Saturday, September 25, 2010

One Hundred Things My Mother Taught Me A Million Times – Chapter 51

#51 – “Always use a tablecloth with a bed sheet under it. The cloth gives a warm feeling to the setting, and the extra padding helps keeps the noise down.”

Two very specific memories surface as I ponder #51 of the one hundred things my mom taught me a million times.
(1)  Mom was a Nazi about proper-table-setting, and
(2)  Our house was always very quiet.

I never quite realized how quiet my childhood was until I became quite old (sorry, couldn’t resist). I was the last child in a family of five, and apparently an accident since mom as 40 and dad 60 when I was born. My closest sibling (brother) graduated and left for college when I was in the first grade. I don’t even remember my three sisters living at home. So during my childhood mom and dad were older, my siblings were all married or in college, TV hadn’t really taken hold, we didn’t have dogs, and the radio was only played at low volume, late in the evening while mom and dad played dominos, quietly. It was quiet, too quiet for a kid.

So I was enthralled by the chaos and racket in my friends’ home.  I’d go over to their houses, most of which contained multiple kids and dogs, and it felt like some absurd and entertaining circus of humanity, at least compared to my home. Click on Read More Below

Of course everything in between my childhood and now was pretty noisy, but as I’ve “matured” I’ve found myself seeking the quiet of my childhood.  Not my husband! He seems to thrive on noise. Every TV in the house is on, the radio in the car is blaring, he talks loud, cooks loud, and plays pool loud. He’s just loud, but I love him anyway.

I, on the other hand, am always seeking new methods to muffle household noises, so mom’s #51 resonates (quietly) for me. The clinking and clanking of dishes on a table drive me crazy. In fact my favorite tablecloths are old quilts, which make charming table covers, and keep table talk from echoing off the walls.

By the way, am I the only one who thinks that that the level of noise in Austin restaurants is obscene! It makes me feel really old to admit it, but I go absolutely deaf in a loud restaurant, and detest having to shout to be heard.  I suspect that most of my restaurant conversations sound something like this.

Friend:  “So, SueAnn, how are your grandkids?”

Me:  “Oh the Keys, I haven’t been there in ages. When did you go?”

Friend:  “What are you talking about?”

Me:  “What?”

Friend: “What is going on with your grandchildren.”

Me: “I can’t believe she said that!”

Friend: “You’re not hearing a word I’m saying are you?”

 Me: “I can do the 23rd, but let’s go somewhere quiet.”

Friend: “Good idea!”

Me: “Great, I love their chopped salad!”

So I absolutely agree with mom on this one. Always use some type of padding on a dining table to keep the noise down. I think mom’s obsession with proper place settings is lesson #63, so I’ll save that for later.

1 comment:

  1. After all, she was a teacher and she felt that a certain civility and serenity (silence!) was desirable in her home. In my estimation,she had the whole housemaking thing down. If you thought she was a table-setting diva, you should have seen her "make" a bed. I mean, make up a bed. Oh, you know what I mean.

    I remember being so enchanted when she taught me to sleep on top of the bedcovers to save time in the morning. That way, I'd be able to smooth over the blanket and bedspread with the palms of my hands, saving time for the important things,such as learning how to do the "Miss America Walk."

    She helped me prioritze my life and taught me the importance of looking good while I lived it, too. I'm more concerned that my new Ann Taylor suit has been properly hung in the closet so it looks great on me when I teach my class tomorrow. That's when I'm gonna show my students how to do research without ever having to walk through those library doors! They just love me and they can thank my grandmother (quietly)they've got such a great professor. Jane