Mother had dislike for letters. I was about nine or ten at the time. My mother would take me to Sunday church with her for both the morning and evening services. On her way home she would sometimes stop at the pharmacy and get something or the other. One night while she was in conversation with the druggist whom we all knew, liked, and respected, a boy about my age came in and asked for a ‘French Letter.’ Up to that point I was in the shop oblivious to what my mother was buying, but came totally awake when I heard the request. As we all knew drugstores did not sell letters. But then he asked for one in the French a language which we did not speak at all in our little Belize. But that was not all; the druggist asked who sent him for that and the little boy said a man, who was waiting outside, had sent him. I was completely at a loss and could not understand anything. Why would the druggist want to know who sent him to buy a French letter? It would be difficult to explain to anyone how my perplexity had grown to unmanageable bounds.
As soon as my mother was outside I asked her, naturally, what was a ‘French Letter?’ Well my mother rarely scolded me or talked to me loudly; it was therefore a total surprise to hear this normally sweet person raise her voice sounding like God speaking to Moses on Sinai, ‘I do not want you to ever ask me about that again.’ I assured her I would not and kept my promise on that.
I did not sleep well that night and the next day I went to my elementary school with one thing on my mind and that was to discover just what a French letter was. I asked my friends and they of course, explained it to me as best they could. You know what they told me. I bought one, after school, with the little money I had and when I hit home went to a safe place to delve further into this mystery. That was a total waste of money. That was the most useless thing I have ever purchased; I tried it but it flapped around; I blew in it, stretched it, put water in it, lost interest and threw it away where I felt my mother would not find it. That was the end of that for me until years later. I wonder sometimes if parents should not try to provide some simple information to their kids’ questions.Of course I understand why mother had dislike for letters; French ones.