Nancy Roman

I Should Have Kept The Receipt

Last week, I wrote my husband’s inability to find the shaving cream. Although it wasn’t exactly hidden.

And several people commented. Many said that they absolutely could have written this, since it appears we all have exactly the same spouse.

But quite a few also commented that it’s not only men who can’t find anything. Kids are non-seeing beings too.

And that triggered a very old memory.

I was one of those kids. Actually, all four kids in my family were one of those kids. According to my mother anyway. And she is pretty nearly perfect, so she is probably right.

Her favorite expression was: “What? It didn’t jump out and yell ‘Here I am’?”

“It” could be just about anything. A sneaker, the peanut butter, the scotch-tape, a prayer-book. We never knew where anything was, mostly, I guess, because the missing little bastard didn’t jump out and yell, ‘Here I am!”

In 1967, when I was sixteen years old, I did not get a summer job. My sisters needed their summer jobs to earn money for college, but I wasn’t in that situation yet. My mother worked, and my brother was not quite eleven and a bit too young to stay home during the day by himself. So my mom increased my allowance in the summer, so I would stay home with my brother.

I can’t exactly say it was hard-earned money. My brother was an easy kid to take care of. We had a shallow brook in our backyard. That’s an endless source of activity for a ten-year-old boy. He played in the brook all day. At noon, I’d call him to the kitchen door and handed him a hot dog. He ate it back at the brook. He had a hot dog every day. And I read books and watched soap operas.

But I didn’t exactly earn a lot of money either. When I said my mother doubled my allowance, I mean she gave me eight dollars.

Well, one summer day she called me from work.

“I forgot to take the chicken out of the freezer,” she said. “So take it out now so it will thaw for supper.”

“Okay,” I said, and went back to my soap opera.

But during the next commercial, I went to the fridge to take out the chicken.

And there wasn’t any.

I took everything out of the freezer. I put everything back. I took everything out again. I sorted it on the counter. No chicken. No whole chicken. No chicken pieces. no chicken livers. I put it everything back.

I had visions. I could see the scene clearly.

My mother comes home from work, and opens the freezer, and pulls out the chicken and says, “What? It didn’t jump out and yell, ‘Here I am!’?”

I knew that chicken would appear for my mother. And we wouldn’t have anything for supper. And it would be my fault.

I went out to the brook, and said to my brother, “I have to go to the store. Do you want to go with me, or are you okay here for an hour?”

My brother assured me he’d be fine and went back to his pollywogs.

The nearest market was Washington Superette, a small grocery store exactly one mile from my house. I had no car. Shit, I didn’t have a driver’s license.

So I walked to Washington Superette and bought a chicken. With my allowance.

And it was on the counter, all defrosted (it had never been frosted) when my mother came home from work.

And I never told her.

But you know, I’ve been thinking about it.

There was NO CHICKEN in that freezer. My mother made a mistake. And I spent my allowance which I truly earned because my brother did not eat worms or knock his teeth out or jump off the roof that whole summer.

And even though it was forty-eight years ago, I think I deserve a reimbursement.

When I see my mother next week, I am going to ask her for three dollars and seventy-four cents.


casual chicken


  1. I spent several summers “babysitting” my six younger brothers and sisters but I never got paid for it. But it’s too late to collect now. Be sure you get what’s coming to you!!!


    • I am handing her a bill as soon as I see her!


  2. I love this story…..and I hope you’ll share with us when/if you tell your mother.
    When I was little and complained to my mom that I couldn’t find something (after she told me where it was), her answer was: “If I come find it there, you’re going to get a spanking”. But I never did….. yeah, I was spoiled….


  3. Cute story. When my older sister and I were at home for the summer, just the two of us, the routine was the Richard Simmons Show and then all the soap operas we could squeeze into the day. I don’t think we did anything that took effort. Looking back, I bet that annoyed my mom to no end.


    • I plain my old great-aunties for hooking me on soap operas. How they loved their “stories.”


  4. Your mom definitely owes you a chicken.


  5. Been there … tried that.


  6. what a wonderful story! Yes, you did an awesome thing.. she most likely realized what you did also. Thanks for sharing this story!


    • I wonder. I wonder if she saw that chicken and thought…”I don’t think that’s what I bought…”

      Liked by 1 person

      • I am certain she noticed something that wasn’t what she thought. She most likely went to bed that night thinking how blessed she was to have you keep things moving.


  7. Yeah, you definitely have a case for reimbursement…I hope you kept the receipt.

    I would hate to think of the MANY times I’ve thought there was chicken in the freezer only to discover late in the day that I wa wrong, meaning there’s nothing for dinner. Probably it’s some kind of revenge ploy planned by the poultry of the world.
    -Amy at


    • I never thought of that. It was the chicken’s fault.


  8. I was never pa.i.d. for anything. I had FOUR sibling. All girls. How boring is THAT! And no payback forthcoming. Those were the days, weren’t they when labor was FREE. 😀 😛 😀


    • Normally, my mother did not pay me for taking care of my brother. But I was old enough for a summer job, and I wanted to work to earn money for clothes (what else)…so she tried to make it at least a little bit worth my while to stay home.


      • It’s a great way to learn to save and manage money. Your mom’s a smart woman.


  9. What if there really WAS a chicken and your mom came home to the equivalent of that shaving cream scene, only she didn’t have a blog or a phone that takes pictures? I’m dying to find out now 😀


  10. Deborah the Closet Monster

    I hope you’ll keep us posted about reimbursement status. 😉

    This made me chuckle about some recent, related exchanges here.

    A couple weeks ago, I asked D to get something he wanted out of the fridge. He couldn’t find it, though I’d told him exactly where it was based on glancing at it a little earlier.

    I went and shoeed him how to move things around. “You’ve got to actually look, and to look right, you need to move things around!”

    Guess who sagely instructed his aunt on the same the next day?

    We had a laugh over that!


  11. Christine

    I also remember Mom (or maybe it was Grandma) saying “If it had teeth it would bite you” when we couldn’t find something in plain sight.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Susan

      I remember that saying – I think it came from Gram, because Mom always said it to


  12. Mothers are perfect you know. I think you need a reimbursement! One night I came home, woke my mother, who BTW could sleep through a train wreck, told her I was home and asked if I could go out for another hour with my friends. Then I came home on time- again – and she grounded me for two weeks! Said I never woke her. I need my two weeks back! Lol ~Elle

    Liked by 1 person

  13. “It had never been frosted” I laughed out loud.


  14. Linda Tharp

    I loved your post! It’s funny how our eyes played tricks on us when we were younger, and we just shook our head. Now when it happens, we (or me, anyway) check online for early-onset dementia symptoms!


  15. hahaha great story! don’t worry you are not alone, like you I cannot see and find my phone, my note books, my pens, laundry powder tablets, my socks. everything, But we are legion, we do not forgive, we do not forget, expect us 🙂


  16. I am laughing out loud. So, thank you. This was the BEST read all morning (and I’ve been reading all. morning.) And now I have something else to say to my hubby and four kids besides my broken record, “ARE YOU LOOKING WITH YOUR EYES OPEN OR CLOSED???”


  17. That’s funny! The things we will do to avoid our Mother’s chagrin.
    I spent many a summer looking after my little sister and she was a handful. There were, broken teeth, broken windows, broken furniture, the list is endless. She once took a gallon can of corn syrup (it came in a tin like paint cans), pried of the lid and poured it down the back of a chair, while giggling and shouting, “Look Niagara Falls!” I’m pretty sure my allowance was always spent fixing something she broke. I should have swapped her out for your brother.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: