My mother was a product of the Great Depression. There weren't just two rolls of toilet paper in the hall closet, for example, there were thirty or forty, maybe even more. You name the necessary item, she had stocked up enough to last for a very long time.
I do not remember thinking, as a child, that we were 'poor', and we weren't, not really. What we didn't have my mother more than made up for in imagination and ingenuity.
While the three of us kids were growing up, Mom did not work outside of the home. She was ALWAYS available if we needed her! I remember one time when I was home from school, alone -- our house was the Presbyterian manse, 1/2 block away from the school I attended and almost adjacent to where she was playing bridge at the Sacred Heart church. (She always left a note saying where she'd be, how to reach her, and what time we should expect her back home.)
I knew that she kept chocolate candies above the kitchen sink in a very high cabinet. I wanted a chocolate candy. Somehow or another I climbed up onto the free-standing sink and then, balanced ever so precariously, reached up to try and open the cabinet door that housed the goodies.
It wouldn't open! I kept pulling, harder and harder, until -- all of a sudden -- the whole cabinet pulled out of the wall and came crashing down onto the floor, bringing all of Grandmother's good china (and yes, my chocolate goodies) down with it!!
Some sort of basic survival instinct must have caused me to quickly get down and dive under the sink when I saw that the cabinet was going to come down on me. I don't know how to explain it other than that. Certainly, there was no time to plan a course of action!
When all of the horrendous noise had finally abated and I had the nerve to look out upon the scene, I had trouble believing my eyes! Shattered china EVERYwhere!! Goodies still intact. However, I no longer desired a chocolate candy.
My only thought was, "I did this. I did this! I did this!!" And then, "How am I ever going to tell her?" "How can I ever repay her?"
Sobbing, I called the emergency number that she had left and was barely coherent, I'm sure, as my message was relayed.
It couldn't have been two or three minutes later when Mom arrived home. She first, after her initial shock at seeing the mess, asked me if I was all right. Of course I was 'all right', but her mother's favorite set of china (except, perhaps, for a fortunate piece or two) was not!
Then she grabbed a shovel and asked me to hold the container while she shoveled the shattered pieces into it, tears streaming down her cheeks the whole while.
I never heard another word about it ... never!