My Mother’s Innocence


My parents met in Rochester, N.Y. and began dating when my mother was 18 and my father was 20. They were married the day after Mom’s 20th birthday, and began life with little experience of the larger world, but a great deal of knowledge about how to stretch a penny – they were both born during the Great Depression.

Shortly after their marriage, they took a road trip to visit relatives in another state. My Dad being a construction worker had learned at an early age that the biggest and cheapest meals ‘on the road’ could be found at truck stop restaurants. Their plan was to drive straight through with no overnight stops, to save both time and money.

At one stop, my Mom went to use the restroom and the ‘Ladies’ had a sign indicating the facilities were out of order. Dad stepped up to the plate, and after checking the Men’s room for occupants, told Mom, “Go ahead and use the Men’s – I’ll guard the door!”

A few moments later, Mom stepped out with smile, and asked my Dad, “Where did they get those cute ‘drinking fountains’ on the wall?” Dad laughed for some time, ascertained that Mom had not touched or tried to drink from one of the ‘fountains’, and explained that these were actually urinals for men to use.

This has been a family story for over 55 years, and somewhere there exists a picture of my Mom and several others, with a caption (written by one of my sisters) that says “Mom tells the story of the cute little drinking fountains”.

(photo courtesy of Suat Eman/