Sugar Baby

Michelle and me in Texas, 1945

Me and Michelle in Texas, 1945

If you’ve read my post for a while, you know I spent my early childhood in Texas where my sister Michelle and I were born during WWII.  There we are in the photo above, doing I know not what, probably on Easter Sunday, because I appear to be focused on the container in my hand which was probably a paper basket  or  bucket full of whatever candy Mom could scrounge up during The War when sugar was rationed.

Mom believed Christian holidays were very important, and Dad always liked to take photos of us in our Sunday best when we were neat and clean.

I am speculating about all of the above because the only information on the back of the photo in Mom’s handwriting is “Azalea bush.”

As Azaleas bloom in the spring, and spring comes early in Texas, I assume it is March. I know it is 1945 because my sister appears to be about 13 months, and she was born in February 1944. And I know its Texas, because we didn’t leave it until I was 4 or 5.

And it is probably Easter because I in a dress am concentrated on that container.


Most of my happy and unhappy childhood memories center around sugar.  I often wonder if my sweet tooth is the result of sugar deprivation during The War.  Today, fortunately, Splenda goes a long way toward satisfying my sweet tooth.

Lately, however, I have been making cookies using Aunt Marge’s recipe and real sugar.  And before you ask, I lost another pound last week, so I am not only keeping the first 40 pounds off, I am two pounds into my new goal.


When I was six, I got my front teeth knocked out. I had been standing on the front seat of Dad’s pickup truck, when he, driving down an old rutted logging road in south Georgia, and hit a bad bump.  I flew forward, hit the dashboard and cracked my face.

Daddy was so upset he kept saying what do you need, what do you want.  Marshmallows I told him.  Somehow the thought of sinking my painful teeth into a couple of soft marshmallows seemed a good thing to my child’s mind.  He drove to the nearest store and bought some marshmallows, which of course I could not eat because the pain was so great.

Today, I realize my dad had no earthly clue as to how to raise children. Dad in turn had no role model because his own dad was away much of the time working the Chicago to Milwaukee run as a locomotion engineer for the Chicago and Northwestern RR Company.

Dad was a great teacher and he taught me much about history and the environment.  He had earned a science degree in Forestry and Soil Conservation at the University of Michigan, but he understood nothing about children.  Mother knew much more, having older brothers and younger sisters.  She also read a lot of child psychology books and articles.  Being the eldest, I was their “practice child.”


Seth from Merrifield Garden came by this morning, and we discussed the fall cleanup of the yard.  He will send me an itemized estimate of the costs involved and I will schedule the work for November, after I return from California.  I am going to have the two little trees Mother Nature planted removed from the back yard.  I hate to do that, but the shade would eventually ruin my central bed. We talked about planting a service berry tree along the fence instead.  Depending on the item costs, I will probably have the crew install it, as the birds love the berries.

Meanwhile can you find and identify the baby tree in the photo below?


6 thoughts on “Sugar Baby

  1. A couple of our kids (born in late 50s, early 60s) still remember getting whacked with my arm across their middle when I came to a quick stop (to keep them from flying off the seat and suffering what you did … it was an instinct)… now you wouldn’t have a small child in the front seat even in with a seat belt or car seat. And that’s good. But we didn’t know any better then and neither of course did our parents.

    I’ve heard the term ‘practice child’. Bill and I are both oldest children — ha, a wonder we survived. Our daughter had a day-care center while she was pregnant with their first — she said they got to practice on other people’s children. (Guess it worked — all three of their now-grown kids are perfect ;>))

    I see the tree — I like the picture. I know nothing !


    • For a couple of years after we married, I whacked David in the chest if I put on the breaks. He finally said, what are you doing? After that I began to make a conscious effort to never reach across a passenger and prevent them from hitting the dashboard. My dogs have safety seats and belts today.


  2. I love the old picture of you and your sister. You were a very cute child. Also your baby tree is pretty but I have no ID, sorry! Ouch, no seat belts in those days. I don’t remover wearing one until I got a lot older. I wonder when we started using them? I will have to look that up.


    • We began using seat belts in the sixties. A new law, I think. Yes a seatbelt would have been good. Also good would be not taking a child into a dangerous place. We were in the Okefanokee Swamp. Thanks for the compliment. I was always envious of my sister’s blonde hair. Now we’re both grey.


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