. Jewel Tea Man. She had an envelope in which she put the coin(s) in each week, and then the salesman would mark her payment down on a card to keep the running balance. I guess what my Dad didn’t know, didn’t hurt him.
Dad would be the one to slip my younger sis, Vivian, and me the dimes for the Saturday afternoon movies, and nickels for the ice cream or candy, or even pennies because those pennies bought one of those delicious licorice
whips. How I loved those!
Also lurking around in those early years were the WATKINS salesman and the FULLER BRUSH man; however, I would venture to say that it was Mr. JEWEL TEA getting most of her business.
This routine went on for years. While I was still living at home, Mom gave Viv and me a comb and brush set. That should have come from the Fuller Brush Man. Today, I do not have that set — the bristles wore out years ago, and is lost in the shuffle. After I moved out to do my stint for the WWII effort, and was living in Santa Monica on 19th St. just off Santa Monica Blvd. in a duplex with 4 other ex-softballers whom I had convinced WE had to do something for the war — and especially since my Mom and my Aunt Mae would not let me join the Navy so I could get myself decked out in one of those adorable uniforms — and we were sweating away working at Douglas Aircraft — Mom would add something to her quarter weekly bill and give me another helpful item. One time it was a cooking pot with lid and a separate steamer basket. Now I would say that was a very sturdy pot. It is in my cupboard … as I type this, this very minute at my usual 80 WPM.
In order to understand about the 80 words per minute you will have to find all about this in my Memoir titled “World War II Years.”
Another great, useful gift from Mom was of all things, a make-up type mirror which has regular mirror on one side, and the flip side is the magnifying side. Now one thing is certain: I could NEVER let that get
busted. Just think of the double whammy of all those years of bad luck.
I use that thing every day — to this very day. I think Mom was trying to tell me something — “spruce yourself up with a little make-up.” You know, in those old days I can remember the powder puffs and rouge, but I just never really got into all that. Just not my cup of tea. Oh, oh, there’s that Jewel Tea guy sneaking in for one last mention even though they haven’t been around since 1981. It’s just as well — Mom went to Heaven in 1973 — so
that meant his business must have been slipping, and he was ready to retire, anyway.
You know, I have forgotten about how my Dad passed away in 1943, and so Mom took over the finances, and had her own little check book for thirty years. Now that puts me in a quandary as to how she paid Mr. Jewel Tea. Did she still make him wait for all those quarters out of habit — or did she just sit down and with a great flourish, write him a check for the full amount? — In her most beautiful penmanship, I might add.
I will never know how many quarters she was paying all those years, but there is always a warm feeling when I think about it. And wouldn’t you know, my ancient brain department has just now remembered that the Corning Ware stuff in my cupboard was another gift from Mom.
Another gift she gave: All the love.
Completed: June 16, 2011 Melitas Forster