A Peanut Butter and Jelly Childhood

8 09 2009

peanut butter and jellyReading Ana Hitzel’s blog post: Peanut Butter and Jelly, reminded me of when I was a kid.  When I was 10 years old, my parents divorced.  My mother decided to move all five of us kids (with me as the oldest and my 2-year-old brother being the youngest) to Salt Lake City, UT.  Apparently, as a Mormon, that is where you naturally gravitate after your marriage dissolves.  We had not family or friends that lived there, but that’s where we moved.  (I don’t know the reasoning behind it.  It just made sense at the time, I guess.) 

Anyway, we were very involved in our faith, sometimes going to church three times a week.  As such, we were always involved in church outings.  For Mormons, this involved ALOT of family-oriented activities with lots of kids and lots of food.  My mother thought we were just the most precious beings in all the land and decided that we must be shared with the poor souls unfortunate enough to have been blessed with our presence at these church outings.  At some point, after everyone had been well fed and sat around digesting their food, my mother would traipse her ragtag band of 5 children (no, the youngest did NOT get to wriggle his wayout of the public humiliation that was about to begin), set them up on the highest platform available for all the congregation to see (usually, this was a picnic table of some sort) and start us off on our singing of the “Peanut Butter and Jelly” (“Peanut, peanut butter…and jelly [whispered].  Barney, the purple dinosaurPeanut, peanut butter…and jelly [whispered]”), the “Free Widdle Fishies” (“Down in a meadow in an iddie-biddie pool, fwam free widdle fishies and the momma fishy, too”) or, if things went really well and my mom felt particularly proud, we would perform a medley of both songs, complete with choreography.  Oh yeah.  We rocked!  We always had quite a gathering around us to enjoy our fancy footwork and they ALWAYS clapped.  Why else would they clap if they didn’t think we were awesome?  I chose to ignore the “Oh those poor children” stares. 

I thought I was over this childhood trauma until my son was about 3 years old and Barney came on the TV singing it.  That damn purple dinosaur sent me back in time to a little green picnic table in the middle of a park in Salt Lake City.  “Peanut, peanut butter…and jelly (whisper).  Peanut, peanut butter…and jelly (whimper).”  Thanks, Barney.  And, thank you, Mom.

B.W.

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