Posted on April 30, 2014 · Posted in Your Relationship with Food

My Relationship with Food
Joyce_Headshot_New

I want to share with you how I began my relationship with food. Each week I’ll take you along this journey further. We were going to see Jackie Gleason’s diet doctor in Paterson, N.J. when my story began.

It’s Tuesday night on a cold day at the end of January, 1955.  My sister, Arleen and I are in my mom’s 1950 Pontiac – driving to Jackie Gleason’s Diet Doctor.  Doris, mom’s best friend is sitting next to her.  Mom met Doris at work.  She is 12 years younger than mom, single but heavier than mom.  Mom was divorced, a single mom long before divorce was considered an option.

They are excited because mom lost six pounds and Doris lost seven in the two weeks they have been popping their diet pills.  They always ate too much over the Christmas holiday.  So it was time to lose weight before summer so they would fit into bathing suits.

We arrive at the doctor’s office full of anticipation.  The waiting room is painted white with aluminum chairs lined against three walls.  There are several people waiting to be called into the doctor’s office to be weighed and given their weekly supply of diet pills/amphetamines – really speed.

Arleen and I sit down to do homework in the waiting room while waiting for mom and then Doris to be weighed in and given pills for the week.  As I look at the people waiting to be ushered into the doctor’s office, I witness how some have hope on their face.  I realize this is probably their first visit.  Others looking pleased; so they probably lost weight over the week.  And those that seen anxious.  They probably cheated and know the doctor would give them a lecture.

You could always tell if mom was happy when the door opened and she came out.  If there was a smile I knew she lost weight.  If there was a frown it meant she gained or stayed the same.  I could tell this wasn’t a happy visit.  When Doris came out of the doctor’s office, she had a smile on her face so I knew she did lose a couple of pounds.

On the ride home, the conversation often sounded like this, “Well, Doris, I don’t understand why I didn’t lose any weight.  I didn’t cheat.  I was good.”

“Hey, Marge it happens sometimes.  Just eat less and next week you will see, the weight will come off.”

“I’m going to be really good this week.  I’m going to skip breakfast.  I wish I had enough pills to take two each day.”

One night after we got home, I asked mom, why Jackie Gleason was still fat on TV.  She said he must be cheating at Callahan’s or Hiram’s.  Jackie Gleason lived in Fort Lee, NJ and across the street on Route 9 were two small drive-in food joints; Callahan’s and Hiram’s, famous for their hot dogs served by young girls while sitting in your car.  One of my favorite places.  The hot dogs were deep fried on a toasted bun with delicious French fries and onion rings and creamy milk shakes.  We would go several times in the summer when mom and Doris were off their diets.

I asked why we weren’t going to Jack Benny’s diet doctor.  She said he doesn’t need one.  This left me questioning why some people have to diet and others do not.  I promised myself I would never have to diet.  Even though, when mom was out on a date, Arleen and I would raid the sugar jar eating spoonful’s of sugar and running around the apartment, jumping on the bed and laughing for hours before mom got home.

That was how I began my relationship with food.  Next week I’ll take you along this journey further.  Read Part Two here……

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