Mary Ann was big on dessert. Even with our limited budget, we could usually count on something sweet after dinner, even if it was orange-colored jello with canned mandarin oranges swimming around in it. If it was Payday Week, that jello might be a fancy Jello 1-2-3 concoction. Jello 1-2-3 was a sophisticated dessert that consisted of a layer of jello, with a layer of half jello and half whipped cream on top of that, then finished off with a layer of whipped cream. My Mom would create separate little Jello 1-2-3’s in fancy glasses that she’d tip and rest on the wall of the refrigerator while the jello layers set so they would be diagonally delicious.
But you had to clean your plate in order to get dessert. And hopefully dinner wasn’t too late, because she wouldn’t give us sweets too close to bedtime. That would cause nightmares. And we had to be careful what we watched on TV or what we read before bedtime. So Mom had a big book of Mother Goose Nursery Rhymes that she’d read to us when we were little. Sounds sweet, doesn’t it? Guess again. That thing did more damage than three servings of Jello 1-2-3 eaten after 9 p.m.
I’m convinced that the parents of serial killers read their children beddie-bye stories every night consisting of fairy tales, nursery rhymes and other messed-up fable-type crap when they were little. C’mon, these fairly tales weren’t about fairies. They were about scary monsters, wicked witches and blood-thirsty wolves. Crack open one of those classic tales for the kiddies, fill their heads full of terror, then turn out the lights and shut the door. Sweet dreams sweet pea!!
If you don’t believe me, let me remind you of these classic fairy tales and fables:
1. Hansel and Gretel: Witch kidnaps children, witch prepares to eat children, children throw witch in fire.
2. Little Red Riding Hood: Wolf dresses up as Grandma, wolf eats little girl.
3. Peter and the Wolf: Wolf threatens little boy, wolf eats duck. Poor Sonia.
4. The Boy Who Cried Wolf: Little boy fakes wolf attack, little boy fakes wolf attack, little boy fakes wolf attack. Wolf gets sick of being falsely accused and has little boy for dinner with some fava beans.
Resulting nightmare: My little sister Coleen being eaten by a giant wolf in our backyard.
Secondary nightmare: Three werewolves wearing polo shirts and shorts tying me up in the backyard. Luckily I wake up screaming before they eat me. Phew. Wait, this one could be the result of too many Sunday morning viewings of “Abbott and Costello Meet Frankenstein.”
5. Snow White: Witch gives girl poisoned apple; girls goes in to a coma.
6. Jack and the Beanstalk: Giant terrifies little boy. Boy goes in to a coma, or gets eaten or thrown in an oven. I can’t remember.
Nursery rhymes were no picnic either. I think the Brothers Grimm were the bastard offspring of Mother Goose.
Let’s review these classics, just for fun:
London bridge is falling down, falling down, falling down
London bridge is falling down, my fair lady
Take the key and lock her up, lock her up, lock her up.
Take the key and lock her up, my fair lady.
I guess London Bridge was always in a state of disrepair and constantly being rebuilt? Who knows. I don’t even think the lyrics above are correct — that’s just the way we learned them when we were little. Though I did always wonder, why were they locking HER up? I thought they should’ve locked up my next-door-neighbor best friend Randy for being such a brat.
Ring around the rosie, a pocket full of posies,
Ashes, ashes, we all fall DOWN!
I don’t know how many times all of us kids held hands and danced around in a circle singing this happy tune, oblivious to the fact that a pocket full of posies was supposedly intended to mask the smell of the Black Plague death surrounding us, and the ashes falling down were the delightful result of cities and bodies burning around us … and then we DIE! Woo-hoo!! Ahh, good times.
Rock-a-bye baby in the tree top,
When the wind blows the cradle will rock,
When the bough breaks the cradle will fall
And down will come baby, cradle and all.
Does anyone have the number for Children’s Services?
Jack and Jill went up the hill,
To fetch a pail of water;
Jack fell down, and broke his crown,
And Jill came tumbling after.
Wait, maybe someone should call 911 first. Then Children’s Services.
Go tell Aunt Rhodie, go tell Aunt Rhodie,
Go tell Aunt Rhodie the old grey goose is dead.
So much for Christmas dinner kids.