Through Any Given Door ~ Catherine Sevenau

Catherine Sevenau Catherine Sevenau is a writer, humorist, and storyteller living in Sonoma, California. The stories in this series are excerpts from her book, Through Any Given Door, a Family Memoir. The full memoir is available as a web series at A longtime Realtor and Owner/Broker at CENTURY 21 Wine Country, she can be reached at [email protected]


“Just eat it”

Posted on August 15, 2022 by Catherine Sevenau

Chapter 38: 

1947 • Larry’s diary (age 13)
Jun 4  Graduated from 8th grade elementary school. I got a wristwatch and binder as gifts. Went to graduation party and danced with Barbara Miles
Jun 5  At 2 PM left for 3 week vacation to stay at George and Verda Day‘s home in Redwood City as Mom and Dad going to Minnesota
Jun 7  Jim Day (cousin) took me to a drive-in restaurant in Redwood city
Jun 9  Mowed lawn for uncle Geo. Day
Jun 10  Mowed lawns for vacation money, earned $1

Jun 15  Went to movies Odd Man Out and The Hat Box Mystery with Jim Day
Jun 18  Received letter from Mom and Dad in Rochester, Minnesota. They had an accident in their car but no one hurt.
Jun 21  Postcard from Mom and Dad in Minnesota
Jun 22  Marceline Day got married to Roy today. Reception here at George and Verda Day home after wedding.
Jun 27  Earned $4.50 today mowing lawns
Jun 29  Mom came to pick me up. She brought my cousins Shirley and JoAnne Fouch and Carleen with her. They stayed overnight.
Jun 30  Went to So. San Francisco to pick up Betty and Claudia at Aunt Velma’s and Uncle Charlie‘s. I was in Redwood City for 26 days

June 1947 • Charley and Velma ~ The three weeks Mom and Dad were in Minnesota for his father’s funeral, Betty and Claudia stayed with Uncle Charley and Aunt Velma, Mom’s oldest brother and his wife. It didn’t go well. Charley and Velma had no children of their own (which never inhibited them from telling Mom how to raise hers) and reality quickly set in.

On the first night Aunt Velma fixed the girls hot dogs for dinner. “I don’t want my hot dog wrapped in bread. Mom uses hot dog buns,” whined Claudia. Velma, hands on her ample hips, shot Claudia a look of reprimand and ordered, “Just eat it.”

At that moment the wiener shot out from my sister’s bread, squirted onto the table and danced to the waxed linoleum floor, leaving a trail of mustard in its wake. The girls thought it was hilarious. Velma didn’t.

Cleaning the floor and giving up on the bun battle, she asked them if they liked milkshakes. Betty, seven, and Claudia, five, cried in unison, “Oh yes, we love milkshakes!”

But Velma didn’t make them with ice cream, she made them with sherbet; it was cheaper. “These don’t taste good,” they said, crinkling their noses. They disliked the watery taste and refused to drink them.

Velma, bigger, older, and thinking her resolve greater, demanded, “You are not going to let these go to waste, and you’ll not get up from this table until you finish them.”

At the age of 42 (she was born the same year as my dad), Aunt Velma was sadly mistaken that she could win in squaring off against the counter-will of small children. Staring her down, shoulders scrunched, arms crossed, and with lips tightly sealed, the girls sat there for hours. And they didn’t drink the milkshakes either. The night ended in a draw, setting the stage for a long three weeks.

 To be continued…


Catherine Sevenau is a writer, humorist, and storyteller living in Sonoma, California. The stories in this series are excerpts from her book, Through Any Given Door, a Family Memoir, the full memoir is available Catherine is an author of three books, several volumes of family genealogy, and a longtime Broker/Realtor at CENTURY 21 Epic Wine Country. [email protected]


Sonoma Sun | Sonoma, CA