This really did happen within the past couple of decades. What I am really trying to say is that my mother, though I am an adult, still attempts to discipline me. She says she gets tired of my mouth. In fact, as a child, I remember when she would be at her wits-end and she would refer to me as “Mouth.”
The time I got the dishrag thrown at me occurred in the presence of my three children, who were of school age at that time, my youngest son being approximately 8 years old. For the life of me, I can not remember what the hell my mother and I were arguing about. Who knows because she and I are oftentimes at opposite ends of any given spectrum. And though we are different in terms of spectrums, we are alike in the determination of driving our points home.
Anyway, the visual here is probably pretty white-trash and dysfunctional, but that’s really not the case. Though, yes, my mother and I have nurtured a dysfunctional relationship between the two of us for most of my existence, we most often provided healthy structure and entertainment for my children (that could also be why this incidence stands out in my mind. My youngest baby saw ME get disciplined).
So my mother was at the kitchen sink in her little double-wide (yeah, there it is, the need to further convince readers that this WAS NOT a white-trash scenario, but that place was adorably cute and cozy!) which was separated from the dining room with a 3/4 wall and a shuttered peep-hole over the sink. The shutters were open and I was in the dining room. I can not remember who, at the time, was living in the double-wide. She owned it but she also owned property with another (you guessed it) trailer on it as well. So we did things like that, we switched houses back and forth and who knows what, trading off and sometimes even cohabitating, all in the effort, of course, to save money and not be white-trash. So, maybe that’s what we were arguing about, domiciles or dollars. Gawds knows, I went through the borrowing-money-from-my-mother-phase, too. Sheesh. Cringy.
On with it.
My kids were bouncing around and playing, like usual, I am sure, a couple of them might even have been outside with the other hood-rats. But I remember my youngest son was near me as this argument ensued. At some point, I hit my mother’s anger button with a mouthy retort. I was doing something, maybe eating or something of the like to require the use of the dining room, and my attention was on what I was doing after my “retort.” Then. All of a sudden, there was a warm, soaking, sudsy, dishrag sliding down the right side of my face. I shrieked initially, trying to figure out what the hell had just hit me in the face and where it had come from. This only took mili-seconds, of course, and when I looked beyond my bubble, I saw my mother standing at the peep-hole with her sudsy hands and a startled look on her face. I don’t think she even meant to throw it! When I made eye contact with her, she gathered her wits and told me, “Shut your fuckin’ mouth!” (Nope, nothing, so far, white-trash about any of this) On instinct, I whipped the rag back towards her, it missed her, but landed in the soapy sink, and splashed a little.
My son had stopped what he was doing (maybe he was eating too, or playing with a pretend gun or sword, he did a lot of that, especially at that age), and he stood incredulous for a few moments. Then he stated the obvious, “Mom, grandma through her dishrag at you.” Then to her, “Grandma, why did you through that at my mom?” Gawds only knows how each of us responded, but I am sure I gathered my offspring and cut the visit short. We were likely mad at each other for several weeks after that, because that was our way in those days. At some point, one of us made an effort to reconnect. Totally don’t remember those details…
Why share this story? No reason really, except that it relates to how my life has been. Not bad, but quirky. Also, my son loves to bring this story up, especially as my mother ages. He likes to look at his sweet looking grandma and his “saintly” (don’t all boys think their mothers are saints?) mother and recall the day that mom got disciplined with a dishrag in her face. And damn, did grandma make good contact, spot-on. The incident is now even a bit of a running joke within the family, “Shut up, or I’ll throw a dishrag at your face.”