Mom and Me
I was one of the first generation of Sesame Street kids. My favorite character was the Cookie Monster, so, of course, I would ask for cookies. My mom, in an effort to keep me healthy and thin, would give me a cracker (by the way, this only works when you have a one-child household). I don’t know if I gobbled them like the puppet did, but my mom thought she was terribly clever.
Then, one day, she took me to her mom’s house and left me in Grandma’s care. At some point during the day – probably right after watching the Cookie Monster – I asked her for a cookie. She went to her cookie jar and produced one of those Mother’s iced animal-shaped cookies with the sprinkles on it. (No, I don’t actually remember the cookie, but it’s a fair bet that’s what she gave me – Grandma Millie always had those in the cookie jar.) Right away, I realized I had been snookered.
The next time I asked my mom for a cookie and she handed me a cracker, she says I frowned and said, “No. Cookie!” At which point she called her mother and discovered that I was no longer going to be fooled by a Ritz cracker. Understandably, I was skeptical of any information I received from my mom from that point forward.
The Boogie Man
My mom was also afraid of living alone, which she essentially did for most of my childhood. My dad worked construction and was frequently out of town. Mom and I had a routine: anytime we arrived home after dark, Mom would call Grandma Millie (who lived half an hour away and, therefore, could do nothing to save us except call the cops) and have her wait on the phone while I went through the house opening doors, checking closets and showers, and peeking under beds, all the while calling out for the Boogie Man: “Here, Boogie Man! Come out, come out, wherever you are!”
When I had checked everywhere, I would go back to my mom and let her know that we were Boogie-Man free and she would tell Grandma, who, I presume would breathe a sigh of relief.
As an adult, I can only assume that, had a “Boogie Man” actually been in the house, she would have run screaming from the house, thereby alerting my grandma that she should call the police.
Some of you may have noticed that I didn’t spell “bogeyman” correctly above. There is a reason for this: I am a child of the Seventies – the disco era, specifically. When my mom told me to look for the Boogie Man, I was expecting John Travolta to jump out of the closet. Come to think of it, I suspect many people have been expecting that for decades now.