I grew up in a large family, and as the first of the grandchildren, I got a lot of attention. It was all loving attention, but some of it was a little bit odd.
I’m thinking of certain things that certain adults told me that turned out to be quite untrue. For instance, Grammy (my daddy’s mother) told me never to swallow chewing gum because, if I did, a gum tree would grow inside me. I can’t say I believed that; but I did stop swallowing chewing gum.
When I went to kindergarten, I was upset at being away from home, so I cried. This encouraged the other kids to pick on me mercilessly, to make me cry some more, for their amusement–good old public schooling!–but Grandma (my mommy’s mother) had a solution. Watching the news on her small-screen TV, with me sitting on the floor by her feet, she pointed at the screen and said, “See that man? He’s never cried in all his life. And now he’s on television!” I forget which newscaster that was–it’ll come to me at 2 a.m. tonight.
Now, why did Grandma say that? Obviously I already had no chance to match the newsman’s level of stoicism, I’d already blown that. Even at five years old, I found that story a little hard to believe.
My grandmothers told me those weird stories for my good, because they loved me. It just seems, in retrospect, a funny way to show it.
How about you? Did you ever get any curious stories like that? If it’s not too embarrassing, please share! I’d hate to think I was the only one.