Jun 23
Household Legends
icon4 Jun 23rd, 2008 | icon2 Family |

Just as urban legends exist in society, many families have their own “household legends” that are passed from parent to child. My mother was particularly good at creating little stories to deter me from unwanted behaviour. Usually these stories began “I read in the paper about a little boy … “. Here are a couple of examples.

A child in England jumped up and down on his bed so much that the electric blanket exploded

Like most kids my bed doubled as a trampoline. I had an old, springy bed and you could really get a good bounce going if you kept at it. I also had an electric blanket that I adored, and kept on most of the winter.

One day mum caught me jumping on the bed and calmly related how a boy in England had recently been blown to bits when he jumped too hard on his electric blanket. This terrified me. I was too young to see that there is no obvious way for an electric blanket to go off like a landmine, so I took mum at her word. It is an electrical device after all, so I suppose a misplaced jump, a tiny spark and KABOOM!

A child in Scotland ate so many scrambled eggs that his eyes swelled up and he couldn’t see

I loved scrambled eggs as a kid – still do in fact. I would’ve eaten them every day if I could, but for some reason mum didn’t agree with my dietary preferences and concocted this little tale to get me to cut down on my egg intake. Perhaps eggs were as expensive back then as they are now.

The story was that excessive consumption of eggs would make your eyes – maybe even your entire face – swell up like a balloon. Mum had read this in the paper one morning, and passed it onto me as she dished me up a steaming scrambled egg breakfast for the fourth time that week. I had trouble getting those eggs down that morning and to this day when I eat scrambled eggs I picture that poor little kid with his eyes puffed shut.

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