"Lillian's Regime" would come in the mail
from Aunt Katherine. It told what could
and what could not be eaten, and my mother kept it in front of her at
the table and referred to it as food was being passed.
"You can't have that, Lillian," she would say to a taboo item.
"Why not?" my father would
"Because Katherine says she can't," my mother would explain.
"Poor Lillian — of course she can have it if she wants it," he
would say firmly. "I don't care what Katherine says — we're not going to
let her starve."
"Oh, no — I really shouldn't have any," was Aunt Lillian's
stock remark as she passed her plate to my father for the helping she
never dared to take herself.
She put on lots of weight at our house. Aunt Katherine must
have suspected foul play because, come next visit, the 'regime' would be
Country farm auctions were
much more fun than those specializing in antiques; we could get much
more, bulkwise, for much less money. In those days the rural auctioneer
accepted a modest bid increase, say five cents — or even my father's
favorite, two and a half cents. Mrs. Greene of Wayland, however, used to
raise the bid by a penny which annoyed the auctioneers. She was
a very wealthy woman, but notorious for her stinginess; she
found it exceedingly painful to part with any amount of money,
no matter how small. Once at an auction in Wayland, when time off
had been called for lunch, my father happened to meet her
at the caterer's tent. It had been several years since she had seen him
and she felt that this would be an appropriate time to