Sunday, April 14, 2013

One Hundred Things My Mother Taught Me A Million Times - Chapter 100

#100 “Keep pot handles turned away from the front of the stove.”

I have a confession. This isn’t really #100 of the one hundred things my mother taught me a million times. About a year ago I realized that I had repeated one of the 100 things. Then this February I received the following email from one of my most favorite people in the world, Loralee Martin. She said,

This is probably the worst email I've ever written, and I'm already regretting it...but I'm gonna go out on a limb and take a chance. I was reading your blog, as I always do ... there's a duplicate, and I thought you'd want to know. #26 and #57 are the same. And I know it's bitchy to point that out, but I figured you might be happy that I was reading/enjoying so intently that I noticed it. No big deal, but you need to conjure up  another one, for those of us who are enjoying this project!  In fact...I have a suggestion! "Never point out a mistake. It's impolite and people might resent you for it".

To which I replied, that I knew there was a duplicate, and was impressed that she was reading close enough to catch it.  So, in truth, #100 is actually #99, and #98 is…well you get it, so on with #100 (really #99), which brings back two indelible memories.

When I was growing up the only heat we had in our house was the gas heater in the living room.  It was a brown metal thing, about 4 feet high and 18 inches wide on each side. It had a very distinct “art deco” look to it, and I though it was beautiful. Of course we all spent a good bit of time close to the thing because it was our only source of warmth, but it also didn’t take long for it to warm the entire living room to a comfortable temperature. During the winter months, the first place you went upon entering the house was to the living room heater to warm your hands or butt, careful to get just close enough to warm them, but not to touch the very hot metal surface.

Somehow I managed to back into the heater and burned a pretty large place on the back of one leg. I’d never felt pain like that, and it didn’t stop hurting for weeks as it healed. After that I gained an enhanced respect for “hot.” Click on read more below...

 Also, there was Mrs. Black, one of the nicest, quietest women in our community. Her husband was the high school principal and her son was in a grade ahead of me. The skin on Mrs. Black’s face and arms was severely blotched, and one day I asked my mother why Mrs. Black’s face and hands looked like that. Mom said that she believed that the burns were from when a skillet of grease caught on fire and Mrs. Black tried to carry it outside, but she dropped the skillet and the grease splashed all over her face and arms burning her severely. Things like that stay with a child, and I never forgot about Mrs. Black.

So mom’s #100 (really #99) has special meaning to me. When my children were small, or even when they weren’t, I was always very careful to turn the pot handles towards the center of the stove. I still turn all the handles inward, even if there’s no one here at the house but me and my husband. I can’t bear the though of someone I love, especially a child, getting burned just because I was careless.

Mom was right. We should never assume that children won’t reach up and grab a hot pot on the stove just because we tell them not to. Don’t rely on your child’s obedience, take responsibility and reduce the danger.

The real #100, and a surprise sequel coming soon!


  1. My mother and I both remember that, when we lived in a certain house which means I was under five years of age, my mother put a hot iron on the stove after finishing ironing. She told me it was hot and not to touch it. So what did I do? You're right; I touched it as soon as my mother turned her back! Fortunately, I don't remember how it felt as you remember the burn from that heater.

  2. Good one, SueAnn! I still do the same, probably because my mother did. Love the book reviews. Think it's uncanny how we are often reading or have just read the same books and your reviews hit the nail on the head. Is that a good cliche for books? Well, anyway, as Ellen DeGeneres would say... ! love from Charlena