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Storytime: Mom’s Confession

June 11, 2020

Mom regretted it her whole life. She mentioned it often as she grew older, sometimes once per day. She would shake her head.

“So stupid,” she would say. “I don’t know what I was thinking.”

I, like all bad children, thought it was hilarious. I told her it was fine, but she didn’t agree. She couldn’t forgive herself by being so stupid.

I had not thought of it since she died, but the other day I was back where it happened and saw a historical marker with a photo of it. I started howling with laughter.

Our town had had a small private zoo next to Andersen’s Pea Soup Restaurant, a famous local tourist trap. Mom and I went to the grand opening and the person giving the tour asked for children volunteers. I waved my hand and was chosen and lined up with the other kids.

We had volunteered, we found out, to hold a fig newton in our teeth while a large bear named Sweet William, reclining in a bathtub, gently snatched them from us with his big snout.

This is a photo of one of those children:

IMG_20200601_200732-02

Once we all got done, the smiling lady tour guide told us the bear was the only animal in the park who had ever attacked anyone. Mom never got over it.

No children nor animals were injured in the creation of this blog post. 

 

8 Comments leave one →
  1. Gail Munro permalink
    June 11, 2020 21:32

    Great story Sue!

    On Thu, Jun 11, 2020 at 9:30 PM Suebob’s Red Stapler wrote:

    > Suebob posted: “Mom regretted it her whole life. She mentioned it often as > she grew older, sometimes once per day. She would shake her head. “So > stupid,” she would say. “I don’t know what I was thinking. I, like all bad > children, thought it was hilarious. I told her it” >

  2. Liz | wannabeliz.com permalink
    June 11, 2020 21:35

    Your Mom was so sweet! I can’t believe the zoo would endanger people’s lives like that. Especially
    Children! I remember Andersen’s! My Parents love
    Split pea soup!

    • June 12, 2020 08:43

      Yes, she was. Her heart broke for every time one of her kids was hurt. Things she mentioned late in life – putting a lotion on my chapped baby skin that made me cry; spanking my sister once…

      I guess times were different back then. Child-mauling bear? No big deal!

  3. ANNIE PETERSON permalink
    June 12, 2020 05:16

    A wonderful lady..very wise..very smart..loving..caring..I will always admire Pauline..love her with all my heart.

    On Fri, Jun 12, 2020, 12:30 AM Suebob’s Red Stapler wrote:

    > Suebob posted: “Mom regretted it her whole life. She mentioned it often as > she grew older, sometimes once per day. She would shake her head. “So > stupid,” she would say. “I don’t know what I was thinking. I, like all bad > children, thought it was hilarious. I told her it” >

    • June 12, 2020 08:44

      She loved you so much, too. You had such a long, beautiful friendship. You were her bonus daughter.

  4. Robin permalink
    June 12, 2020 07:12

    Hahaha.
    If I were your mother, with all of the wrath of a momma bear I would have tore into that woman and the owner of the zoo.

    I wonder if your momma felt that guilt instead of feeling the justifiable rage she could have directed to those who made a buck off a potentially lethal situation. Cause you know, that’s how us girls were raised to do..

    • June 12, 2020 08:45

      Yes, probably. I think back then, it was just like “Oh, these zoo people are the authorities on this…” and the bear certainly loved his fig newtons.

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