From Chicken Soup for the Mother's Soul 2

The Wonders of Tupperware

Many years ago, in the far distant past of 1966, Tupperware parties were all the rage with stay-at-home moms. Practically all of us “kept house” then, and these parties gave us a pleasant and acceptable way to go out for the evening, usually leaving the dads to handle the kids’ bath and bed routine.

We loved actually talking with people older than five, although our conversations mostly centered around those very topics we knew best—kids and housekeeping. While learning the proper way to “burp” a container, we also discussed burping babies. Usually, after about three hours of listening to the demonstrator, playing silly games and filling out our order forms, we would all go home thinking of the wonderful new plastic additions to our already bulging kitchen storage cabinets. We might not see each other again for a month or so until someone else decided to host the next “party.”

One day, after a Thursday night Tupperware party at the home of my friend Kay who lived two doors down from me, I was in the backyard hanging out wash (something else we used to do in the olden days, but that’s another story). Kay yelled over the back fence that she had some pastries left over and maybe we should gather up some neighbors and finish them off with coffee later that afternoon. This was an unusual idea in our neighborhood. None of us had lived there very long, we all had little ones who took up a lot of our time and we just didn’t socialize much except for demonstration parties. I told Kay it sounded good to me, so we called everyone who had been there the night before and made plans to meet at my house at 2:00.

Normally, by 2:00 in the afternoon, most of us had the kids in for a nap, but this time we decided to forgo the naps for just this once and let them play while we ate the pastries and talked. It was raining out, so the little ones had to play in the dining room of my tiny house, out of sight but within hearing distance, while we moms sat talking in the living room. Before we knew it, two hours had gone by and everyone hurried off to start dinner before the men got home from work. But something interesting had happened in those two hours, something that we all knew we wanted to continue.

We continued to meet for three more years, every Friday afternoon at 2:00, bringing the kids along to scatter toys and grind pretzels into the dining room rug of whoever was hosting that week. We didn’t mind the mess—we were learning that sometimes all mothers lose their cool with their kids, sometimes every loving husband was an unfeeling oaf. We weren’t alone in the world, and we weren’t monsters who sometimes lost control in our frustration with trying to be the best wife and mother. Amazingly, we discovered other women were having the same struggles. And quite often, just talking about it with friends who really knew allowed us to handle things better the next time we felt like throwing in the towel or strangling somebody.

Week by week, my sanity was saved and my marriage was strengthened because I found a safe place to vent my frustrations and learn new ways of coping. We moms learned from each other while we developed wonderful friendships among ourselves, and our children learned valuable social skills (such as picking up your own pretzel crumbs) from their tag-along playgroup. And all because of a Tupperware party!

That Tupperware—who knew it could preserve so many things?

Carol Bryant

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