Recycling and my eccentric mom

I must start out by saying that my mom was a good sport and she took our kidding with great ease and grace. She was, however, pretty special at times.

You would go into her basement and see plastic bags hanging up. She recycled them and would wash them in soap and water and then hang them up to dry. We were sometimes brutal with her because the overall effect was one that might seriously have looked like a hoarding situation.

My mother, when I was little and had colds would take ‘camphor oil,’ something I am not even sure that you can still find, but I bet if I were to go on Amazon, that I would find it. She used to take old diapers and cut as small piece, maybe four by three inches, put some camphor oil on it, and would pin it to the top of my shirt. The smell was supposed to help keep your nose open.

My mom would say that after eating something fried or perhaps somewhat greasy that it was a good idea to have hot tea. She would also, when she had a’’sour stomach,’ now called GERD or acid reflux, boil some water and sip it from the opposite side of the mug.

She was adamant that tooth brushes should be covered in the bathroom so that the germs flying around would not land on the toothbrush and thus be ingested in our bodies.

Wasting of any kind was frowned upon and we would take the smallest pieces of uneaten food and save them. We would take coffee grounds and tea bags and dump the used contents on the flower beds to enrich the soil. Newspapers were saved to put under things we wanted to keep clean. Old toothbrushes were saved to use as cleaning brushes. Everything was to be looked at with great care to see how it could be repurposed.

One of my favorites, was the old nylon stocking trick with pieces of hand soap or the jar she kept on the laundry tub with soap remnants and water; she would thus turn the soap pieces into usable soap, although I cannot seriously remember how she did that.

The crazy thing is that so many of the things she did are currently viewed as surprisingly sane. Mary Kay’s favorite was my mother’s admonition to us that we bought bananas that were too big.To this day, we always buy small bananas. It usually works out best that way and we waste less.

About Richard Koerner

Sixty something, father, papi, educator, organizer, Francophile, traveler, amateur photographer, gardener, cyclist, kayaker, calligrapher, cinephile, reader, and overall renaissance type human being.
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