Talk about your lactose intolerance. I wouldn’t drink a glass of powdered milk today if my life depended on it. If you’ve ever had to drink powdered milk, you have my sympathy. Hopefully you were at least able to drink the 50/50 mixture: half regular milk and half powdered milk. That’s how my Mom would make it. She had to stretch the real milk out by the end of the week for crying out loud — I mean a gallon of milk probably cost as much as 65 cents back then. Money doesn’t grow on trees people! At least it didn’t in my back yard in Vallejo, because I was always looking for it to prove my parents wrong. But I couldn’t see that well, so why I stared up at the trees, I don’t know.
I remember having to get glasses in the fourth grade. Oh, the humanity!! It was grade school suicide to walk into class with four eyes back then. I remember the day I had to pick out my glasses. When we went into the Optometry section of Kaiser Hospital, I expected to see a kid-size wall of specs to choose from. But the eye doctor led me and my Mom to a tiny cabinet, opened the tiny drawer, and there were two sets of frames to choose from: fat brown plastic octagon-shaped nightmares, and light blue cat eyes with three dainty star-shaped crystals in the wings. Really Kaiser Hospital? Thanks a lot. Well, I chose the cat eyes because I really wanted people to make fun of me. But, ohhhh man. As we left that hospital in the wood-paneled station wagon I looked out the window and “Ouila!!” I could see!!! I could see!!! I could see leaves on trees!! I could see the street names on street signs!! I could see people staring at my freaky glasses.
My new glasses also made it easier to read the chore list on the kitchen wall. We had a bonafide, handwritten chore list that Mom updated every week to change the chores around. Well, Melissa only had to pick up the apples that fell on the ground in the backyard, but the rest of us had all kinds of chores. This started in the late 60s with Tracy and I doing dishes. I can remember standing on a chair to wash dishes at the sink. Dang my parents were brave. Can you imagine how “clean” those dishes were?
When we were old enough, Mom had us kids “make the drinks” for the week. It was an actual chore on the list. We had three different plastic pitchers in the house, featuring the required groovy 70s colors: avocado, goldenrod and well, brown. Actually, we had lots of color coordination going on at our house. My Mom was very organized, or, maybe she just thought we were all developmentally disabled and color coding would help us in our day-to-day lives. We each had our own “color” for drinking cups, toothbrushes and hairbrushes. She even sewed a piece of colored embroidery thread into our socks and underwear representing our designated hue. I guess that was easier for her when she sorted laundry, and thank goodness, because I never wanted to wear my other sisters’ underwear. My color was green. I still love the color green, but I don’t sew it into my underwear.
Back to the colors for the liquid containers.
Avocado – This was your basic juice container, usually (hopefully) Tang. Yum, Tang. It would help us grow up to be big and strong astronauts. I loved Tang. It was so tang-y. I hated pineapple juice. It was from a giant can and we poured it into the avocado green container to make if fancy. But oh — hurl — the bottom of the pineapple juice container was almost as bad as the bottom of the powdered milk container.
Goldenrod – Specifically for Iced Tea or Kool-Aid. Our iced tea was not made with fancy tea bags … we had to use the fake iced tea powder from the glass jar. We’d just pour a ton of white refined sugar in there to make it drinkable. And obviously we did the same with Kool-Aid –a full cup of sugar for one pitcher … woah! Drink a green plastic cup full of that and get ready for Crazy Kid Calisthenics in the living room.
Brown – The dreaded Powdered Milk mixture. Boy, you had better mix that sucker up well. Blend all those chunks in nice and good, because if you ended up getting the last glass of “milk” from the pitcher, you were screwed. You would certainly do a beeline to the nearest sink after drinking a gloppy gulp of powdered milk chunklets. Of course, you probably wouldn’t be able to tell the difference between the milky chunklets and the barf in your mouth as you heaved up the mixture. Milk … it does a body good!!