I did not shudder, I did not cry, I did not run to a therapist or write a tell-all book. Instead, I forwarded it to my two sisters and a list of friends and we shared stories and laughed till it hurt.
All three objects I was hit with, and then some. I believe it's a prerequisite for Italian mothers to be able to throw things at their kids. I'm blessed that my mom, Carmella, had horrible aim. She threw flip-flops, wooden spoons and belts at me, as well as a box of maxi-pads, a two-liter bottle of Pepsi and her beeper, which back in the day was as heavy as a brick. She once took my baby portrait off the dark-paneled wall and chucked it at me like a boomerang, clocking me on the back of the head. Another highlight: She ripped the Michael Jackson "Thriller" record - yes, a vinyl record - off the turntable and Frisbeed it at me. The last thing I heard was Vincent Price's cackled laughter at the end of the song and then got popped in the mouth with a flying object.
When Carm chased us, she actually took to running after us, and then during the chase stopping to slide off one of her shoes, then while hopping on one foot, throwing the shoe at her moving target. In the late '70s, early '80s, her shoe of choice were those damned wooden Dr. Scholl's clogs with the leather and metal buckles. Joan Crawford would be proud.
One of her best moves, one that I would have awarded her an Olympic gold medal for, was going after my older sister, Dawn, with a curtain rod. We were cleaning out the basement; Dawn mouthed off and took off running up the steps. Out of reach for a back slap or hair pull, Carm grabbed one of those white metal curtain rods that look like a golf putter and quickly extended it 5 feet and tripped my sister, who almost escaped up the top of the steps.
Gina, the youngest, who was born in a manger and had a luminous glow shone on her with favoritism and more love that the middle and older sisters, even saw a jigsaw puzzle of the continental United States thrown at her when she was caught snooping for Christmas presents.
While Carm was the disciplinarian, Big Pat had his share of glory, too. I was rough-housing with my younger sister Gina in the pool and probably stood on her head too long under the water. He yelled at me to get out of the pool and I refused, knowing that an ass-whooping was in my future.
He grabbed a decorative boat oar off our back fence and tried like hell to paddle me with it. But I found if I stood directly in the center of the pool, he could not reach me, but he spent a good hour slapping the water as he tried in vain to reach me from every angle and even the deck. He then shouted that I'd have to get out sometime to go to the bathroom, but the joke was on him as his prized pool got a little bit warmer that day.
Big Pat got his revenge later that year at Christmas-morning breakfast when, sitting at the opposite end of the table, he threw a piece of buttered rye bread at me clear across the kitchen. I ducked and it hit the fridge door, where it slowly slid down among the magnets, Pathmark coupons and A+ test scores. This just wasn't any rye bread. No, it was Jewish rye from Kaplan's Bakery, a/k/a Gold Medal, at 3rd and Brown streets. I think it was seeded and probably would have blinded me with a caraway seed if I did not duck. For him to fire off a slice of the best rye bread in Philly was proof that I deserved the rye-ing.
But Mr. and Mrs. Kozlowski were not the only parents who threw things at their kids. After posting this on Facebook, I had an almost instant response from friends who were more than helpful - hell, it was like telling old war stories about the foreign objects thrown at them.
Karen Lachowicz Stankiewicz reported that a glass of iced tea was thrown at her and missed her head by centimeters, and Cindy Mosicki Sabatino had a whole bowl of mashed potatoes follow her out the door. Cass Wikiera had an open can of tuna fish whizzed at her, and her punishment was cleaning it up. (And she stated she did not turn out to be a mass murderer)
It wasn't just the ladies who responded. Jim "Poppy" Adams simply said about his punishments, "I earned them and more."
Which was the overwhelming majority of people's answers when they had shared their stories of being hit by household objects when we were kids.
Ironically, I did a quick roll call and all my buddies who responded never killed a cop, set a dog on fire, robbed a bank, mugged an old lady or held up a 7-Eleven.
Wanna know why? Because our parents would've KILLED US!
Patty-Pat Kozlowski has no criminal record after being hit with probably everything you can buy at a dollar store.