12th Day of NaBloPoMo/Growing Up

winifred circa 1928It was a hot summer night and the heat seemed to put everyone on edge, add to that the humidity and you have a perfect setup for arguments, if not worse things happening.  The temperature had hit 90 degrees earlier in  the day, which was unheard of in this particular small town in the Northeast.  So Paddy was on edge even though he was not working for the summer and wasn’t doing much to help Mother around the house or with the children.  Anna was still colicky and crying much of the time unless she was being held or rocked in the big rocking chair.

That day Paddy had a few of his buddies over to play cards and drink beer and they were all happy enough after they had a few beers under their belt.  Mother was left to deal with the children.  Winifred was always good, playing with her toys and eating a few cookies with a glass of milk.  That would keep her occupied for hours while Mother attended to the baby.

It was late afternoon before Paddy’s friends decided to leave and soon after Mother had put Anna down for a nap and all was quiet for a while.  This gave Mother time to start preparing dinner and since Himself  liked steak, she tried to have it several nights a week, with mashed potatoes and gravy and a vegetable, either carrots or peas.  They only had dessert once in a while because the meals were pretty filling.  They had either coffee or tea with their meals but since they were both coffee lovers, that’s mostly what they had.  In the summer it was iced coffee.

Tonight Paddy offered to do the dishes while Mother gave Winifred a bath before putting her to bed.  After she had bathed Winifred and put her pajamas on Paddy said he would read her a story.  Just about that time Anna woke up crying of course, and it was several hours before Mother was able to join Father in bed.  The children were sleeping soundly and Mother looked forward to at least a few hours sleep before Anna would wake for her next bottle.  Anna was nine months now but she still liked the bottle, in fact, it was the only thing she did like.  She usually spit out the mashed up food that Mother was trying to feed her.

Finally, Mother had fallen asleep and it seemed like it was only minutes before she was rudely awakened in the middle of the night by Paddy slapping himself trying to kill the mosquitos that were biting him.  He kept doing it until Mother finally told him to go out on the couch to sleep, especially since Anna was sleeping in her crib next to their bed.  He got up and headed for the kitchen, coming back a few minutes later with a sprayer to kill the bugs.  The sprayer was filled with DDT!    He started spraying it everywhere until Mother yelled at him to stop, that it could be dangerous for the children.  He poo pooed her although he finally stopped, but the odor of the DDT hung in the air even though all the windows were open.

To be continued.