Welcome to the series of Posts from Your Archives, where bloggers put their trust in me. In this series, I dive into a blogger’s archives and select four posts to share here to my audience.
If you would like to know how it works here is the original post: https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2019/04/28/smorgasbord-posts-from-your-archives-newseries-pot-luck-and-do-you-trust-me/
This is Elizabeth Slaughter’s second post from the archives and I have selected a post from a series from 2017 about people in her life who she remembered as showing kindness..known as “Cookie” people.
“Rusty Triumphs Over Boogieman” by Elizabeth Slaughter
Years ago I heard a reference to “cookie people,” though I am unable to locate it now. The phrase described the people in a child’s life who, though not able to prevent harm from occurring, by providing nurture and comfort mitigated the effects of abuse. I am about to begin a series of “cookie people” entries, some who fit the above definition and some who simply provided help and reassurance throughout my life. The series will focus on good neighbors who made a real difference in my life.
Rusty was the mother of my good friend Skipper. They had other names, but they were too formal, so everyone called them Rusty and Skipper. I didn’t call her Mrs. anybody, just Rusty. The photo above was taken when she was in her 80’s, but perhaps the hard-boiled no nonsense personality she had when I was a kid comes through in the photo.
Rusty had been in the Women’s Army Corps during World War II, and she was the most feisty of all our neighbors. I loved her and loved spending the night at Skipper’s house. Skipper was afraid of the boogieman and before he and I went to sleep, Rusty would look under the bed and assure us that the boogieman was gone. This was my first experience with a parent taking night fears seriously, and I felt very safe at their house.
I also owe Rusty a debt of gratitude for my being a nonsmoker. I loved watching her smoke and told her I wanted to try it. So she handed me a cigarette, and my 6 year old self took a very deep breath in. I promptly threw up. Better aversion therapy could not have been designed, and I was forever cured of the mystique of smoking.
So here’s to Rusty who showed me, even in the very domesticated 1950’s, that women could be both tough and caring. It was a terrific lesson for one little girl.
©Elizabeth Slaughter 2017
About Elizabeth Slaughter
I am retired from the Pacific Northwest College of Art(originally the Museum Art School) in Portland, Oregon where I was a professor of English and taught for 25 years. I had the privilege and challenge of teaching painters, photographers, sculptors, printmakers, illustrators, ceramicists, and graphic design students to express themselves in words. We also engaged in lively discussions about poetry, fiction, nonfiction and drama. It was a unique opportunity for me to flourish in an nontraditional (for English professors) academic setting where how I taught was privileged over what research I published.
My family moved to the East coast fifteen years ago when much of the world seemed to be descending on Portland. In doing so, I mirrored a journey my parents had taken to relocate from Brooklyn to Oregon in 1948 when I was one year old. Here I continued teaching at the local community college before deciding to retire all together.
About Elizabeth’s Blog: https://elizabethslaughter.com/about/
This is the beginning of a larger project to share various kinds of writing I enjoy. I am starting with this blog, but intend to incorporate that into a web site which will include poetry, longer reflective essays, short memoir pieces and family history accounts.
I hope you will head over to Elizabeth’s blog and enjoy browsing through her archives as they are rich with history.. thanks Sally.