Growing up I had to endure many hardships inflicted on me by my parents. Going to bed early, wearing snow pants, eating a home cooked breakfast and vitamins every morning. I always got sent to bed at 7:30 when I was little. That meant I only saw the first half of all of those Star Trek episodes. That actually came in handy because in college when they re-ran Star Trek, I didn’t know how the episodes ended.
But the absolute worst of all, homemade bread.
Even though my Mom worked full-time teaching high school and acted as the Drama Coach and Forensics Coach and went to school in the summer and had four children and a disabled husband, she baked bread and rolls every Saturday. We never had store bought bread. She would make dinner rolls, white bread, oatmeal bread and sometimes sweet rolls.
I felt sure that we were very poor. I thought life would be a dream if we could get some of that Macaroni and Cheese out of a box, or soup out of a can, or better yet....Wonder Bread!! How I longed for those perfectly even slices of white bread in that cool plastic bag with the colored dots. We would really be living if we had that bread. How could I ever be like the Brady Kids or the Partridge Kids, if we didn’t have bread in a plastic sack?
When I was little I would play out little scenes in my mind of going grocery shopping and buying loaves of bread. I would have the money for that sort of thing. And soup in cans, and macaroni and cheese in a box. The cheese in that box was powdered, it must be really good. At least, that’s what I thought.
I could just imagine putting all those colorful items in my fancy kitchen, in one of those really modern mobile homes that they brought into town. No big house on a corner lot for me. I would get one of those modern trailer homes. I was going to have the money for that too. Boy that would be living!
My first week in college I learned a lot of things. One of the things I learned? I was the dumbest kid in the world. I had my Wonder Bread all right. I had it at every meal. They didn’t have anything else.
In the years before designer bread, the only thing in our cafeteria (Gordo’s for those in the know) or Pop’s Club was plastic wrapped, tasteless bread. It was awful. What kind of bread can you squish down into a little ball anyway?
All of those years I saw those commercials and thought that store bought bread must be great, until of course I ate some.
Talk about culture shock. Powdered eggs, powdered cheese, tasteless bread. I didn’t have to worry about the freshman ten, I hated the food.
I can’t begin to tell you how many times Cheryl and I went to dinner and got our trays and got all the way to the other end of the cafeteria with only our drink on the tray. Then we would halfheartedly go get a Chef’s Salad. The desert looked good. I had heard a lot about that Sara Lee whoever she was.
Well all I can say is my Mom also made homemade cheesecake. And what about yogurt and granola? Well you guessed it, we had great yogurt and Mom made the homemade granola. That’s right she made granola.
My Mom mailed me a loaf of bread, a knife and a jar of peanut butter. For that week, I ate good lunches. Then my Gramma Al froze a jar of her homemade vegetable soup and sent it to me. It was still partially frozen when I opened the package. She included bread as well. I think they were all worried I would starve to death.
All those years, I spent watching commercials showing the happy, glowing pictures of kids eating Wonder Bread. They were always so happy. Were they crazy? or didn’t they know any better? And Kraft Macaroni and Cheese? My Gramma Al made us macaroni and cheese using pasta and cheese. Real cheese that she sliced up. And it tasted good. We lived in Wisconsin for heavens sake, why would anyone use powdered cheese?
I miss the days of being that naive. I miss the things we all used to believe in, like Wonder Bread and Sugar Pops. Sugar Pops was one of my favorite cereals. I thought they stopped making it. It turns out they renamed it Corn Pops. I guess I know why. Sugar is now supposed to be bad for us. I wonder why that is? I like sugar. It tastes good and it goes good in cookies and cakes and pies that you bake. Yes, I bake those, they taste much better than store bought.
Well I don’t know about the rest of the world , but I’m taking this stuff all with a grain of salt. And yes, I eat salt. I also eat cheese and ice cream and real eggs and I drink milk and eat store bought bread. We did manage to find one that sort of tastes homemade. .
It turns out my Mom made bread, rolls, granola, cheesecake, and everything else because she loved us. It wasn’t some sort of punishment after all, it was a way to provide good nutritious food for her kids.
I look at people walking down my street with their spouses, sometimes a baby or dog or both in tow. and I think geez , I wish I felt as good as they do. Like the people in the Wonder Bread commercials, they look great, I’m sure they have perfectly happy, healthy lives. And here I am with AA.
But I know better. Things are not always what they appear to be. All those years I believed that prepackaged store bought food was a sign of wealth and guaranteed a whole new lifestyle. I would be like Marcia Brady if I was eating Wonder Bread. And If I didn’t have AA, I would be perfectly happy, right?
Wrong, having AA doesn’t make a person happy or sad, you need to make your own life happy or sad. Your disease doesn’t determine the happiness in your life. It also doesn’t determine the accomplishments or the let downs.
You choose everyday whether to make this day a full one or empty, whether to cry or to laugh and whether to let this disease knock you down, or make you pull yourself up. It’s up to you to make this life what your want it to be.
That bag of Wonder Bread isn’t going to do it for you, you’ll have to make your life out of scratch, it’s not store bought.