(I like to exercise my creativity by just writing. No external cues. Usually. Just write. Try it. You will be surprised that there is a story in there—no matter how silly. Stream of conscious writing. Partly fabricated, partly true.)
Did you see the football roll down the alley. All by itself. No one around. It was the weirdest thing. Instead of following the ball, I chose a different path, and it made all the difference.
My step-mother sewed my clothing. She was a seamstress and very proud of it. She made our dresses and coats. Speaking of coats, I remember a time before my step-mother. My sister and I sported navy blue coats with white lace at the cuffs and collar. I was five and didn’t know any better, therefore, I had a habit of sniffing or wiping my nose on my handy, dark blue sleeves.
Grammy took offense to that although I don’t remember any conversation about what a young girl does when her nose is runny. Kleenex was not yet a household word and we didn’t have television. So, unless someone told me what was expected, I did what was natural. I believe I invented the ‘handy-wipe’—navy blue. The only trouble with navy blue for a snot-rag (a term I learned later in life) is that snot dried white. I think it was white—I don’t know if I knew my colors at five.
You see, my mom died a few months before and Grammy found herself busy with two little girls she didn’t expect to have around. Well back to my navy blue handy-wipe.
One day Grammy took our coats, which were now encrusted with a good, healthy coat of filth. I read somewhere that kids today are too clean. That is why they are more susceptible to illness than our generation was. I remember one earache, but I’m not sure if that was me or my friend who always complained of earaches. I did get colds. Oh yes. The miserable stuffy nose.
Okay, okay. Back to the blue snot-rag. Grammy presented me with my c-l-e-a-n blue coat. It was no longer sporting my invention. There were no tell-tale signs of there ever being a snot rag on either arms. I was amazed. How was that accomplished. Words bounced around my little brain. “Clean. Dry-Cleaners. No. Handkerchief. Pocket. No. Not.” I understood the words “no” and “not” and “handkerchief” was easy because I had seen my dad honk his large nose in one. When he had one. Other times he grossed me out by placing his thumb and fore-finger at the bridge of his nose and honking his nose to the right or the left, or in front of him. That’s when his slithery, white and other colorful snot flew out and landed on the ground in a splat. I still gag today, just thinking about it. It wasn’t my snot so it was gross. If I ever did that, I probably would be able to stand it.
As a grown-up, I was once stuck without a Kleenex. (Just the word ‘Kleenex’ tells you that many years had passed by now.) I reached into my pockets and found I had neatly thrown all remnants of Kleenex into the trash at home. None in my purse either. I was desperate. My husband’s pockets were empty as well. This was a predicament. What to do.
I remembered my navy blue coat and smiled. I certainly wouldn’t do that again. Then my dad and his honking nose came to mind. I shuddered. Maybe. I could try. A quick look around reassured me I was alone. Good! I’ll try. I placed my thumb and forefinger at the bridge of my nose, leaned over a little and blew a little meekly. A little success. Next I inhaled a great gulp of air through my mouth in preparation for the big-daddy-honk. I blew hard. It worked! I didn’t sound as bad as my dad. It sounded more like an air-hose.
My husband came around the bend just then. I smiled, relieved that I had solved my problem. He smirked a little and presented me with a Kleenex. “You may want to used this. You have snot on your shirt and your shoes.”