4 months ago


Selected Writings & Artwork by Harriett Copeland Lillard

Rocks in my Laundry

Rocks in my Laundry Basket Chapters By Way of Introduction 1 Nesting 2 Birthing the Babies 3 The Country Veterinarian 4 My Mother’s house 5 My Husband’s family 6 Going to Mexico with 2 babies 7 The Scientific ‘Spearmint’ 8 Drawers are not underwear 9 Salt-free, sugar-free… food free! 10 The Animals 11 The House This was an outline written by Harriett for "Rocks in my Laundry Basket." By Way of Introduction, Nesting, and Birthing the Babies, were completed and are included here. Interesting side note - the stories and the outline above are actually written on the notebook paper she describes in "By Way of Introduction" 45

Rocks in my Laundry Basket - By Way of Introduction By Way of Introduction As I begin this, I find myself writing on notebook paper purchased at least fifteen years ago for my Spanish 211 class – how it has survived unscathed in this household of prolific paper consumers, I’ll never know – but the most intriguing thing about the paper is its weight and thickness. The pulp contained in this single loaf would, I feel certain, make two or three sheets of that flimsy stuff now palmed off on our unsuspecting children. This page has such heft and strength that I know it could be stuck crooked into my son’s speller; come down the hill from AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAA AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAA school; endure an attack of grubby hands, my emphatic jabs, and several half-hearted swipes with a chewed eraser; and still arrive in spelling class looking like a new tuxedo front. No ragged and crumpled edges, no eraser holes, no untimely crease marks… no, not this paper! This paper demands perfection, screams for academic excellence, and resists being yanked from its 3-hold binder with such tenacity that one is forced to open the binder properly in order to remove it. My God! I think it must be Scotch-garded! Having successfully procrastinated my way out of beginning or completing any number of mundane tasks, I find myself with sufficient time and energy to begin this book. I hesitate to write the word, “book”, because it sounds almost pretentious, too ambitious a project to begin. But never one to balk at ambitious projects and already seeing myself receiving the accolades and admiration of other weary “wives-mothers-lovers-cooksmaids-successful career women”, I have decided to persevere in my use of that mighty word – BOOK. Never having time to read one anymore without feeling guilty about the dirty clothes, I have decided to write one instead. I have noted in recent years, during my motherhood phase, that women especially find comfort in recounting and sharing their common experiences. It is a continuing rehash of the daily trivial tedium, the laughter and little “funnies”, the real tragedies, the “gut” problems, the hard work and deep-down fatigue, and the everlasting loneliness of Motherhood—the Big M. We do a kind of verbal dance around one another, hoping to find assurance in someone else’s experiences that we have not failed in some unforeseen way, knowing that happy, well-adjusted people all had mothers at one time, and praying that we will be one of those fortunate matriarchs who produces a litter of champions. Curses unto Freud and all those half-baked freshman psychology courses! How dare they lay all the responsibility for the world’s neuroses on female backs! Where is the Victorian father whose stern look of disapproval was enough to silence the howling mob? We have suffered through Dr. Spock, B.F. Skinner, transactional analysis, the Primal Scream, and worst of all, New Math. What has all this enlightenment gotten us? It has gotten us a generation or two of illiterate, self-indulgent brats who can’t multiply. I must be moving into some new “passage”, as I have felt this need to recount my experiences with increasing urgency over the last few months. It has become almost an obsession and the words flow out almost faster than I can write. My unselfish need to share is, I would like to think, the primary reason, but I suspect that baser motives are involved… ones dealing with gross monetary gain. After almost paying off the house, we have 46