Wednesday, February 11, 2015

Vintage Louise

 From now on, Wednesdays will be Vintage Louise days, where I pull off old blogs from THE APRON STAGE or FIVE CROWS:

Years ago, my sister was asked to clean house for a woman, who hadn’t straightened her kitchen cupboards in years.  She asked my sister to remove everything, throw out any suspicious packaged items, scrub down the shelves and put everything back in an organized fashion.

“You wouldn’t believe it,” my sister told us on card night.  “There were dead maggots in the corners.”

We squealed and writhed and said, “You’re kidding!  Yuk.  Ooooh.”

Since then, my goal has always been not to be the woman with maggots in her kitchen cupboards.
That’s why we move every three years.

I have my own maggot story.  I can tell it without shame, because it wasn’t my doing.  The third year we were married we moved from Commonwealth Avenue in Boston to Shaler Lane in Cambridge.  Actually, Tom was in Germany leading a group of students for The Experiment in International Living.  I moved us.

The apartment was a horror.  I mean like someone had vomited on a wall and not wiped it down.  Stuff like that.  I hired painters.  When they were through, I attacked the stove with soap and ammonia.  I lifted up the top to clean under the burners and you’ll never guess what was under there!  Yes.  Dead maggots.  I turned and walked straight out of the apartment and upstairs to the VanWagenens.

“I can’t live in my apartment.  I’m going to have to move to a motel,” I said.

They asked why and I told them.

Richard said, “I’ll clean it for you.  We had worse than that in the army.”
And he did.  Richard was my hero.

Seriously, do you have a maggot story?  (Dede found dead mice in our NY apartment when she and Ed came to help us clean ).

My college biology teacher told us on the first day of class that 98% of us have worms in our bodies.  It’s the only thing I remember about biology.

Speaking of worms, the SEARS CATALOGUE used to sell tapeworms, “easy to swallow” for dieters.  In fact, that’s how Maria Callas lost all that weight in the fifties.  Thought you’d want to know.


  1. Mice in NYC come with the territory. Maggots are most definitely a sign of a dirty apartment. If I ever have maggots in my house just shoot me

  2. A mouse once ran across my bare foot at the family cabin while I was brushing my teeth. Live mice may be worse than dead mice, but equally as horrifying as any maggots

  3. My sister and I snuck raisins up into our bedroom but had to hide them in a cubbyhole. We forgot about them for a few months. When we were looking for something else, we found the glass of raisins teaming with worms. I'm told there in all dried fruit. Recently we have heard about maggots who recycle garbage and eat away at a malignant tumour.

    1. I can't have them for medical treatment, even though I know it is a thing. I am shallow and would basically rather die. Watching maggots on your body? I'm vomiting a bit just typing it.

  4. There is a water-drip pan underneath freezers. That's where we found the dead mouse last time we moved. Apparently, they get thirsty when you poison them. I don't have a maggot story. Yet.

  5. No maggots here but when we lived in Newport Beach on the peninsula we had a cockroach come up through the bathroom sink, I freaked out and so my husband turned on the tap and washed it down again!

  6. What a truly wonderful man. I don't think maggot cleaning is a service I can provide. For anyone. For any amount of money.

  7. We thought the skittering nighttime sounds in the walls in the ceiling of our house in Illinois just came with the purchase price. An AC contractor, after exploring the attic space, told us we had a "significant rodent problem."

    Oh, and tell Tom I went to Germany with the Experiment in International Living in 1968. Balingen ausserhalb Stuttgart.