When I opened the door and smelled something cooking, the sounds of kids being kids, things relatively where they should be, (kids again), I fully understood the magnificence of the cornerstone, the one that holds the glue gun at the ready, to repair the warp and weft of the fabric that is home and family.
I hadn’t realized the massive undertaking school was going to become. It was essentially a nineteen-hour workday. The commute was three to four hours per day, depending on weather, traffic and if I was lucky enough to catch the express train. Class hours, homework, and project hours left no time for housekeeping and cooking, so an upgraded babysitter was required.
Our first helper was a neighbor who I will call Ms. Rag Sargent. She seemed perfectly capable at first having raised a family herself. She believed in good food and vegetables for the children and assured us she kept a spic and span house. She had a medium build and a well-maintained head of hair with a few grays that held their bounce with the help of nighttime rollers. The most peculiar aspect of her person was her hands, the palms of her hands to be exact, which were a strange shade of orangey brown. I assumed she was on medication for that!
The kids remained alive during her tenure, although later on, I learned of their many clever subterfuges that eventually led to her replacement.
In order of horrification:
Drink hydrogen peroxide daily.
Drink carrot juice daily.
Listen to Handels Messiah Daily.
Assist in ripping rags from anything.
After the first school year, came the burden of finding someone who will not try to poison the children, and whom the children would not try to annihilate.