Su Lum: Slumming |

Su Lum: Slumming

An old friend just sent me a packet of papers and letters written over the years, including the following report. By way of introduction, it was written at 6 a.m. in 1966 from my rented house at 614 E. Hopkins, now the parking lot of Alpine Bank. I was 29, and my daughter Hillery was 15 months old; Irene was one of my roommates:”Last night Hillery woke up, and I filed her in my bed and went to get her bottle. I slapped about in the crib but no bottle. I knew it was somewhere because I had checked its contents and had put it by her hand when I went to bed.”Quietly, since Hillery had fallen back to sleep, I slapped around on the floor under the crib and my bed, getting progressively frustrated, but couldn’t find the bottle. I began ripping up the crib again, crawling under the crib completely and reaching up between the slats, getting in the crib and, enraged, flinging out teddy bears and blankets, getting completely under my bed and checking every corner, choking on dust balls and scraping my fingers on various unidentified sharp objects (petrified cat poop?).”Inwardly roaring with rage, I traversed the whole floor area, bopping my head against the closet door and banging my knee on the bedpost.”Finally, I desisted and sat, cogitating, telling myself not to be such an idiot, that obviously the bottle was not going to be found at this moment, though doubtless it would be lying serenely in the crib by dawn.”The thing to do was to go downstairs and get another bottle. I proceeded to do this, waking Irene in the next room as I stomped through. Irene sat up saying, ‘If you’re going to fix a bottle for Hillery, forget it. There’s no milk.'”‘Nonsense,’ I tell her, ‘there is milk, and I had the foresight to bring it upstairs with me last night, but now I can’t find the %$#&* bottle.'”‘Well,’ Irene replies, ‘The bottle is downstairs.'”It seems that Hillery’s preliminary waking noises (pre-scream) had awakened Irene and she had thought, ‘A-ha! I will nip this in the bud.’ She had gotten Hillery’s bottle out of the crib and took it downstairs to fill. Her search for the milk was similar to mine for the bottle. She knew there was milk; she had seen the milk in the fridge; it was unlike me to have scarfed up a half-gallon of milk in the late-evening hours, especially with a milk-drinking screamer upstairs. Yet the milk was gone. “She mounted a search, finally gave it up and went back to bed, leaving the bottle behind.”So it doesn’t pay to think ahead.”Yikes. I just thought that Hillery had made the most horrendous mess in her pants, a mess which was oozing all over her stomach. A check revealed that she had put a large chocolate candy down the front of her diaper. Happiness is when what you think is shit turns out to be chocolate.”Irene says I am the world’s most permissive mother.”Su Lum is a longtime local who hopes the statutes of limitations for bad parenting – a word we didn’t know – have expired. Her column appears every Wednesday in The Aspen Times. Reach her at

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