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Frosting on the Cake

by Eva Pasco 

Frosting on the Cake by Eva PascoGeorge Orwell’s post WWII term, "Cold War," impacted the lives of adolescent Baby Boomers in the Fifties and Sixties. This state of political conflict, military tension, space race, espionage, and propaganda between the Soviet Union and the Untied States was literally over our heads as we crouched beneath our school desks during drills of preparedness and protection from imminent nuclear attack. Meanwhile, TV shows like Leave it to Beaver and Ozzie and Harriet went nuclear to reinforce the image of a self-contained family with the traditional role for women as housewives the social norm.

Back in the Sixties when most families had one car driven to work by the head of the nuclear family, the women stayed home to cook, clean, and supervise the children during school vacations. Since there were no outposts of civilization within walking distance in Lincoln’s rural village of Limerock: supermarket, variety store, movie theater, pharmacy, bakery—the housewives in the neighborhood took matters into their own hands before the bacon providers came home from work expecting dinner on the table. Ding dong…

Besides the aforementioned gimmicks my mother employed to stave boredom during school summer vacation in "Off the Beaten Path," visiting the neighbors with my sister and me in tow, was another diversion. The Cold War may have aroused suspicion among nations, but not our neighborhood which embraced ethnic diversity—Post WWII Germany and Japan, no less. Despite language barriers, my mother was not deterred from befriending these two women and schooling them in American customs, social graces, and styles. The German family whose head of household named Adolf had been a former officer in the SS, owned a German Shepherd. The Japanese woman who’d married an American GI stationed in Japan during the war, showed us a picture of her father whose smile radiated an entire mouthful of gold teeth.

Such visits predicated that my mother bake a cake to bring with us—Betty Crocker, Duncan Hines, or Pillsbury. I especially loved Pillsbury’s chocolate or Funfetti yellow cake with little candies in the mix. The three of us walked along Angell Road to where it branched onto the Linfield Circle cul-de-sac and rang a select doorbell. At some point during the visit, the hostess invited my sister and me to join the adults at the kitchen table to indulge a slice of our favorite cake.

While the parameters of our adolescent world may have seemed restrictive, our mental horizons expanded through the diverse culture of the neighborhood. Women like my mother transcended the role of traditional housewife by embracing the higher calling of good will ambassador. Their genuine hospitality made newcomers on the block feel welcome in their new environs. That’s the frosting on the cake.

 

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Underlying Notes by Eva Pasco  An E. Quiche by Eva Pasco

 

 

 Signed copies of the Paperback, 40 % off suggested retail, may be acquired at the Authors Den Signed Bookstore via Eva’s web page: http://www.authorsden.com/evapasco

 

 

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