Monday, January 21, 2013

Oh no...fundraiser time!

Oh those awful school fund raisers!  I'm not just focusing from a parent's perspective either.  I'm recalling the kiddo's anguish too; the agony of receiving the horrific glossy handouts, attending the ridiculous cheer leader pep rallies, and knowing the pressure of having to sell so many of whatever it was to uphold the class' expectation of earning a not-so-exciting pizza party.

Now, if you were one of the motivated few who one, enjoyed selling their hearts out to receive a slew of $1.00 plastic prizes, two, happened to be a perky cheerleader, or three, one of the PTA mothers who worked tirelessly on school fundraising efforts, I apologize.  Please don't take this post personally.  You see, my dear friends and blog readers, I was pitiful at the process and therefore resented the entire experience except for selling the Catholic Tidings Newspaper Seriously?

One would think this would be the most difficult item to sell for Catholic grade schoolers walking door to door in the 1970's.  Truth be told, it was.  Most kids in my class were lucky if their parents would purchase one of these religious gazettes; however, my mother came from a very large and generous Catholic family.  There was always an aunt and/or grandmother prepared to write a check for a Bryant kiddo in need.  Since I was the last one attending this school - for awhile anyway - not only did I receive the family's support but I also had a secret fundraising "weapon". Yes, "weapon".  My mom had a friend who agreed to buy 10 subscriptions from me every year.  Why?  I have no idea.  Perhaps she gave them away as gifts.  Personally, I'd be rather disappointed when I opened that envelope.

In grade school, I was the queen of fundraising.  Eventually all reigns must come to an end along with the pride of wearing the plastic cross of distinction for selling ridiculous amounts of a newspaper published with the Pope's blessing.  Catholic High School soon followed.  I met my doom as it appeared that uniformed teenage girls seemed much more capable of selling anything with chocolate. Unfortunately, I ate more than I sold. 

The candy boxes were doled out during sixth period before school let out and on that first, awful day, I owed myself at least $20 worth of back paid allowance. I gobbled chocolate down so fast it was embarrassing.  I had candy wrappers floating on the floor around my desk during Sister Margaret's eighth period World History Class.  In prior blogs, I mentioned that I had a bit of a weight problem in high school.  The fundraisers and my love for of all things chocolate certainly didn't help. 

Chocolate has always been an issue for the Bryant family.  I believe it was actually inherited from my maternal grandfather, Robert Baxter.  I hadn't learned about it until I was an adult.  My nanny, his wife, told me he used to hide boxes of chocolates throughout the house to prevent his eight children from eating them.  She said that for years after he had died, she'd still find half eaten boxes of chocolates in the most bizarre places.  It made sense as I recalled my childhood and my mother hovering with a fork over the frosting of a chocolate cake or waking up to the sound of my sister, Kathleen, devouring an entire bag of Hershey Kisses during the last term of her first pregnancy.  Yes, chocolate is a curse for the Bryant clan.

It's 8:27am on a Monday morning and as I sit here blasting out this blog, I'm drinking a bowl of candy bar in a cup (1/3 cup coffee, 1/3 cup nonfat half-half, 4 tbsp Hershey Chocolate Syrup, and 4 packets of artificial sweetener).  I'm also sucking/chomping on Dove Dark Chocolate candies.  I feel these are far less fattening than the milk chocolate ones and keep me from coughing better than mentholated cherry cough drops (I'm getting over a cold).  Why am I sharing this information?  I'll let you be the judge of that.

Needless to say, I dreaded fundraisers as a student as much as I do now.  I won't allow my boys to go door to door.  I have too much sympathy for my neighbors to impose my Aspergian sons upon them begging for sales and getting distracted by the site of something in their houses instead.  My kiddos have been known to walk into stranger's homes and ask to disassemble grandfather clocks or fix broken vacuums.  No, my sons aren't allowed to walk door to door even with their dad standing next them.  Plus, what do you think the boys sell?  That's right, chocolate.  And, guess who has to buy it in mass quantities in order for them to earn their class not-so-exciting pizza party?  Yep, you guessed it, me.