The Boringness of Dreams & My Mother’s Strawberry Shortcake

I dreamed about my mother.

Dreams are boring.  Skip to the strawberry shortcake if you like. 

Mom, age 30, and I.

Mom, age 30, with me.

Here is the dream.  There was a feast.  It was not a crowd you want to join.  People were laughing cruelly.  I glimpsed my mother trying  to belong.  She could not.  And then I glimpsed her from afar:   she left the room, crying.  A woman smirked and barred my way:  “She deserves it.”  I knew it was a dream, and I was determined to control it.  I hurried past the vicious guard (or whatever she was) and followed my mother into the restroom.  I WOULD save her.  I saw feet under a stall, then they disappeared. Was that she?   I opened the door.  There she was, crying but alive.

She died two years ago.  I suppose that’s why I dreamed.

And perhaps it reflected the last years of her life.

At the assisted living facility where she lived for a few months before we discovered she could not survive there (she fell and broke her hip and was not found till morning), nobody spoke a word at her table in the dining room.  They rushed away as soon as they were done.  “Where do they have to go?  Why hurry?” she asked.  (It was the same later at the nursing home.)  She knew some of the people at the ALF from “real life.”  One was a cheerleader type, a woman who played bridge with my mother, but otherwise ignored her.  So, so like school.

All, all are dead now.

Mother had a comfortable life until she got sick in very old age.

I am grateful for all she did for us.  She raised us in domestic comfort and air conditioning.  I think of her driving us to the library in the heat, taking us to movies.  I saw ALL the movies.

My snobbishly-brought-up husband was an Eagle Scout, wants the windows open both in winter and summer, and wants the air conditioner off even when it’s 90 degrees.

I insist on comfort.  There is no more giving in to the camper/bicyclist/hiker on issues of extreme heat (91 degrees today; heat index, 104).  The AC goes on!

Without Mom would I feel I have to endure?

She was more domestic than I, but I also like her philosophy of cooking. For years I cooked complicated vegetarian dishes.  This summer it is just too hot.  My mother took us to restaurants, or cooked easy, fast meals.  No slaving in the kitchen for her.  What was frozen Stouffer’s tuna casserole for if not to save time?

Strawberry shortcake (though we put more whipped cream on top)She thought mixes were better than homemade cakes, and did not even bring out the Bisquick for Strawberry Shortcake. Here is her recipe:  No baking required.

MY MOTHER’S STRAWBERRY SHORTCAKE

INGREDIENTS:
Strawberries
Sponge dessert cups (usually sold in the same section as the strawberries)
Reddi-wip or whipped cream equivalent.

DIRECTIONS:

Slice the strawberries and put them in a bowl.  Add sugar.  Recipes often call for three tablespoons per four cups, but you can add more sugar if you like it sweeter.  Let the strawberries sit for at least half an hour.

Top the dessert cups with strawberries and as much whipped cream as you like.  It’s delicious!

P.S.  I suppose you could buy an angel food cake and do the same thing with the strawberries!

10 thoughts on “The Boringness of Dreams & My Mother’s Strawberry Shortcake

  1. I guess the loss of a parent is never going to be something that goes away quickly – and I’m kind of glad my dad didn’t have very much time in homes etc but was mostly with my mum till he died. the cake sounds great – wish my sugar allowance would permit it!

    • Yes, it is so sad, as you know. I hadn’t expected the grief to come back in a dream. Oops, yes, the sugar thing would not be good for you! Perhaps a little sugar substitute, but God knows what’s in that.

  2. My mom loved strawberry short cake. She also bought ready-made sponge cake but actually whipped the cream. She died 17 years ago of cancer. At least it went quickly. She was from Holland and my father’s family treated her like the cruel crowd in your dream. Being different has a price. I just wonder why the folks in the home you mnetion all rushed away from the dinner table. Were they afraid?

    • I suppose whipping the cream would not even be that hard! Very sorry that you rmother died of cancer. How often in-laws just cannot accept new people! It’s xenophobia or something. No idea why the people left the dinner table so quickly. Maybe they didn’t like the system of having to eat with strangers after years on their own. Tables were assigned. But you would think there would have been more like my mother who wanted to socialize.

  3. Strawberries and air conditioning. With strawberries you can buy pound cake, slice it, lay the strawberries on stop of each piece, even add ice cream Or just do the ice cream and strawberries and leave out the pound cake.

    You can’t win the air conditioning battle if the husband *likes* hot. To him it doesn’t feel hot as in unpleasant, It feels good.

    • Ooh, I like the new pound cake recipe! I’m sure with a good cake the strawberries are better. Yes, strawberries on ice cream would be great, too.

      The A/C battle has been waged for years! Fortunately it has cooled down today so we won’t need it.:)

  4. Jim loved strawberries, not so much strawberry short cake, but he’d eat strawberries and cream with a light sprinkling of sugar. He’d drink tea with this and maybe a scone. Not exactly good for someone with high cholesterol, but once in a while for a treat he’d do it.

    As you probably are aware, the dreamer’s figure in the dream is oneself too; the figure is a displacement. Freud thought dreams were therapeutic: that’s why he said they were wish-fulfillments. You are acting out something that gives you release. I don’t agree, or at least that’s not my experience. So I too when I have dreams like the one you outlined, work hard to stop that dream from carrying on or recurring. Something in mind tries hard to wake up and see that the experience is a dream. Once I’ve done that it seems to go away.

    On heat and husbands who won’t turn on the air-conditioning: it seems just about always to be husbands imposing this on wives. My sense is no one loves high 90s and humidity and underlying the added environment argument (that often goes along with this) is a desire to keep the bill down. The US screwed-up logic for getting people not to use natural resources underlying power is punishment in the form of giving corporations yet more money. So I’m sympathetic, just a little. But not when I can’t breathe — or work because I’m too enervated or miserable. One friend told me she said, okay, you don’t want air-conditioning so I’ll just buy one box for the living room. Guess what? when he’d come home from work he’d stay there, and later drag a mattress in. So she installed central air as it didn’t cost any more to air-condition the whole apartment as it had that front room. Jim used to complain if I put the air-conditioning on too soon or again in later October (sometimes it can still be hot in Alexandria then), and he hated fans. He couldn’t bear the wind directly on him, and worse, it upsetting his papers and/or book. I’d make do with fans were he to allow it. But no no. I have a floor fan I carry around for when I do take the air-conditioning off or when the temperature feels like say 107 outside (it did twice last week). I installed a ceiling fan in my workroom and use that too.

    • I’m sure strawberries and cream were good for him once in a while.:) They would be excellent with scones.

      Freud didn’t know everything–especially about women!:) I’m the figure in the dream, the one pursuing my sad mother. The dream is about loss, based on real scenes with my mother in dining rooms and restrooms. It’s the second anniversary of her death, and anniversaries stir things up.

      I didn’t realize the AC battle was so common! It really is a fight about some Spartan aspirations that women tend not to share. I finally got my husband to open the door of his study (it’s the last room on the AC line) and he was surprised that the AC cooled the room off.

  5. My mother in law ended up at the Emergency Room last Friday night because she wont let her husband turn on the a/c, says she hates it blowing on her. It got so stifling hot in Queens NY that it made her sick, she didnt eat or drink for a day and got herself dehydrated. Luckily she got 2 IV’s and was released early on Saturday to go home. She’s almost 80 and spry, but sometimes her stregth and stubbornness turn against her and she gets into a situation that could have become very very bad. Luckily her husband didnt listen to her tell him not to call the ambulance!

    • Oh my goodness! The a/c-off argument taken to the extremes! It’s so important to stay hydrated. I had to remind my mother to drink, too. Am glad your MIL is okay. Older people especially have to take care! Sometimes the air conditioning is too cold for them, I know, so at the mall my mother wore a jacket. The temps are cooling down a little here, and I hope they are in Queens, too.

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