While I was waiting for the soy milk to reach the right temperature for making yogurt this morning, my mind started to wander. There are some rules in yogurt making that you must abide by so that the bacteria can do it’s thing. This got me to thinking of some lessons I learned as a child that I never forgot. Some gave me a chuckle.
1. Never pull an electrical cord out of the socket by the cord. When I was about 8 years old, I went to unplug something in our bedroom (3 of us shared), but couldn’t reach behind the piece of furniture that was blocking the socket. So, I grabbed the cord at a convenient place and pulled.
There was a popping noise and sparks flew everywhere. My Mom and some siblings ran into the room. When I told my Mom what I’d done, she got my Dad who was asleep. He worked graveyard and still had another hour before his wake up call.
He had to move the toys, then the furniture–and remove the socket cover to make sure that I didn’t unintentionally try to burn the house down. Nope, never forgot that one!
2. Never lock a bathroom door when you are not in the bathroom. This one may seem obvious but I was 4 and I had this unending curiosity. I wanted to know if the door would lock if you weren’t in the bathroom. So, I pressed the lock button and closed the door. Guess what? It locks. LOL My Dad had to remove the handle so we could get back in. With seven people and one bathroom, this could quickly be an emergency.
3. Don’t leave dog food in the dog bowl if you have a hamster. Our first dog was a picky eater. She got all sorts of human and dog food but was never thrilled with any of it. Most likely, we five kids gave her so much junk during the day that she couldn’t possibly eat her meals. We’d leave food out all night in case she wanted to eat.
Then, I got a hamster that was an escape artist and had a penchant for dog food. We’d be woken up to my Mom in a panic (she hated rodents). My hamster would be behind the fridge enjoying tidbits of whatever leftovers there were that night.
I don’t think my Mom ever forgave me for that one.
4. Never bring a fish you caught fishing home for a pet. I don’t know what I was thinking with this one or why my parents let me do it. We were at Lake Shasta. I was about 6 or 7 years old and I caught a catfish. Ugly fish, aren’t they? For some reason, I became attached to that fish. I got a bucket and water and I “saved” it. It made it through the vacation and all the way home. But, died a day or two later. Still feel bad about that one.
5. The dishwasher in the elementary school cafeteria worked if the doors were left open. I always got to do all sorts of extracurricular activities in elementary school because there just wasn’t enough for me to do in the class room. One of my duties in 6th grade was to work the cafeteria kitchen.
After all the plates and trays were retrieved, they had to be washed. It was not done by hand. The dishwasher was this big metal box up at eye level. It had a door on each side that you pulled up to open. You pulled out the rack and loaded up the dishes. You pushed the rack in and closed the door. Then, and only then, did you push the button.
There were two lunch ladies. One was very nice and tolerant of her charges. The other seemed to always be on her last nerve. One day I loaded the dishwasher, slid in the rack, and hit the button. Water shot out all over the place. I was drenched, the mean lunch lady got wet. There was water on the wall and floor. The situation was quickly remedied, with me mopping up the mess afterward. The mean lunch lady was furious! This was SERIOUS BUSINESS AND SERIOUS MACHINERY!
Evidently, I learned my lesson because it never happened again. Though there was a time 20 years later when we got our first dishwasher at home and I used the wrong soap. It was a Lucille Ball moment.
I am sure that everyone did silly, stupid things as a kid that lessons was gleamed from. These came to mind today. Let’s hope it’s not a premonition that I screwed up the yogurt.
Genealogist and writer. Creator of the Portuguese Hawaiian Genealogy and Heritage website, yourislandroutes.com