Biographical Non-Fiction posted February 8, 2018


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My encounter with opposing elements for one loaf of Bread.

The Loaf of Bread and Me

by charlene7190


Oh that loaf of bread!!!! One of the worst whippings of my life was over one loaf of bread.

Before I say anything else, I have to admit as a child I was pretty precocious. Yes, I will admit to that but I lived in a time that lent itself to independence, to imagination, to self-awareness and I felt all of that even if I was only four. We children of the war era had to be aware.

I would leave for hours from our unmodern trailer to do what any obnoxious four-year-old would do and never once did I think to check in. I was either playing on the school grounds, climbing trees for those really sour apples or heading to Main Street to look at "stuff" in the various shops. My mother never worried about me. Should she have? Naw, any would-be kidnapper would have returned me, probably trying to pay my mother to take me back when they found out how stubborn I was.

I never liked candy or sweets. My innocent childhood cravings were directed at things like crayons, lead pencils (real lead in those days), the erasers and Life Buoy soap. Yep, you guessed it, I'd eat those including the wood from the pencil. I used to pull up onions from my Grandma's garden and eat them, dirt and all. Hell, I liked the dirt as much as the onion. I've never been able to put my finger on why I ate that stuff but looking back now I think there was something lacking in my diet. Most of all it was fresh baked bread that I really craved.

We were desperately poor but I didn't know that. I knew that we could not afford some of those wonderful little things at the 5 and dime. That's where I loved to spend a lot my time. There were bins on counters with tiny little baby dolls made from rubber and they were probably delicious too since they smelled so good. No, I didn't but I sure wanted to. There were tiny cars and other wonderful toys that were beyond my reach financially. Some of them cost as much as a nickel each. My re-occurring dream was that I was walking along a street and there in the gutter in a stream of clear water was some silver money! Not the black pennies that we sometimes found (OK, I sucked on those too) but real silver money. Never really found any although I still look.

Stealing anything never crossed my mind but charging at the local grocery store was a thought that did sneak in now and then. I had no idea that charging an item meant you had to pay for it later. One day it just became too much for me. I bought a beautiful loaf of white bread. I was in heaven thinking I would just go over to the school, sit on the end of the slide and eat the whole thing and that bread smelled like heaven.

Little did I know the grocer had called our neighbor who happened to have a phone, a real extravagance even if there were six others on a party line. He made sure my mother knew I had that loaf of bread and had charged it. He was going to get his nickel no matter what! The Rat.

The first I knew of that phone call was when I was walking up the street and glancing up from hugging my bread I saw this madwoman, hair flying wildly, walking with a vicious determination, a belt in her hand. Oops. I knew that look, that walk, that wild hair and especially that belt. So I did the only logical thing I could think of, I hid MY loaf of bread under a bush. I was getting the beating but I would never give up my prize.

I got the beating. Mother was not kind when it came to using whatever she had in her hand to hit me and it wasn't always on my backside. Sometimes she missed and hit my legs or my hands if I was trying to protect myself from her swings. Was she abusive? She was a product of her environment, a young, frustrated woman who had no parenting skills. She had three other children after me and I never saw her hit any of them. I was her "training kid." The issue I had as a little girl was that I would never give her the satisfaction of seeing me cry. I refused to ever shed a tear in front of her, again my stubbornness. It gave me a great deal of satisfaction to stay stone-faced in the face of her anger. That was one thing she never got from me but that's another story for another time.

I waited until I could slip out again to get the one thing I really had on my mind. Mother had gone back to her non-caring mode again cutting out things from a magazine, a testament to her youth. I was going to take my bread, go over to the school, sit on the slide and eat my treat, every last piece. I don't remember now if it was sliced or not. I'm thinking not and it doesn't really matter but it was as beautiful and delicious as those nickel baby dolls. I couldn't wait!

I went back to the bush to collect my loaf of bread but when I pulled it out from hiding there were hundreds of ants covering the whole loaf, carrying away the bread and all of my mouthwatering dreams with it. There was no stopping them no matter how much I brushed them off or shook them. This was their dream also, finding all this food.

And I cried then but alone with just me, my loaf of bread and the ants.


Non-Fiction Writing Contest contest entry

Recognized


My mother is not here to defend herself and we never talked about what some might look at as abuse. It made me strong. Thank you Mother. By the way, that picture is me. It shows the level of poverty we endured.
Pays one point and 2 member cents.


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