Mistakes Happen; Once In A While Some Are Doozies



This is something I previously posted on a local website a couple of years ago under the title of “My Mistake Made Her Smile”.  At that time I held back a bit of information concerning this story.  My husband was surprised the first time I posted this, sharing a mistake I made with every one who happened to read my story. Mistakes will happen, we’re only human after all.  For me the nickname was more embarrassing and I never shared that with anyone until now.   After the “mistake” I ran into a classmate in the hallway who I thought was waving at me to get my attention.  As I approached her she held her hand up and wiggled her fingers at me and said “Hello Tickles”.   That name stuck for a bit of time…..luckily for me a short bit of time.   So now you will know the entire story, except you’ll have to read the rest to learn what my mistake was.  If you laugh, don’t worry about it, I still laugh at myself when I think about what happened all those years ago too.

Through the years I’ve made my share of mistakes and I was always grateful that no one was ever hurt by them except myself.  This is a true story about something that happened when I went to school for nursing, Licensed Practical Nurse (LPN), to be exact. It was a one year course that started September, 1975 with graduation June, 1976.  We wore Pepto-Bismol pink uniforms and plain white caps. Upon graduation we were able to wear regular white nurse uniforms and a green stripe on our caps. Not one person in my class was sorry to be rid of those awful pink uniforms.

I did exceptionally well with all the courses, having a final grade of 98 in anatomy and when I took the Boards that October I passed them the first time with a score just 15 points shy from a perfect score of 750.  I shared that information not because of an oversized ego; I want you to understand that I did know what I was doing when I was taking care of my patients.  Two of my sons may have thought otherwise, however.  They both work in the medical field and many years ago when I mentioned being a LPN they laughed and joked about how LPN meant learn practically nothing.  As to that comment, well, there’s a saying I’ve heard off and on through the years……opinions are like assholes, everyone has one.

As students, we did clinicals at the local hospitals working in pediatrics, medical/surgical floors, labor and delivery and the operating room which was my favorite.  We also worked taking care of the elderly at a couple of local nursing homes.  This was the most difficult part of the course for me because it was heartbreaking to see so many elderly left alone with no visits from family or friends.  I quickly realized that the people who specialized in taking care of the elderly are, indeed, very special themselves.

One day, as a student, I was assigned to take care of a sweet lady in her late 70’s who had a problem “going”.  She was impacted and needed assistance and it was my job to help her which was a first for me.  The aide helped me get her into the bathroom and onto the commode directly over the toilet.  Nervous as a long-tailed cat on a porch full of rocking chairs, I chatted away about anything I could think of to cover up my nervousness. Gloves on, lubricant applied, I squatted down beside her and began my approach under the commode to help her get things moving.  I was surprised when I didn’t find her “problem” and carefully, gently, continued to probe a bit more feeling around but not finding anything.  I tried again, wanting to help her and ease her discomfort.  I changed my approach a bit and as I probed further and deeper with my fingers, I looked up at her to make sure she was okay.  There she sat wearing this huge grin.  I mean an ear to ear huge grin.  This is the point where you have to remember I mentioned scoring a 98 on my anatomy final.

“Don’t stop dear, keep going, I haven’t felt that in a very long time” she told me.  Realization hit me like a ton of bricks.  I was in the wrong spot.  I had to grab the toilet to keep from falling onto my butt.  I was so mortified that I was speechless and just pulled my gloved hand out and away while I tried to think about what I was going to do.  She just sat there smiling at me then gave me a pat on the shoulder as I squatted there looking up at her.

I tried to compose myself, as best as I could given the circumstances, all the while wishing I could just quietly slip out of the room and go anywhere to not be where I was at that moment.  I just couldn’t think of anything to say to her and she was still smiling at me.  I was actually speechless.  I took a deep breath and told her we were going to try this again, correctly this time.  I was successful, finding what I was looking for, and able to finish what needed to be done.  I got her cleaned up and settled back in her bed knowing the worse was yet to come.

I located my instructor and immediately reported everything that had happened.  She made no attempt to hold back her laughter, laughing so hard tears were running down her face.  My patient’s comment to me had the entire wing in stitches because, of course, I had to be totally honest and document every thing that had happened.  I’m sure it doesn’t take much imagination to picture the ribbing I took about that and of course there was the nickname…. Tickles.  It caught on pretty fast as did the finger wiggle wave.

This is another one of those moments that remain crystal clear for me all these years later.  I can still see her huge grin and the way I look at it now, being able to make someone smile is never a bad thing.

To this day I still don’t have a very good sense of direction.




All rights reserved.  I hope you enjoyed my story but please remember it’s my story so no using or copying any content in any manner without the express written permission of the owner….me.





Mom’s Don’t Like Spitting

          When I was younger, Mom was always just Mom, someone you loved but also sometimes feared.  As children we don’t realize that Moms are also individuals with feelings, frustrations, dreams, hopes and regrets.  Never perfect but with many facets of personality that make up the person we call Mom.  I have memories of Mom wearing rolled up jeans, saddle shoes and sometimes a kick ass attitude.  I remember occasions when she went nose to nose with someone who did something she didn’t like.   She wasn’t always the winner but she also didn’t often back down.  This story is one I previously posted a few years ago. When I first wrote this story I had always believed she was just upset about the spitting.  I’ve re-read it and thought about things and have come to realize that perhaps anger and frustration for someone else was probably the motivation for her actions that day.  I don’t know if she ever apologized to anyone or felt bad about that day but I guess it really doesn’t make any difference.  She was Mom…not Perfect.

Anyone who knew my mother knew her as a kind, generous, loving woman who knew absolutely adored her family and opened her door to any and all in need.  Ask any of my sons about their Grandmother and the first thing you’ll see is a softening of their face.  A gentle look comes into their eyes and you’ll see a bit of a smile tinged with sadness as they think about her.  They remember the older, gentler, kinder woman; I remember the younger, feisty woman you didn’t want to piss off.

One summer day we were visiting my mother’s parents. One of our male cousins was staying with our grandparents for the summer and, as me the child remembers, he was about 7 years old, a red-headed, whinny, tattle-tale brat so I’ll refer to him as Cousin B. This particular day, Mom had reached her limit with him and his pissiness and she said it was time to go home. My sisters and I were in the back seat of our car with the window down.  Cousin B. walked up to our window and spit at us.  He stood there smirking until my mother’s car door opened.


In a flash, Mom was out of the car and reaching for him.  He took off running up the alley probably figuring she wouldn’t go after him because she was too old being in her late 20’s or early 30’s.  Wrong…….she was hot on his heels. The exact moment he realized he was in for it, that Mom was mad as hell and not giving up the chase until she caught him, he started screaming for our Grandmother.  “Help, help me Nanny, help” he yelled.  The way he was screaming for our Grandmother I’m sure they heard him in Corning.  Dad started laughing because Mom was really moving.  Our Grandparents came running out of the house as Cousin B. ran past them into the house with Mom right behind him.

“Stay in the car” Dad said as he got out.  The next thing I saw was the second story bedroom window open and Cousin B.’s head pop out.  With the window open we could hear Mom yelling at him and, realizing she was still after him, he crawled out onto the sun porch roof.  Mom came out that window right behind him.  My Dad must have explained what had happened because he and my Grandfather were laughing while my Grandmother was yelling at my Mom.

Cousin B. was cornered with no place to go as Mom caught up with him on the sun porch roof.  By now he’s wailing like a banshee.  We stayed in the car like we were told but four heads were squeezed out the back seat window in awe of our mother.  She actually caught him and she climbed out on to the roof to do it.  “You will apologize” Mom yelled at him.  “No…help me Nanny, please” was his reply.  My Grandmother starts using the Gaelic so we know she’s really pissed now too.  Mom grabs him by the arms and holds him over the edge of the roof.  “You will apologize to them all or else” she tells our cousin.  “Okay, okay” he cries, believing she’s going to drop him if he doesn’t.  At this point my Dad reaches up and takes him from Mom after she lowered him down a bit.  As an adult I realize that porch roof was probably only 6 or 7 feet from the ground but to a 7-year-old it probably looked like the Grand Canyon.

Mom crawled back through the window, came outside, grabbed Cousin B. and marched him over to the car.  He apologized for spitting at us and promised to never do it again. Nanny wasn’t happy with Mom for what she did and continued to yell at her.  Cousin B. received a couple of swats on his ass from our Grandfather.  No one said much on the drive home as Mom continued to vent her ire.  When her temper was up you left her alone if you knew what was good for you.

Our cousin never spit again, never antagonized us again and Mom was the only Aunt who never had to speak more than once to him.  As he grew older he and Mom actually became close and whenever he was in town he’d stop in and visit with her.  The loving, gentle woman my sons remember had fire in her blood and, at times, a temper to match. That fire was just banked to warm, soothing embers as she grew older.



All rights reserved.  I hope you enjoyed my story but please remember it’s my story so no using or copying any content in any manner without the express written permission of the owner…me.