Thursday, October 11, 2012

Age 8: Selling Cupcakes

In 1968, it was okay to go door-to-door with a plate full of cupcakes.  We sold them for 5c each.  I don't thing we needed the money, but with six girls and one boy, maybe my Mom just wanted us to do something productive.

My older sister stayed home, leaving me with Martha and Louise.  That also left me in charge.  Martha was one year younger than me, and in turn, Louise was one year younger than her.  We were properly dressed with white socks and shoes, sleeveless plaid shirts, and crisp pants that had a line down the middle as my Mom liked to iron.  Our hair had ribbons and bows, our teeth were brushed, and we were ready to go.  We lined up in the avocado green-and-mustard kitchen, waiting for Mom to give us the cupcakes.  We thought this would be fun, although it wasn't clear who would get the money.  Figured it would just go to Mom, but why did we need money, anyway?  We shrugged our shoulders in unison as she walked in the room.

She wasn't tall, but to us, being kids, she loomed above us.  We straightened up.  She gave us a huge plate of cupcakes that we had not even helped to make or decorate.  She did it all.  She gave us detailed information on what to say when the person opened the door, how to sell them, and then she instructed us to give a napkin to each person, too.  So I had two plates of cupcakes, Martha had the napkins, and Louise held nothing, so she opened the door.  We determined that if the house had a screen door, Louise would be the one to open it so that people could see the cupcakes.

So off we went!  The outside air greeted us with anticipation and excitement as we made our way with a variety of cupcakes.  We had two plates, each colored with blue, pink, green, yellow, and then a coconut cupcake.  There were multicolored sprinkles and little red sugar flakes that melt in your mouth right away.  We didn't get to eat any before we left, so we briefly contemplated just eating one or two.  But we quickly discarded that idea because there were three of us and it would be a noticeable difference if we didn't get the right amount of money before we went home.

The three of us went, the three "big ones", walking up the street, then around the corner on a Saturday afternoon in Redondo Beach.  As usual for the month of July, it was overcast and droplets of water were visible in the air as we walked through them with ease.  If we weren't on an official journey, we would have looked for cigarette butts on the ground and pretended to smoke, because when we exhaled, 'smoke' from the mist came out.  It was fun to pretend to be a grownup.

So we went to the first door.  A nice lady opened the door, peered at the cupcakes with glee, and bought a few.  She was wondering what we were going to do with the money, so we just told her we were giving it to our Mom.  It didn't occur to us that we could be making the cupcakes ourselves and saving the money to give to the poor, or to build a treehouse or something.  She took the blue one, the coconut one, and the pink one.  We had 15c.  Off we went to the next house.

We did this again and again.  Several people were not even home, and we had to walk a long way to get from one door to the next.  I guess the houses were farther apart than they looked.  Or maybe the plate was getting heavy.  Three more houses, 7 more cupcakes sold.  The sun was coming out now, heating up the place, and we were getting tired.  And hungry.  The jingle of nickels and dimes in my pocked did nothing to make us feel any better.

I put one plate under the other when one plate sold, because it was easier to carry.  But that made for one heavy package that was getting heavier and heavier with each step.  My arms were tired.  We were really hungry now, and we thought maybe we could lie and say a few of them dropped. We were just discussing the plan, when the next door opened to our knock.  The door was already opened and we looked up to give our speech and ~~~~~~ uhmmmm.....~~~ @P(*%Y(@T)#!*%^_$(@*&!!!

Our eyes opened more than they could open!  We gasped!  The lady had a mustache.  What!?  It was a real mustache!  It was thick and gray and it went up on the ends.  It was a Real Live Mustache on a Lady!  She was old, peppered gray hair and I don't know how tall she was or what she was wearing or what she said, and actually I don't know if she said anything at all.  For an instant we thought we were being punished by God for thinking of lying about the cupcakes.  Honestly, maybe she was a witch!  Maybe she had evil powers and she would try to grab us and pull us into her house and stick us in a brew of some kind!

We glanced sideway at one another.  We didn't say a word.  I simply dropped the plate of cupcakes on the ground as I jetted away, and one cupcake after another was toppling down down smash crumble oh my!  We ran!  We ran and we ran all the way home.  We weren't laughing, we weren't being mean, we were just plain scared.

We ran and we ran and we ran.

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