It’s Not All Mary Poppins

Blame it on My Youth: Why I am Memory-Challenged

I’m eating breakfast.

Cold toast doesn’t go down well. You ever notice that? The butter doesn’t melt in, the bread is hard, though not hard enough to go “crunch” when it’s bitten. You don’t “crunch” into cold toast, you grind your teeth through it, tearing the bit unwilling from the rest of the slice. Because the butter is just sitting on top, anything you try to lay on top of the slice will slide and likely fall off its well-greased surface with every bite. Ick.

It’s not easy to swallow, either, because, what with gnawing at that piece of fat-smeared cardboard for the five minutes it takes to masticate, you have no saliva left.

I like my toast hot. I know this, because I’ve had it that way before. I remember having hot toast. I remember it fondly: the crunch when you bite, the uprising melted butter, it salty goodness, the way it slipped down so smoothly. Yummm.

I think the last time I had hot toast was in December 6, 1985, the day before my eldest child was born.

A hot slice of toast and a hot cup of tea. *sigh* (What? Why are you looking at me like that? A woman has a right to her fantasies!!) All right, I admit it: I do get the hot tea part. Thank goodness for microwaves. Just not with the toast. Hot tea and hot toast, at the SAME TIME?? What do you think I am, a miracle-worker??

Darcy was scrambling over the baby gate earlier, chanting “climb-climb, climb-climb” as he did so. Now I have that antique Sunday School song (because I am approaching my antique-hood, after all), “Climb, Climb up Sunshine Mountain” running through my head.

You know it?

“Climb, climb up Sunshine Mountain,
Heavenly breezes blow.
Climb, climb up Sundshine Mountain,
Faces all aglow.
Turn, turn from sin and doubting,
Look to God on high.
Climb, climb up Sunshine Mountain,
You and I.”

I have not thought of this song for well over 30 years, I’m sure, and for good reason. What on earth is “Sunshine Mountain”? I don’t know now; I surely didn’t know when I sang it as a six-year-old. It has a nice enough tune, just boucy enough to get stuck in one’s head and to please a musically-inclined six-year-old, but what does it mean? Diddly, that’s what it means. Nothing but sentiment.

No wonder I have no memory any more. In the innocent recklessness of childhood, I assumed it to be bottomless, and so filled it, willy-nilly with meaningless childhood detritus. Bits of song, skipping rhymes, childhood lore (remember “snake spit”?), all stuff of which I am completely unaware until, prompted by some random event, it leaps to the forefront of my mind.

Thus, I can remember “Sunshine Mountain”, but I cannot remember my toast before it’s stone cold. What a foolish child I was.

May 5, 2006 - Posted by | Uncategorized


  1. You have absolutely no idea of what brain clutter is. Just wait until you’re my age and have accumulated another 25 years or so of meaningless trivia.

    I do feel for you though. Cold toast, cold coffee or tea, scrambled eggs are the worst of all.


    Comment by Granny | May 5, 2006 | Reply

  2. You must have better butter up in Canada. I used to love buttered toast – even cold buttered toast – but at some point butter stopped tasting like ‘butter’ and started tasting like ‘grease.’ Organic butter still has that sweet creaminess, but who can afford $7/pound?

    We need to invent some kind of thermos warmer for toast.

    Comment by BeckaJo | May 5, 2006 | Reply

  3. I must be odd. I actually kind of like cold toast with hot tea…

    Comment by Haley | May 5, 2006 | Reply

  4. Sitting down to an uninterupted meal eaten with both hands…..

    Definitely a fantasy;-)

    Comment by Mrs.Aginoth | May 5, 2006 | Reply

  5. By the time I can sit and eat my toast and drink my coffee it’s cold. Both of ’em.

    I don’t think it’s our age..I think it’s our lifestyles. Busy Busy Busy.

    Comment by kimmyk | May 5, 2006 | Reply

  6. huh. I was going for “Climb Every Mountain.” Toast comes warm? Wait, you have viable bread in your house? I am so impressed…

    Comment by kittenpie | May 5, 2006 | Reply

  7. We’re so busy feeding little people, that our own meals usually go cold, or even untouched. Hey, that could be a new weight loss program!

    Comment by Mamacita Tina | May 5, 2006 | Reply

  8. Hot toast and tea! A wonderful combination that I miss very much. I swear my son’s strategy to foil my pleasure is to poop every time the toaster pops up.

    But I know what you mean about those random memories popping into your mind at odd times. Sometimes I think it might be because I had Sam at 40 so I’d stored all those random kid memories into my braincells years ago never expecting I’d have to open them again. But every now and then I seem to stumble on a key,

    Comment by Anne V | May 5, 2006 | Reply

  9. That was lovely, Mary.

    Comment by MIM | May 6, 2006 | Reply

  10. Not a foolish child at all.

    and Ann is right– cold scrambled eggs are icky.

    I put bagels under the broiler and burn them to a crisp twice yesterday morning because I got distracted. At least you don’t do that.

    Comment by Jenorama | May 6, 2006 | Reply

  11. Granny: Thanks, I think. I don’t know whether to be reassured by that, or terrified!

    Scrambled eggs? I generally get them hot, only because you must stand over them to cook them, and when finished, I’ll eat them straight from the pan if that’s what it takes. Tea and toast? You can walk away from them – deadly.

    Beckajo: I use the term “butter” liberally: in fact, it’s been years since we’ve had any in the house. The stuff’s expensive, and we go through a lot, what with all the bodies around here.

    Haley: You are kind of odd, my dear, but I still love you!

    MrsA: Ah, yes. You have a baby young enough to sit in a lap during meals! I guess we’ll each have a fantasy influenced by our stage in life.

    Kimmyk: Do you drink the coffee, cold? Once coffee’s gone cold, I cant’ touch it. Since it tastes so awful reheated, I may as well just throw it out. Of course, since I only drink decaf, I don’t have the caffeine to drive me to desperation!

    (Though I still wish I could…)

    Kittenpie: We have viable bread because 1) my lovely husband does all the meal-planning and grocery shopping* and 2) there are far too many bodies in our house for bread ever to go stale! It simply doesn’t last that long: it’s either viable, or it’s digested.

    *Yes, I know, know, know how lucky I am! It was born of desperation for him: being hypoglycaemic, he has to eat at regular intervals; with me being so woefully absent-minded, meals with me in charge tend to the haphazard. As it turns out, he enjoys the tasks, and I love never having to think about what to cook: I just check out the list on the fridge to see what’s on for today. It’s great.

    M.Tina: Hmmm… This could explain why I’ve gained weight in recent years. Though I don’t eat with the tots during the day, at least my own kids are old enough to feed themselves! (Make their own meals, even!!)

    AnneV: Maybe there’s some kind of weird behavioural connection being made: the smell of toast triggers his bowel?

    Memories for me are very often triggered by a sound. I know aroma is supposed to be uniquely associated with memory, but for me, it’s sound. Other things, too, but sound most often.

    mim: Thank you.

    Jen I tried to find the post in which I wrote about setting a taco on fire in my efforts to crisp it up for making into nacho chips. I wanted nachos, and we had no chips! Desperate times called for desperate – well, at least creative – measures. But I can’t find it.

    Anyway. Yes, I DO do that. And some of the neighbours still enjoy reminding me of it…

    Comment by Mary P. | May 7, 2006 | Reply

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