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Tuesday, May 23, 2017

NaPoWriMo 2017 Day Nineteen: A Neo Creation Myth: A Beginning...tbd

That's the writing challenge on day nineteen.  Something absolutely new, or fictional, or experience, re-imagined...I'll try my hand at mythologizing a story that has its  real place in my memoirs.

How the Sweet Tooth Came to Be, by Shirley Smith Franklin

Actually, the tooth was there from the beginning.  
And the child, a girl child, somewhat fragile, content to spend early childhood days shadowing her mother at home whenever she was't reading a book held in one hand, eating an apple held in the other, she was there too or, failing an apple, sucking on her thumb..
It was such an ingrained habit, that sucking of the thumb.  At first it had seemed a good and valid way to avoid over-eating.  But when she became  seven mother said it was time for that sort of habit to stop.
It was post-war (doesn't really matter which war, every war  has its contingencies), so understandably there were some tightenings of the belt, limitations on the family budget, and extra work required in order to create, at home, flour-sack clothes, knitted mittens, and canned produce from the victory garden. A night out for the parents was always as modest as visiting friends, attending a church choir practice, or community square dancing.
And what did the girl child do when parents were away? If you paid attention before, you will have guessed reading.  Which is only partly true.  Read she did, in the attic where nobody would disturb her, and thus the story, on days when it was fair and warm.  Not too hot because that would be insufferable among the stuffy rafters, clothing and decorations stored until their season came due; not too cold, because after a sweater became not enough, a winter coat was too clumsy to wear up the narrow and twisty stairway and amidst the boxes, besides being not enough still to prevent the chill of a Northern Minnesota winter a way into the bones.
Night times in the attic were out, because the one feeble light over the twisty stairway was not sufficient with which to read, at any time of year.  And after all, who would want to be so far away from the world on a night when mommy and daddy weren't even around to know where you were.
No, at night she read in her room, or, strangely comfortably, sitting in a straight chair, at the dining room table.
Now the dining room,my dear, next to the kitchen, may not seem one's first choice for reading. Unless, of course, one has strong associations with food. Strong associations, nay longings, for certain types of food.  Desserts, perhaps, or, as the little girl was often prone to think, candy. All of which little or none was ever found in that house.  Desserts, okay, they were sometimes had, and could be excused as being part of a meal, Sundays or special days.  And they would never be left over.  Two older brothers made sure of that. Certainly there were not desserts everyday, and most certainly no candy.  What would happen to the children's teeth, for heaven's sake!
Every time the asked her mother or father to buy some candy, one or the two of them would definitely say one of two things: Father: We can 't be frittering our money away  on something  that we don't need. Candy is a luxury.(Ironically the word luxury itself was a kind of riches, the smooth beginning and simple ending surrounding that almos- un-American sound, 'ksh'.) While mother would say It's nothing but butter and sugar.
And so it happened that one night the little girl looked up from her solitary reading and thought, I'm hungry for candy.  As she glanced toward the kitchen and thought of how her mother would stand there, cooking and baking the most delicious things, she became aware that her sweet tooth was wanting some candy, and it wanted candy right soon.  And so it occurred to the girl that it might, just might, mind you, not be all that difficult to make some candy herself......After all, hadn't mother said it was only butter and sugar?


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