This morning as my husband scuffed off in his slippers to the kitchen saying, “I have to put some toast in my tummy” he sounded so like a little boy. I immediately thought of all the times my mom made toast for me—either Raisin Tea Loaf, or Cinnamon Toast, or one of my all time favorites, Brown Sugar Toast. The slices were always cut in strips for me, so I could put toast in my tummy in tiny slivers that would last much longer and allow me to savor each bite. She’d bring the toast to me on one of the little TV trays my Dad made. They were put together with two hardwoods, walnut and maple, and had the prettiest mosaic pattern. She usually brought my toast with a side of bacon or my favorite “mushy eggs” which were hard boiled eggs mashed in a bowl with gobs of butter. Oftentimes, I’d eat my toast with Captain Kangaroo or Sailor Bob or I Love Lucy, sitting in my big chair with the little tray across my lap feeling oh so special.
I still cut cinnamon toast in strips because it just tastes better that way. I haven’t had brown sugar toast in eons. I can’t eat pure brown sugar swimming in butter anymore without getting a major sugar rush. Still, I can taste it in my memory. I can remember the tiny black cast iron skillet she’d make it in, first melting the butter, then mashing the brown sugar in with a fork. Finally, she’d spread it thick on slices of bread, cut each into three and bring it to me with strips of crispy bacon. Bacon and toast is still one of my favorite breakfast snacks ever.
As I enjoyed the Toast in my Tummy, I was joined by Lucy and Ricky, Fred & Ethel, Captain Kangaroo, Mr. Green Jeans and Grandfather Clock along with Sailor Bob, Popeye, Roadrunner and Wile E. Coyote—all there to entertain a little girl who grew up in a big house without any real playmates. My brother and sister, nearly ten years older, weren’t around much and we lived miles from any neighbors. I had my Barbie dolls and my tomcats and hamsters and a huge backyard where I’d spend most of my time in Nature, tending a little garden of violets or making mud pies or writing down descriptions of everything I saw and smelled. As I heard toast in my tummy come to me this morning from our kitchen, and the smell of organic raisin bread wafted down the hall, those days growing up in that big white house came rushing back. My heart ached for my mother and for her sweetness in taking such good care of her little girl. Remember, Mommy, cut the toast into strips for me because I’m a little girl and it makes it oh so much better!