Mother’s Day 2015: No Gulping

By Mary Ann Wasil
Survivor, President, CEO & Founder
The Get In Touch Foundation


PinkLemonadeMy mom raised six children with 15 years separating the oldest from the youngest. My dad was a teacher, a high school principal.

We lived on the first floor of a two-bedroom apartment and my grandmother, my dad’s mom, lived upstairs. We grew up in P.T. Barnum territory, on the “east side” in Bridgeport, Connecticut, where the alley between our homes was a magical and bumpy bike path, our front porch was our playground, and the row houses between our home and our great aunt’s just a block away was one giant maze of fences and laundry lines.

We had one air conditioner and one car. We walked to church and to the grocery store, and to Skydel’s, the department store three blocks away that smelled just like new shoes and starched cotton, and had a funky “Brady Bunch” staircase that let you see through from one perfectly appointed floor to the next.

We lived for the Barnum Festival. The Wing Ding parade at Beardsley Zoo, just a block from my aunt’s home, and less than a mile from ours, was a highlight. My two older sisters were clowns one year, while my two younger brothers and I waited all year to drink pink lemonade from a carton with a red and white striped paper straw.

We got to stay up late for the Champions on Parade and were entertained under the stars at Kennedy Stadium for hours by professional and competing drum corps; and if I was lucky, my dad might take me to the Jenny Lind competition to hear young sopranos from across the US dazzle us with their talent. I once competed in the Tom Thumb and Lavinia Warren competition and was named “Miss Stratford” when I was in third grade.

We staked out our territory with blankets and folding lawn chairs along Park Avenue in Bridgeport for the high point of our summer – The Barnum Festival 4th of July Great Street Parade.

And every single year on the 4th of July, my mother would greet her six eager children at the pre-parade breakfast table with this sobering pronouncement…”Well, it’s the 4th of July; summer’s over. You’ll be back to school before you know it.”

Devastating news whether you are 4, 6, 8, 15, 18, or even 19 years old.

Seriously, Mom?!?

My siblings and I still laugh about this, my sister Diane and I even race to be the first to call the other to deliver this traditional edict of gloom.

Because we are now the age of our mother when she first started issuing this distressing countdown to summer’s end, we finally know what she meant. It’s taken us a lifetime to decipher her annual proclamation, which seemed so cruel to us as children, and here it is:

Time flies. It waits for no one. Don’t let even a moment pass you by without cherishing it, without tasting it, drinking it all in, every last drop…as slowly as possible.

So sip your pink lemonade from your red and white paper straw as slowly as you can…no gulping, just nice slow sips!


image courtesy of flickr CC/AquaOwl