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Waxing Nostalgic

by Eva Pasco 

Waxing Nostalgic by Eva PascoEven after tempest-tossed rides in the back of our Plymouth Suburban station wagon, unrestrained by seatbelts; scrapes dexterously painted with Mercurochrome; inhaling noxious fumes from airplane glue piecing together science projects; keeping company with a subversive, streetwise “wabbit” talkin’ rapid-fire trash; two drunken brawlers named Popeye and Bluto beating the living daylights out of each other over Olive Oyl; a stooge poking his fingers in the eyes of the other two or bopping them on the head with a two by four—my sister and I survived the Sixties without becoming juvenile delinquents. In fact, we not only survived the whole ball of wax, but thrived on parental upbringing devoid of mollycoddling or nurturing belief in the tooth fairy or Easter Bunny.   


Whenever I wax nostalgic about growing up in the Sixties, I don’t need to hop in the back seat of a black cab inside Madame Tussauds to journey through “The Swinging Sixties.”  My mind waxes and wanes as it trips along Memory Lane—I hear wax paper rustling and the tear of crisp sheets from a roll of Reynold’s Cut Rite as my mother wrapped torpedo rolls stuffed with peppers, sausage, and mushrooms for our school lunches and packed two for my father.  Some days she wax wrapped sandwiches of whole peppers, other times-- tomatoes and eggs, or tuna salad. 


The invention of wax paper credited to Thomas Edison or Thomas Conners, one of his assistants, was great to roll pie dough for those blueberry pies she made all summer long.  My mother would sprinkle plenty of flour on a sheet, center a hunk of dough on it, sprinkle more flour, then cover  with a top sheet of wax paper before commencing to flatten and stretch the dough with a rolling pin. 


She’d tear top and bottom sheets the length of the kitchen table for making homemade gnocchi—roundish knots of dough pinched from long strands, preserved in wax paper until she was ready to boil the pasta. 


I remember collecting colorful specimens of autumn leaves—oak, maple, sassafras, and elm—pressing each one between two notebook-sized pieces of wax paper, and tucking a neatly printed label inside.  Lightly passing the iron over a cloth buffer transferred the wax onto the leaf to preserve it.  I came across this childhood treasure years later in adulthood.  Madame Tussaud would have been proud! 


I can’t wax nostalgic without giving an honorable mention to the wax lips my sister and I clowned around with, dressed in our mother’s vintage clothes. We also slurped syrup from wax sticks and miniature wax bottles not unlike the gratuitous Vodka bottles the airlines gave out.  As I mentioned earlier, my sister and I survived the “whole ball of wax”.   


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Underlying Notes by Eva Pasco  An E. Quiche by Eva Pasco



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