In Loco Parentis ~ by Ruth Ross Saucier

 Maria and Tod were something like five and nine years old [okay, maybe seven and twelve; I’m getting old, don’t hold me to the details] when they came to stay with us in Seattle for a weekend.

They lived outside of a small town and we lived in Seattle, so we thought we’d share the big city with them, take them out to eat, play games, go to the theater, and see the city.  Share some culture.

 As recent grads of the U. of Washington, we were big fans of their theater program. Back in the ‘70s and ‘80s, the UW had oodles of theater venues—theater in the round, a theater in a riverboat, you name it. Always inexpensive to attend, the productions were in small theaters so you always got a great seat and a fascinating look at plays from Shakespeare to modern.  The play scheduled for that weekend was completely unknown to us, but we booked four tickets and proudly took them to experience the sophistication of live theater. 

The title of the play was Hot L Baltimore.  Set in a gritty city hotel (the ‘e’ in the neon sign had burned out), it proved to be a bit more enlightening than we counted on.

Particularly so when our lovely second row seats had a perfect view of a scene when, yelling and bouncing, an utterly naked, well-endowed student actor playing a prostitute ran across the stage,  not once but twice. Uncle Fred lunged in an attempt to cover Tod’s eyes, but that failed utterly.

My husband, being sure that his sister would never ever forgive him, swore his nephew to absolute secrecy. On our return home, as a reward, a bribe, and a treat, we made banana splits for dessert. But we couldn’t really find any dishes that would work well, so we christened them “bread pan sundaes” and served them up in loaf pans.

The following morning we were awakened early by Tod bellowing from the kitchen, “Can we have bread pan sundaes for breakfast?” Still recovering from the antics of the prior evening, I considered the ice cream as a variant of milk, the banana as a fruit, the nuts as protein, the virtue of not having to get out of bed, and yelled back, “Sure – just don’t tell your mom!” 

But of course, when Mom appeared later that afternoon, our born-chatterbox nephew ran to greet her and the first words out of his mouth were, “Mom, Mom, I saw this naked lady and had bread pan sundaes for BREAKFAST!

 Pretty sure she forgave us—eventually.

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