My Mum Said Some Silly Things

Here's a boy who's not in a dress,
Though he might as well have been.
He doesn't look at all impressed,
And doesn't want to be seen.

There beside him stood a man,
Who fought 'to end all wars'.
"The best laid schemes o' mice an' men,"
Have sadly many flaws.

Here you see a Glasgow lass,
Standing all in white,
Who made the most almighty fuss,
When I was "standing in her light".

Paul Foot - The Vote: How It Was Won and How It Was Undermined

"You're Standing in My Light"

My Mum was a dressmaker to trade, and everywhere I went in the house, when I was a wee boy, she said, "You're standing in my light".

I used to think, that was a silly thing to say. Why was it her light? Did she own the dark too? If I'd gone and stood in the cupboard, would I hear a wee voice shouting through the keyhole? "You're standing in my dark." But it didn't seem to bother her so much when I stood in her dark. In fact, she encouraged that.

Anyway, I thought I'd better keep out of her dark as well, because she might suddenly want it back to use, as a punishment for when I’d been "standing in her light".

"Well," I said. "If you don't want me “standing in your light”, why don't you lock it in the cupboard where you keep your dark, and then you'll know where it is when you need it. I wouldn't want to stand in it, if was in the cupboard anyway; it's too dark and creepy in there, even with the light on."

Of course, the light in the cupboard didn't belong to my Mum, because it was a council house. The working class didn't go in for homeownership in those days. Anyway, she didn’t seem too bothered about that sort of thing. I suppose she was satisfied enough that she owned all the daylight. She wasn’t a greedy person - except for when it came to daylight-ownership, and then she became a rampant Thatcherite.

Another silly thing she used to say to me was, "You've got your whole life in front of you."

“That’s just silly”, I said. “How can my whole life be in front of me, when all the life I’ve ever had so far, is behind me?

“You have a potential life”, she said, - “if you don’t get too cheeky”.

Nevertheless, I thought, some of my life was behind me, some of it was above and below me; just because I couldn't see it, that doesn't mean it wasn't there. And, when you cover your eyes with your hand, you mightn’t be able to see where you are, or where you're going, but others can - although they might not warn you when you're about to stand in dog-pooh. So, what confused me was that she must’ve been able to see it, because it wasn't behind, above or below her all the time, so why didn’t she know it was there? She wasn’t a banker or a politician; she was a dressmaker, so she wouldn’t lie to me, although, as I’ve already pointed out, she did say some silly things.

So, I asked her one day, and she just said, “I can’t see anything, because you’re standing in my light again!”

But anyway, if my whole life was in front of me, why did it hurt so much when my Mum slapped me on the back of my head for “standing in her light”? When she head-butted me on the nose, I understood, because (until then) my nose was “in front of me” along with the rest of “my (potential) whole life”. And, that was a friendly gesture anyway: She was from Glasgow.

Then, one day, she said that I needed a haircut, and she showed me the back of my head in the mirror. I said, “That can't be my head. You said, “my whole life was in front of me””. But, she explained that the reflection in the mirror was mine, so, because that was in front of me, I still had to have a haircut.

I used to say to her, "Why do you need all the light?”

And she would say, "Because I'm a dressmaker, and I need all the daylight there is".

Well, I didn't believe that, how can one person have all the daylight there is? She was starting to sound like a megalomaniac. Megalomaniacs, and my brother, always want to own all there is.  But I didn't mention that, because I didn't know what megalomaniac meant in those days - anymore than I do now - which is just as well because megalomaniacs are nasty, and that's all we need to know about them.

There were about 3 billion people in the World in those days. I wondered how they felt about my Mum owning all the daylight. She wasn’t the only dressmaker in the World - it surely wasn't fair, her having all the daylight, and it was bound to affect the GDP. The miners were the only people who didn’t need daylight in those days, because they were down the pits, but that was a good thing in a way - because at least they had jobs then.

Then she'd make me wear the dress because I was all she had to hang it on while she was looking to see where she needed to put the rest of the stitches. It's funny how I wasn't "standing in her light" then. I was standing in one of her half-made dresses, and praying that none of my friends would come to the door and see me standing there, in a half-made dress, which didn’t suit me.

I didn't want to be seen standing in any kind of light when that happened. I wanted to be standing in the cupboard where nobody could see me, and where she kept her dark, and in which, I hoped, my friends wouldn’t see me. But, I thought I’d better ask her permission first, due to the almighty fuss that she always used to make when I was, “standing in her light”.

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Comments 42 comments

Jillian Barclay profile image

Jillian Barclay 5 years ago from California, USA

So, so funny! And here I thought that my mother owned all the light! She, too was a dressmaker! Maybe all of us who had moms that sewed lived with that saying! Thoroughly enjoyed this! Thank you so much for a Sunday morning laugh!


kittythedreamer profile image

kittythedreamer 5 years ago from the Ether

very nicely written...extremely entertaining and light-hearted. i enjoyed this hub a lot...unique, too. :) voted up!


amillar profile image

amillar 5 years ago from Scotland, UK Author

That's the point Jillian, dressmaking Mums should share the daylight between them, and everyone else.

I'm glad you had fun with this hub; so did I.

Thanks for dropping by and commenting.


amillar profile image

amillar 5 years ago from Scotland, UK Author

Hi Kitty, thanks for dropping by and commenting. I'm glad you enjoyed reading my hub. I enjoyed standing in my Mum's light; I didn't enjoy wearing her dresses.


WillStarr profile image

WillStarr 5 years ago from Phoenix, Arizona

Who said we Scots have no sense of humor? :-)


amillar profile image

amillar 5 years ago from Scotland, UK Author

Hi Will, we have to have a sense of humour, living as we do, in between the North Pole and England.

Thanks for dropping by and commenting.


Pollyannalana profile image

Pollyannalana 5 years ago from US

Well my mom wasn't a dressmaker but she sewed all the time and a good thing she was in another country because someone was always in her light, small world. I never heard that Connie Frances song and I use to sing her songs for all my sister's friends, guess that is how I got to love these old songs, well probably more from Mom, my sister couldn't sing and she would punish me when Mom wasn't looking if I made too big of a hit with her friends...I have scars to prove it! I will have to do a Connie Frances poem song,(guess I better not do "Where The Boys Are" thank you and for not getting in my light...I really never found anything wrong with that saying until you pointed it out. Great hub to bring smiles and memories.

Polly


Pollyannalana profile image

Pollyannalana 5 years ago from US

I said beautiful mom and dress but it didn't make it in, that dress beats Kate's to me. Did she make it, do you know?


Fay Paxton 5 years ago

You are absolutely hilarious. This made me think about telling my daughter to stop leaving the lights on because it was costly. She looked at me with the most curious look and asked, "someone owns the light." After all these years, I'll finally be able to tell her the owner is Amillar's mother.

up/funny and awesome


triciajean profile image

triciajean 5 years ago from Bantam, CT

When my mom was sweeping the floors, she would say, "Don't step in my dirt." I thought it a bit odd to lay such urgent claim to something she was busy getting rid of. But I know she meant something more like, "Don't step in my work."

She had many colorful expressions. Asked if a visitor had come yet, she'd say, "Haven't seen hide nor hair of him." I'll have to write a hub about the farming and hunting expressions often still used in city life.


amillar profile image

amillar 5 years ago from Scotland, UK Author

That dress was made in 1946 Polly. I think she did make it, but I'm not entirely sure, and I can't ask her now because she died in May 2000. I know she made that kilt, because it was bright red (The Mackintosh tartan). It matched the colour of my face, when she made me wear it. But she was good at what she did; she wasn't good at what she didn't do, which was charge enough money for what she did.

My Mum wasn't a pop fan, she was more inclined to sing hymns, but she said she liked Connie Frances. That Connie Francis poem song seems a good idea, I like the old songs too.

Thanks for dropping by again.


amillar profile image

amillar 5 years ago from Scotland, UK Author

Your daughter was maybe right Fay, these utility companies take over everything. They privatised water in the UK some years ago. There’s nothing more absurd than selling water to the Scots; it’s like selling sand to the Arabs. But they did it. I won’t be at all surprised if they find a way to commandeer the daylight from my Mum and sell it for profit, while the British people do nothing as usual. At least that would be a fairer sort of distribution than my Mum had.


amillar profile image

amillar 5 years ago from Scotland, UK Author

Hiya Triciajean,

If your Mum wanted to lay claim to nothing more than a little bit of dirt on the floor, she could hardly be described as selfish - just as long as she didn't want to share the responsibility for causing the mess in the first place. I'm sure her children had nothing to do with that.

My Mum said she needed 'all the daylight there is'. How greedy is that?

BTW, I still use the 'hide nor hair' expression. Thanks for dropping by and commenting


d.william profile image

d.william 5 years ago from Somewhere in the south

What a wonderful hub. I thoroughly enjoyed reading it. Very amusing. dw


amillar profile image

amillar 5 years ago from Scotland, UK Author

Hi dw, thank you dropping by and for your kind and encouraging comment. I appreciate it


CreatePerfection profile image

CreatePerfection 5 years ago from Beautiful Colorado

Very funny hub, amillar. Thanks for brightening my day.

Blessings


amillar profile image

amillar 5 years ago from Scotland, UK Author

Thanks for dropping by and commenting Lela. If I can brighten up your day I can't be all bad.


Movie Master profile image

Movie Master 5 years ago from United Kingdom

Very funny hub, I thoroughly enjoyed reading it!


amillar profile image

amillar 5 years ago from Scotland, UK Author

Thank you for visiting Movie Master and for your kind comment. I'm glad you enjoyed reading.


THAT Mary Ann 5 years ago

My husband's mother was a dressmaker as well, so we can really relate to this...but we miss the comments, and the mothers, just the same...silly as things got sometimes. Thanks for the memories....and chuckles.


amillar profile image

amillar 5 years ago from Scotland, UK Author

Hi Mary Ann - Yes, mums are irreplaceable. I miss my Mum and if she could still be here and wanted all the daylight there is, I'd at least let her have my quota.

Thanks for visiting and commenting.


Eiddwen profile image

Eiddwen 5 years ago from Wales

A great hub and thanks for sharing.

I now look forward to reading many more of your hubs.

I vote this one up without a doubt.

Take care

Eiddwen.


amillar profile image

amillar 5 years ago from Scotland, UK Author

Hiya Eiddwen - what a lovely sounding Welsh name you have. I'm glad you liked my hub, and thank you for voting it up.


Mimi721wis profile image

Mimi721wis 5 years ago

"Your standing in my light" was a phrase everyone used when I was growing up. I meant you were blocking their sunlight or their view. My husband tells me that now. My Mon made some of our clothing and stitched quilts also. Maybe the sweet little seamstresses just didn't wanna prick themselves. Thanks for stirring up that childhood memory for me.


amillar profile image

amillar 5 years ago from Scotland, UK Author

Hiya Mimi721wis - "yes standing in the light" of a dressmaker is a cardinal crime. I know from bitter experience, although I shouldn't complain, because my Mums sewing brought some money into the house, and money was no easier come by in the 1950s than it is now.

I'm glad I stirred up childhood memories for you (as long as they're happy memories).


Mimi721wis profile image

Mimi721wis 5 years ago

They were fond memories. All the ladies made clothes and quilts when the community. Very few sold the clothes. Most of the families could only afford new duds about two or three times a year. This was also common for families with a little bit of cash. Many people repaired clothes and some even stitched socks. We also passed around clothes in the neighborhood. Families really appreciated them. Could you imagine kids and adults doing this today. It would teach these overpriced marketers a thing or two.


amillar profile image

amillar 5 years ago from Scotland, UK Author

Hi, Mimi721wis - My Mum taught me to darn. Young people nowadays think that's a mild swearword. But my Mum didn't know that she was wasting her time - because now, if I get a hole in my sock, I buy pack of 5 new socks (made in China, of course), for less than a piece of darning wool.

The sad thing is we seem to treat skills with contempt these days. It’s all about how much money we have, rather than what we put into the community.


MysteryPlanet profile image

MysteryPlanet 5 years ago

Funny stuff, I enjoyed it thoroughly and it brought back memories of my own mother and childhood days.


amillar profile image

amillar 5 years ago from Scotland, UK Author

Yes MysteryPlanet - it seems that many Mums are the same; they need a lot of daylight. Yet, that’s the problem; they can't all have "all the daylight there is".

Thanks for visiting and commenting.


toknowinfo profile image

toknowinfo 5 years ago

Your writing keeps me smiling all day long. Thanks for the hilarity. I am such a big fan of yours, and of your humor.


amillar profile image

amillar 5 years ago from Scotland, UK Author

Hiya toknowinfo - I like the thought of people smiling all day at my humour. If that's the case - mission accomplished.

Thanks for dropping by again and for your encouraging comment.


Reynold Jay profile image

Reynold Jay 5 years ago from Saginaw, Michigan

This is truely brilliant! I don't need to tell you that cause you know that it is wonderful writing in every way. You have a gift that stands out like a laser beaming down from heaven.


amillar profile image

amillar 5 years ago from Scotland, UK Author

Hi Reynold - thank you for visiting, and for your kind and encouraging comment; now all I have to do is live up to it.


Amanda Severn profile image

Amanda Severn 5 years ago from UK

My Mum used to make lots of our clothes, and I learned to sew on an old tredle machine which made a heck of a racket. I don't remember Mum demanding more light, but I do recall threading needles for her in her later years, and now I ask my 12 year old son to the the same for me. I never get him to model my creations though! I love the kilt BTW, and your Mum's dress is stunning.


amillar profile image

amillar 5 years ago from Scotland, UK Author

I had nimble fingers when I was young Amanda, so I got a lot of these little jobs to do. My Mum taught me to darn and sew, but I didn't broadcast it. Mind you, it did come in useful when I joined up, because although the Flight Sergeant said, "I'm your Mum now lad", I didn't like to suggest that he should darn my socks for me.


Jackie Lynnley profile image

Jackie Lynnley 5 years ago from The Beautiful South

That reminds me when my husband went in service and had to sew on name tags he told his sergeant he couldn't who said anyone could. The next morning in line-up he walked by my husband and looked at his name tag all bunched up and told him to bring his shirts and tags by that evening! He sewed them on. I had five brothers and they all could sew and cook at a very young age, before leaving home anyway. This is sort of a Mommy day...I think I might put on a great but fattening recipe I came up with. If not, maybe tomorrow.


amillar profile image

amillar 5 years ago from Scotland, UK Author

We had sergeants like that in the RAF too Jackie, but you had to be careful if you dropped a sixpence; you had to kick it all the way to the guardhouse before you dare bend to pick it up.

A fattening recipe every now and then can do no harm. As they say, "A little of what you fancy does you good".


Paraglider profile image

Paraglider 5 years ago from Kyle, Scotland

I like this. It's funny and nostalgic in a bittersweet way. And the references to Thatcher are well taken. Are you familiar with Ivor Cutler? Sometimes I felt the voice was quite similar.


Jackie Lynnley profile image

Jackie Lynnley 5 years ago from The Beautiful South

Is that you up there? I missed that! I come back to listen to Connie every now and then. A shame what happened to her and I was years knowing, but I guess she eventually got back into her singing and performing. Would be good to know what people like that are doing now, wouldn't it?


amillar profile image

amillar 4 years ago from Scotland, UK Author

Hello Paraglider and Jackie,

I didn't know I had unanswered comments on this hub. I just found out when I was looking for some advice I'd once been given, I clicked my comments button and saw I had two unapproved comments.

I'll see if I can Google Ivor Cutler, I've never heard of him until now Paraglider.

Jackie, I don't know what happened to Connie Francis; I just remember my Mum saying she liked her singing.


triciajean profile image

triciajean 4 years ago from Bantam, CT

Connie Frances did get back to singing. My son met her at a studio in New York City in the 1990s. I don't know what happened to her before that.


amillar profile image

amillar 4 years ago from Scotland, UK Author

I see she was performing until as recently as last year triciajean. According to Wikipedia, she's had a few ups and downs - just like everyone else I suppose. I'm going to dig out an old cliché now and say, 'the old songs are the best' - but it's true.

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