Thursday, March 25, 2010

Little Lady Kenmore

Among my odder childhood fixations was a passionate affinity for washing machines. I had a couple of toy washers, including one that would actually "wash" small things when you added water. And I still have a scrapbook whose contents consist solely of washing machine pictures cut out of catalogs.

I liked 'em all, but if you parked me in front of one with a window in the door, I'd stay happily ensconced through the entire cycle. (Now that I think of it, maybe it was a mild form of autism. Whatever the allure, it's long gone now.)

Sometime in my mid 20s, I reminded my mother of the fetish. We had a good laugh, and I thought that was that. But a few weeks later, she mentioned that she had a birthday present for me. When I failed to claim it promptly, she pressed: "When are you going to come get your present?"

So I schlepped out there to unwrap -- surprise! -- a toy washer. It was very small, and when you wound a knob, plastic "laundry" tumbled around inside. Cute.

As I got ready to leave, Mom said, "Don't forget your present."

"What am I supposed to do with it?"

"Well, what am I supposed to do with it?"

"Why don't you give it to your grandson and make him gay, too," I suggested.

Gasp.

"Just kidding," I said.

At least I didn't take things this far.

Link from Kristine.

11 comments:

Michael Kearns said...

My mother was similarly un-amused when I suggested that I became a poofter because she had let me go see La Cage Aux Folles on Broadway as a 13 year old. My grandparents had argued with her at length over dinner one night that that was exactly how "those gays recruit young men." And, lo and behold, maybe they were right. Either way, it was too soon for my Mom. She might actually find the humor in it now, but not so much when I raised it 20 minutes after coming out to her.

Mykljak said...

Just about any Broadway show could turn an impressionable boy ...

Verlene Des Temps said...

I seem to remember having a toy "air conditioner" that did nothing but blow some air. I was CONVINCED that I could convert into a time travel machine if I just moved some wires around. Needless to say...

Verlene Des Temps said...

... I also was CONVINCED that if I pressed the tiles on my grandmother's bathroom wall in the right sequence, that I would unlock a secret passageway.

I spent hours in there trying different patterns.

... my god I was was strange child.

Thank you... for bringing all of this out of the back room of long forgotten memories...I'm seriously wondering about therapy now...

Mykljak said...

You'll feel better about yourself when I write about my dumbwaiter obsession, which I never outgrew.

Your loving sister said...

I already had to live through your washing machine and key obsessions once. And now I find out you tried to drag my child into it and make me live through it again. Fantastic! I'm surprised you didn't mention the one that walked across the room in Montpellier.

Michael Kearns said...

Michael, did you spend time in Montpellier? The one in France? I studied there and lived with a family in the summers of '84 and '85.

Mykljak said...

Every other summer growing up. Our grandmother was from there.

Michael Kearns said...

I love that city. I became a very chic 14 year old there, hanging out with beautiful French and Italians -- girls at that stage of my life -- and learning to smoke cigarettes.

Kay said...

I had a toy washer but was not interested in it will send it to you. I used to stand in front of the regular washer watching Mr. Bear go around and around crying. My grandfather kept telling my mother he was filthy and should be tossed so to pander to him she washed Mr. Bear regularly. Poor Mr. Bear is still with us.

What is the story with the key obsession?

Mykljak said...

I have no idea about the keys, but I'm sure Freud would've had something to say. Lots of kids are fascinated by keys, unlike washing machines.

The only keys I have now are a few antique French ones.