Memories of My Mother
When I was six years old, my mother belonged to the Faculty Women’s Club at the University of Bridgeport, where my father was the Dean of Education.
This required her dressing up in her nicest two-piece suit, putting on her best jewelry–even a hat and gloves–and going off to meetings with the other ladies whose husbands were professors or administrators.
I loved watching her dress up because she was so pretty! She had lovely thick black hair and a beautiful face. When she put on a lovely wool suit, rhinestone jewelry and black suede pumps with straps, she was certainly the prettiest mother in town.
She had assignments for her club meetings. One time her assignment was to make and bring five pounds of fudge. This was a great assignment for my mother, because ever since childhood she had been gifted at making rich chocolate fudge.
The Best Chocolate Fudge In Town
I couldn’t wait for her to get on with her assignment because I knew I would get to lick the bowls and the saucepan! This was a delightful treat. Five pounds was a lot–maybe there would be more than one saucepan and several bowls to lick?
The day came for her to make the fudge. I eagerly hung around the kitchen waiting and watching as she took a pan of ice water and threw in little lumps of fudge to see if they hardened properly. That would be her cue. That meant the fudge had cooked just enough and could now be left to fully harden in the refrigerator.
Problems With the Fudge
As I watched as she kept throwing bits of fudge into the ice water. I noticed…something was wrong! It quickly became clear that her mood was deteriorating. She was fuming and talking under her breath and aggravation was sending vapors through the kitchen.
I asked, “What’s wrong, Mommy? What’s happening?”
“It’s not hardening. See how the fudge is just spreading out in the water. I must have done something wrong. I don’t know what to do.” Then she threw in a little more sugar and a little more butter and again we waited.
Again she checked in the water and again the hot fudge did not harden.
“There’s something really wrong and I simply can’t bring it this way! It’s turned into sauce, not fudge,” she said as she started to cry.
“But Mommy, it’s okay. Maybe it will harden if you put it in the refrigerator anyway,” I said.
“No, it won’t. It has to harden in the ice water. It will just stay fudge sauce in the icebox. Now I have to go to the club meeting without my fair share.”
I worried. I didn’t like when my mother was upset. Then a little smile broke out in the corners of my mother’s face. What a relief! But why was she smiling? I didn’t know what lay in store for her and for me! Would I still get the saucepan to lick? And then the smile broke out even bigger. Then she began to laugh.
The Bright Side of Disaster
“Well, Babsie,” (that was her nickname for me), “I think you’re in for a delight. The only solution is for you to get the whole five pounds of fudge as a sauce to eat over the next few weeks. Now isn’t that a treat? And I guess I’ll have to hurry up and run to the store before I go to the meeting and pick up some bought candy.”
I couldn’t believe it. Suddenly I was the recipient of a treat beyond measure–five pounds of fudge sauce to work my way through! I could come home after school and take teaspoons of it. Maybe even have it at dinner after my dessert as a second dessert. This was a dream come true! I was absolutely elated.
“Oh, Mommy, Mommy, thank you! This is such a great treat! I’m so glad. This is the best fudge that never hardened!”
A Lesson In Life
This little vignette from my childhood is a wonderful example of a moment that appeared to be spoiled and then turned into a precious moment in time with positive effects. I’m sure that all of you have experienced some moments like these along the way–where your darkest apprehensions then turned a corner and good things came out of what appeared to be lost opportunities.
Take a few moments to enjoy searching your past for special times that came out of disappointments or what appeared to be failures.
I hope you’ll share these precious moments with your family and/or friends–maybe over a lovely Holiday dinner that could culminate in ice cream covered in fudge sauce.
Aha! Do you hear what I hear? Sleighbells are ringing in the background, snow is in the forecast, there’s a fire in the fireplace and I’m hoping Santa Claus will be bringing me some homemade fudge!
What are you hoping for this Holiday Season? Let us know in the comments below!
Guest contributor, Dr. Barbara Becker Holstein:
Sometimes friends and colleagues call me ‘The Enchanted Self.’ That’s because as a psychologist in private practice for over 35 years, I’ve developed a form of positive psychology called The Enchanted Self. I’m not enchanted, but I do have many ways and ideas to help all of us feel better through all stages of life. These methods help us to recognize our potential, regardless of our age, to grab on to our talents and find again and again the emotional energies needed to be creative, resourceful, resilient and to live joyfully.
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