Writer’s Workshop: Mr. and Mrs. Maddox

2.) Tell us about a “character” in your town or neighborhood who left an impression on you. (inspired by Go Dansker Mom)

We knew everyone in the neighborhood, but I had a special interest in the old ladies houses. I’d often head down the street to find my cousin Laura and we would concoct plans to get food. Sometimes this meant sneaking a Tab from my refrigerator while she weaseled a row of Ritz crackers from her mother’s cupboard, but more often than not it meant Laura knocking on the doors of the old ladies houses to ask for candy while I waited in the bushes and watched.

On a successful day Laura might come back with two hard candies that were more than likely pried from a  dish that had been sitting on the old ladies fireplace mantels for a year or so. It didn’t matter. The only thing that mattered was finding the candy. I like to consider myself the secret service commander…Laura was the soldier, right there in the front lines.

Hazel lived directly next door to my cousins so she was an easy target for us. She had an off limits apple tree in her backyard we would steal from and she was fairly reclusive. It wasn’t often that we would see her little fro of thinning red hair and when we did (usually staring down at us from her large window as we stole her apples) we were sure to run away screaming as fast as possible. On particularly brave days (when I forced her) Laura would knock on Hazel’s door and more often than not come back empty handed.

Around the block there was Milly. Milly was sweet, but she never gave us candy and we weren’t going to just gab all day with Milly without payment so she wasn’t typically a place we wanted to get caught at.

Mr. and Mrs. Maddox, on the other hand, now THEY were givers. I didn’t have to hide in the bushes from them. Mr. and Mrs. Maddox would invite us in to sit down (now we’re talking!) and we smiled brightly at each other every time Mrs. Maddox scurried into her kitchen to see what she might have for us. Cookies and milk, candy, berries picked fresh from their garden, you name it!

Sure we had to endure long conversations about their grown kids (one named Kathy just like  me) living far away, but the candy was usually worth it. They talked about grand kids and asked about our parents. They had formed a special bond with my Dad who befriended them long before I was born.

I remember their faces when my little brother and sister and I decided to run over to tell them our Dad had died. How concerned, but composed they remained while consoling us before we ran along our way. I’m certain tears were shed when they closed that door because they loved him too.

Mr. Maddox helped my brother learn to ride his bike. Mrs. Maddox kept a page in her notebook that listed all of our birthdays. They often asked about how our Mom was doing and we continued to be tricky little kids who are broken on the inside, but you never really can tell what’s going on with them because they continue to be focused on candy and breaking your trinkets.

When Mr. Maddox died we were sad because he was such a happy little man and we weren’t sure how Mrs. Maddox would ever get along without him. She was quieter after that and as we got older we stopped by less and less. Our summer days once filled with bike rides and blackberry picking were soon  replaced with TV watching and phone talking.

Eventually we moved away from that neighborhood and lost contact with Mrs. Maddox. I heard after old lady Milly passed away Mrs. Maddox maintained a friendship with her husband.  Knowing she had a friend still in the neighborhood always made me happy, but I prefer to remember her the way I loved her most….with Mr. Maddox by her side and a plate of cookies on the table, “now which one of you has a birthday coming up…are you December or is that your sister. Let me just get my notebook out here…”

When I’m an old lady I promise to always coax children into my home with candy and cookies…just like Mr. and Mrs. Maddox.

Although  creeping on kids stealing from my apple tree like old lady Hazel sounds awfully appealing too…

 

Now it’s your turn!

Mama's Losin' It

Choose a prompt, post it on your blog, and come back to add your name to the link list below. Be sure to sign up with the actual post URL and not just your basic blog URL (click on the title of your post for that URL). For good comment karma try to comment on the three blogs above your name!!

The Prompts:

1.) Describe the last argument you had or witnessed.
2.) Tell us about a “character” in your town or neighborhood who left an impression on you. (inspired by Go Dansker Mom)
3.) If I gave you $500 today, but you could use it for only one purchase, what would you buy and why?
4.) Thursday, March 7th is National Cereal Day…write about your favorite cereal when you were a child. How has it changed?
5.) List 10 random things you know how to do.



Comments

  1. says

    I think I would like to be the old lady whose house every kid on the block wants to visit. Even though I really want to lose about 80 lbs. right now, my current figure would lend itself to being that kindly old lady in about 20 years. What to do…what to do…

    I started thinking about different people who made an impression on me, and I think of the elderly woman down the street who died about 10 years ago. It was my children who went to visit Mrs. Curtis, and her eyes always lit up when she saw my kids. She always asked them about their lives and made them feel special. The neighborhood wasn’t the same after she was gone.

  2. says

    Wow, I truly don’t think we live in those times anymore do we? And you spelled “mantel” right so if I were editing you, you’d get a big ol’ gold star!!! It’s such a bugaboo. Great post. Have a Tab. :-)

  3. says

    My great grandparents were that couple on the street that all the kids would stop by for a treat. My great grandfather worked for Brock candy factory, and they always had a more extensive stash of candy than the dime store down the street…and you didn’t have to have a dime to get some. They loved giving it out to the kids, and I’m sure the local dentist loved them for it too ;)

  4. says

    Awww. Like you I had and still have a thing for the little old couples. Maybe because I didn’t get to see my memaw a lot.. beautiful tribute to your sweet lady.

  5. says

    This is such a heart warming post! It brought back so many memories of when I used to live in an apartment complex – the little girl across the way and I played Barbies, the girl next door and I played “pretend” while our brothers played football, and all the kids in our building put on a play one summer for our parents, “The Wizard of Oz” (I was a munchkin). But there was one little “girl” that lived behind us that I was fascinated with; she had down-syndrome. Ahhh, the memories of childhood.

  6. says

    Mr. and Mrs. Maddox remind me of my grandparents. I didn’t live close enough to run over anytime I wanted, but I spent many weekends and summer days with them. And grandkid, neighbor, whoever you were you never walked away empty handed. She always had something yummy baked. And he sent you with a bag of fresh peas, okra, or tomatoes from his garden or a bag of fresh caught catfish or venison. They didn’t have much past their farm, but were as free hearted and loving as they come. My Granny has been gone for almost 5 years, but I just lost my Papa 3 weeks ago. The wound is fresh but the memories are eternal. Loved this post :)

  7. says

    Such a heart-warming story. I tried hard to think of someone in my neighborhood to write about but came up blank. What a blessing for you to have known these wonderful people.

  8. says

    Aw, what a sweet story. In my neighborhood growing up there was an older couple. She was nice but he growled at us kids.

    Now that I’m grown, I think he did it to make himself laugh.

  9. says

    Ooh! Once this trying not to embarrass my kids permanently thing is over, being a crazy old lady sounds like a whole lotta fun!

  10. says

    What a wonderful memory! Reading this reminded me of a little old lady that I use to know who live in the coolest apartment and had the best stories! She was was once so important to me but as I got older I just let her slip away… but I am glad that I have those memories, too.

  11. says

    Loved this! When I read that prompt I immediately thought of “Crazy Bob” from my town, but he wasn’t nearly as nice. And I’d never eat candy or cookies from him :(

  12. says

    Wow, what a great story! You made me cry, but then, right in the middle of a good cry, you made me laugh with that last line. LOL Thanks for the memories. :o)

  13. says

    Aww…I love this story. It reminds me of the little old ladies in my neighborhood and how much they were a part of me growing up. I hope I’m one of the nice ones and that life with my kids doesn’t suck the sweetness out of me by then. :)