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Friday, April 15, 2011

Writing Prompt: Products Your Mother Used

By Marilyn Friedman

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Writing Prompt: Make a list of 5 products that your mother used (or uses). Pick one and write about it for 10 minutes. Then post your write in the comments of this blog!

Comment on this blog! What product does (or did) your mother use? Write about it for 10 minutes and you could win a free class!


Writing Pad said...

She was the commander of clean. “Was their house cleaner than mine?” my mother would always ask whenever I returned from visiting one of my friends as a kid. Of course not! She dedicated every Saturday to cleaning. For almost 8 hours, she scrubbed the floors on hands and knees with a Pine Sol soaked rag. When she was finished, the heart shaped brown ceramic tile of our entryway and black and white lineoleum Fleur De Lys sparkled and reeked of imitation Pine trees and cleaner that always reminded me of turpentine.

She ironed sheets and underwear until the wrinkled cloths were smooth squares of fabric lined up like little soldiers. She didn’t believe in mops or microwaves or sex before marriage. Our house was an ode to 1950’s values.

At first, I tried to help her on Saturdays, but she was always in a bad mood, always critiqing my floor cleaning technique. “Give it to me! You’re just pushing the dirt around,” she said, snapping the rag out of my hands. So eventually, I left her to her hurricane of clean: bedsheets intimidated into hospital corners, old fashioned lace blanket envelopes flicked and whipped until they were perfectly flat.

Instead, I went next door to visit with my neighbors. We baked eclairs and snowball cookies, ate fresh waffles for lunch, and watched TV in their rec room with fistfuls of caramel corn in each hand. It was a lot more fun next door than in my house, the compound of clean.


Emma Brownell said...

My mother began telling me at 11 years old that I should try to sleep on my back - that way, I would get fewer wrinkles. I tried and tried, but ultimately gave up - figuring that sleepless nights were more tortuous, if not worse for one's future looks, than sleeping on one's side.

Wrinkles were something that featured large in our home, much as my mother was told she looked young, all-the-time. I remember my mother pulling the skin between her brows apart - what would she look like if she didn't have those frown lines? (I have them now - how we mirror our friends' and families' expressions.)

This obsession with being wrinkle-free (although the obsession never got to the point of resorting to, or even considering, getting "work" done) meant that SPF was a big deal in our family, even back in the 90s. My mother favored Neutrogena - and so did I. I remember spending August in the South of France at age 16. My half-French best friend and her French friends lay out in their bikinis on the beach of St. Jean de Luz. I lay out in my bikini -- under an extra towel I had spread over me. I'm not sure if it was all worth it - but at 90, I might find out.

Writing Pad said...

Emma--what a great piece! I love that the mother told the narrator that she should sleep on her back to get fewer wrinkles. I've never heard of that before! I love the description of the mother pulling the skin between her brows apart, and the description of the narrator lying out underneath a towel!

Jennifer Erwin said...

Writing Pad-I also had an aunt who cant also stand dirty homes. She's kinda OC and whenever she some dirt and dust anywhere, she would really clean it right away.