The Original Seat Belt, A Mother’s Day card brings back fond memories

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Always on each birthday or Mother’s Day my children always select special cards for me. My son tries to get one that will be humorous and the other he gives me will be sentimental (mushy). My daughter spends a great deal of time selecting one that expresses her feelings. I treasure each one and have kept all these cards down through the years. I love to go back and re-read them. When I am gone they can throw them away. After all, one man’s treasure is another man’s trash.

A Restraint

This year John’s funny card really brought back a lot of memories of old things we did and of superstitions and all the old “sayings” we observed. The card was a “Shoe Box Card” by hallmark. The picture on the front was of a bleary eyed woman, with a huge mouth and long arms. Her right arm was extended to the right front door of her car that she was driving. She was restraining a small boy. The caption said “Mother – The Original Seat Belt” and inside the card was “Happy Mother’s Day” and underneath he had written, “I remember, Momma!” And I remembered. This was before the law requiring seat belts, even if cars had them. I was so afraid when I suddenly applied the brakes as I drove that I might throw either child off the seat, so I always threw my right arm out. My mother lived to be 89 and when I had her beside me I also threw my arm out to restrain her. I did this for so many years that I continued to do that even after the children were grown, and even after my mother had gone to heaven.

He Loves Me…

All those memories brought back things we did as children and later as even young adults. Such as when I was a little girl we pulled the petals off a daisy or a zinnia and the first petal we said “he loves me” and the second “he loves me not” and on to the last petal. We hoped the last petal said “He loves me” but not always did it come out that way. We were too little to really have a boyfriend to love us but we said that anyway.

And then we put a dandelion blossom (yellow) under our chin. If it reflected yellow on our skin that meant we loved butter. I never saw anyone with anything but a yellow reflection.

So much for that test.

I Wish

In the early evening we watched for the first star to make its appearance, and we said “Star Light Star Bright, first star I’ve seen tonight. I wish I may, I wish I might, have the wish I wish tonight.” And then, privately to ourselves, we wished the most outlandish
wish we could think of. We never told what we wished to anyone.

Another adage that we truly believed was “Friday night’s dream, Saturday morning foretold, will come to pass before it is nine days old.” if that dream was a bad one we surely never uttered a word of it, scared to tell. Another saying about dreams was that if you spent the night in a new room (such as a hotel or as a guest in a home) your dream that night would come true.

Superstitions

Now here is one that I still follow even though I know it is not correct. “Don’t ever eat fish with milk or a milk product such as ice cream. It will kill you.” I didn’t and I
still don’t.

How about “don’t step on the seams in a side walk (we called them cracks) because it will break your mother’s back” and we were so careful to not step on them.

If you spill salt, always throw a pinch of it over your left shoulder to avoid bad luck.

Break a mirror and you will have nine years of bad luck.

When you marry always choose a man whose last name starts with a different letter than yours. We believed “change your name but not the letter, change for worse and not for better.” Just chose the man I loved, and didn’t think about the spelling of his name.

Weather

And there were many weather sayings that often seem to come true. Such as “as late as it thunders in February it will frost in April” and often there is a cold spell toward the end of April (but not a frost.)

Don’t let a black cat cross your path in front of you.

And please don’t walk under an open ladder. Bad luck!!!

Our parents had a great number of these old sayings that we were reared with and we believed them.

New Money

On one occasion my mother and some friends were showing the new moon some money. The saying was “New moon, new moon, please give me some money.” Mother had a quarter that each held up to the moon as they recited this little jingle. one of the girls had a half-witted brother. He pocketed the money and would not give it back. He said he had the money the moon promised.

Some I questions back then and of course still do. Are all three colored cats female?

Are all children born on Friday full of woe? And are all children born on Wednesday loving and giving? You tell me.

And do we always have three deaths in a row here in Minden. Often that is the case and it almost bears out that old saying.

Unladylike

And to cure hiccups you recited “Hiccup High cup, Hiccup Jacob, three sips from a teacup will cure the hiccups.” Didn’t work for me, did you try that?

Last year john’s card was of a cat, sprawled out on its back with its legs all spraddled out. The caption read: “Do something unladylike on your birthday.” Well I didn’t try that. My! What a plethora of crazy thoughts came back with the card from the Original Seat Belt. (Mama)

Did we have good sense back then? Do you really think so?

Juanita Agan submitted a weekly column to the Press-Herald for more than 15 years until her death in 2008. She was a resident of Minden since 1935. The Press-Herald is republishing select articles from Mrs. Agan’s Cameos column every Wednesday.

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