One of my first memories is of when I was a toddler, when I had just learned to walk about and talk a little. My father did not want to do the dinner dishes one evening so he asked me if I wanted to do them. Oh, yes I was willing to try something new, to play with the dishes in the soapy water. (I had no toys.) Mother said no, as usual she quarreled with him, but Father prevailed this time. He asked me if I was strong enough to stand on a box to reach the sink. Yes, just barely. Then he ran the dish water too hot and stacked the dishes in the hot water, explaining that the water needed to be hot enough to “sterilize” them. When my father saw that I could not put my little hands into such hot water, he told me to wait until the dishes were “sterilized” and the water had cooled off. Even as a toddler this seemed to be a cumbersome way to do dishes. Then Mother yanked me away and sent me to bed, so I did not get to play with the dishes that evening. And I probably did not get a bath or a glass of water as those were usually denied to me. I do not recall ever being read a story. I always felt such fear of my mother, even as an adult I experience dread and apprehension even thinking of her. One never knew what she would do, but it would not be pleasant.
It may be that hard circumstances build tough character as well as tough skin, but I longed for something other than a hot, risky landscape at home.
Caption: A Hot Risky Landscape
by Annmarie Throckmorton 2018