Updated: Apr 24
MRS. STALEY WAS MY LEAST FAVORITE CHILDHOOD SITTER. She must be rolling in her grave with excitement now that our country has discovered and promotes the necessity of frequent hand washing.
She introduced this sanitizing protocol to me as a young lad at my parent’s first floor bathroom. Cleanliness was in her constitution and the two of us were on an hourly collision course. I was five years-old and my universe consisted of playing in huge dirt mounds scattered throughout my bustling new neighborhood. We children played outdoors morning, noon, and night.
I spent my time digging in the dirt and Mrs. Staley matched this calling with her relentless scrubbing of my hands with Ivory soap and warm water. All this drama took place around my mother’s avocado green porcelain sink. I think the first six letter word I ever mastered was K-O-H-L-E-R. This came about with my stubborn focus on the embossed letters on the bright chrome faucet as I was tolerating her slippery fingers.
She wore printed dresses decorated with large round buttons and these tent-like dresses seemed to match her dowdy personality. I also recall she had hairs and little bumps on her chin. I studied them while looking up at her reflection in the bathroom mirror. Mrs. Staley went after my hands like they needed to be purified of the plague, or perhaps, polio.
She was also a spinster, a name whispered to me by my parents as an attempt to try to explain her dogged personality. They coupled this condition with a request of me to be nice and give her some slack.
So, heaven behold Mrs. Staley, it took sixty-five-years, but you were spot on, and it is time for me to give you a little slack.
Such a fresh perspective that our COVID-19 virus has brought.