Sweet pea in a bag

It was confusing for Sixties kids sitting too close to the tv in the dark basement. It was sort of "Don't ask, don't tell." We couldn't figure out how Popeye and Olive Oyl got Swee'Pea. The mystery added to our storky worries about the source of babies. Swee'Pea did not seem to have legs. He/she/it crawled around in a bunting jammie bag wearing a goofy bonnet or a captain's hat.

Without help from me, my Sweet Pea Seed Kit is growing on the window sill. I forgot all about it for at least a week. Thank heaven the vines haven't started weaving upward through the mini-blind slats.

Pre-adolescents on the loose at Gateway Mall in the mid-Sixties used to nab freebie datebooks at the Hallmark Card Shop. These month-by-month calendars were about 4" square, so too big to be magazines for our Barbie dolls. The calendars were just big enough to write in names on the birthdates for friends and family. The calendars were also a much-studied source of information about birthstones and birthmonth flowers, plus traditional wedding and anniversary gifts. We expended great effort memorizing this information, and a whole generation of female shoppers was trained to buy birthday gifts and cards OR feel very inadequate.

I read another horror story of bullying in the newspaper this morning. A young teen hung herself after months of bullying. I know of only one case of true bullying in my growing-up, and I occasionally wonder how that incident impacted the victim and the perpetrators over the decades.

Teasing was rampant back then, if bullying was rare. I was a victim of birth month flower teasing, if you can comprehend this offense! Due to my April birthday I was scorned for my sweet pea birth flower by playmates jealous of my diamond birthstone. These were the years when diamonds were a girl's best friend, gentlemen preferred blondes, and sweet peas were assumed to be stinky pee-you!

© 2010 Nancy L. Ruder

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