The summer of 1968 when I was six and my brother, Jim, was three, our mother was admitted to
LDS Hospital in for surgeries and treatment of a tumor in her adrenal gland. She was away for nearly three months so Jim and I became Relief Society projects as we were passed from house to house to be cared for until she returned home. I have some hazy memories of the kind townspeople who allowed us to stay in their homes, sometimes for weeks at a time. Salt Lake City
One of those families was the Taylors who lived on
Main Street in Hinckley. Mr. Taylor was an old farmer, who walked with two canes. He lived with his sweet wife, and their 30-something son, Ralph, who had been blinded in one eye. There were legends circulating around town when I was young, that Ralph, as a teenager, had been hit in the face with a snowball containing something that caused him to lose that eye. Some of the stories said it was a rock, others said glass and I remember one version which claimed it was acid. Regardless, the Taylors were charitable and allowed this couple of little snot-nosed, cry-baby kids to stay at their home for a period of days while their Dad went to work and their Mom was in the hospital.
didn't have any toys at their house since their youngest child was an adult and I don’t believe they owned a television set. Needless to say, those few weeks were less than thrilling for Jim and me. Jim showed his displeasure at being there by running away at least once a day. A three-year-old on the run was a big sister's responsibility so I would track him down and bring him back. He was usually hiding in a haystack or old shed somewhere between the Taylors 's house and our place. Taylor
Mrs. Taylor made us liverwurst sandwiches for lunch each day we were there. She used crumbly, homemade wheat bread. One day as we sat at the table eating our sandwiches, she decided to treat us to some Kool Aid. We thought that sounded tasty on a hot afternoon. Mrs. Taylor set out some silver-colored aluminum tumblers. (Do you remember those tall aluminum tumblers that looked like hammered metal? They made everything taste awful and I think may be the cause of Alzheimer's in many people of that generation. For some reason they are a hot ‘retro’ item now and you can buy or sell them on ebay for an exorbitant sum.) Mrs. Taylor filled two of those shiny, metal cups to the top with orange punch. Jim and I each took a big, thirsty gulp only to be shocked into nearly spewing it all over the Formica table. Mrs. Taylor hadn't added the cup of sugar to the water and little packet of orange powder. It was nearly the nastiest-tasting stuff we had ever tasted, but our parents had demanded we be polite, say 'thank you' and eat/drink everything we were given and never be wasteful, so I dutifully and miserably swallowed every drop of bitter Kool Aid. I was never so relieved to see the bottom of one of those ugly cups. I had to coax, threaten and cajole Jim into finishing his punch. He kept sipping and making faces. Just as he finally drained the last dribbles from his tumbler, Mrs. Taylor walked back into the kitchen and cheerfully refilled both cups with more of the sour stuff. Without even a pause for breath, Jim burst into tears, jumped from his stool, and ran out the door to find another hiding place.
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