Growing up, every time my sister and I were around where adults were talking and we questioned something that we heard, my mother would tell us that it was grown folks’ business and sent us to our room or outside to play. Was it any wonder that I didn’t know nada or zip about sex, PMS or what happened when women went through ‘the change’ until I left home for military service?
To this day, I still blame this banishment on my sister. Much sneakier than she was, I kept as quiet as the proverbial mouse when adults were talking in order to better hear them. Like me, my sister was a big talker and could not resist adding her two cents to the conversation.
One time, as I sat quietly playing hairdresser with my dolls—who were nearly bald after all of my hair styling and cutting—my sister blew our cover. I don’t recall what the adults were discussing at the time, but I do remember that during a lull in the conversation, my sister loudly announced to our guests that our mother could take her teeth out and put them back in. At seven, she was unduly impressed by mother’s dental bridgework and felt it needed to be shared with others. (After that, mother always checked to see where we were when her friends visited.)
Seriously, everything I ever learned came from eavesdropping on grown folks’ business. Like the time I learned that one of our neighbors had a common-law husband. I didn't know what a common-law husband was, except it was said in such a hushed manner that, I figured it was something worth remembering.
I also learned that ‘Sister’ Jones from our church was going through ‘The change’. And that her poor husband was catching pure HELL. First, Sister Jones was well over six feet tall, while her husband was around 5’6 or shorter, so she really towered over him in her high heels (and apparently in their marriage).
Still, every time Sister Jones came to the beauty shop, I watched her closely so as to not miss seeing her “change”. I remember hoping that she would change into a puppy so that I could play with it. After all, in my childlike mind, what was the benefit of changing if you couldn’t change into something good?
Likewise, I pondered whether the “roots” that Sister Jones supposedly worked, had somehow brought on the change? Of course, I didn't know what roots were either. Were the feelings that she was supposedly experiencing, according to the other women, the result of these so-called roots?
Because I had overheard one of the ladies at the shop say that it made people do strange things. Caused a man or woman to fall head over heels in love with people who apparently had serious issues. Right then and there, I decided to stay far, far away from roots.
Other subjects like ‘how to keep your man at home’, even without the use of roots, were secretly gleaned for future knowledge. The women also spoke about the other realities of life: things that resonated with them. And, above all else, the keys to survival.
Author Carol Gee
Retired military Air Force Veteran Author, Columnist and Motivational Speaker
For these and other great laughs, purchase your copy of Random Notes at Amazon.com and major online book retailers.