There Was an Old Woman


There was an old woman who lived in a shoe.

She had so many children, she didn’t know what to do.

She gave them some broth,

Without any bread,

Whipped them all soundly, and sent them to bed.


A shoe? A shoe? Who lives in a shoe, right? Let’s look at a starter house, something older, good neighborhood, I said. But my ex-husband, the god damned dreamer! “Would you look at that, a shoe! How fantastic is that!?!” he says. “Let’s just look at it”, he says. And God help me, I love the guy, so we go look at it. He’s so friggin’ happy, I get all caught up and before you know it, we’re signing mortgage papers and moving in.


Right from the beginning, I know this is gonna go wrong. The eyelets leak every time it rains. Just try getting “shoe-owner’s” insurance. And the whole place smells like god damned foot. Then I find out I’m knocked up. Dreamer boy has to go out and get a real job. The kids just keep coming; turns out we’re more fertile than an Egyptian delta, for Christ’s sakes. Then he comes to me one day, out of the blue, and says things are a little too “real” for him. That it gets awfully real when you come home every day from a job that feels like a strait jacket to 8 screaming kids, a wife who does nothing but shriek at you, and another night’s sleep in a used boot. And then one day the little bastard just doesn’t come home.


Long story short, I end up on welfare, just trying to get to the end of every month before the money runs out. There’s been times I’ve had to make one pot of chicken noodle soup and a loaf of bread last for 4 days. By day 2, the bread was gone. By Day 4, there were no more noodles, and I had to just hope the kids didn’t notice.


It’s not like I can afford to put them in activities. Soccer, swimming, hockey? Yeah right, maybe for rich little buggers. My kids have to amuse themselves. The older ones invented this game where they swing off the boot laces. Just about stops my heart every time. But it keeps ’em out of my hair for a little while, and I sure as hell need them out of my hair once in a while. If I had known how it was going to end, I swear I would have stopped it. Jake is only 3, but bless his heart he thinks he’s a teenager like his big brothers. I hear a scream, I look out, and he’s coming at me with a face full of blood. That’s how it happened. Just like I said. And now I’ve got the God damned social workers on my case, wanting to know if I beat my kids. Of course I don’t. They’re all I’ve got. Besides this piece of crap shoe.



21 responses to “There Was an Old Woman

  1. Did you write that?? It is really great!

  2. Thank you! Yes, it’s mine. It started life as an assignment for a class. We were to take a passage from a piece of literature, and rewrite it from a different point of view. This is what I came up with.

  3. 19thmayflower

    hey there, bumped into ur blog and read this piece.
    its very interesting and i hope it’s not a real life story 🙂

  4. 19thmayflower: I’d like to say it’s not real life, but I’m sure bits of it are based on feelings, ideas, etc. from the stay at home mom gig.

    Wendz: Thanks!

  5. I like Dice Clay’s version better.

    “There was an old woman who lived in a shoe.

    She had so many children…that her uterus fell out”

  6. Oh that was awesome Ginny!!!

  7. johnnypeepers: Not only can Mr. Clay rewrite a better nursery rhyme, he smokes behind his head better than I do, too. I just continue to disappoint…

    Maria: Thanks! It’s funny how as a kid, the old woman just sounded like a mean old bitch. Now that I’m a grown up, though, she’s become infinitely more relatable.

  8. Nice. 🙂 Maybe some day your Prince Charming will come whisk you and the kids away to live in a double wide pair of galoshes. That should help with the rain issue. As for the ex, that man has no sole. 😛 HA! or not 😉

  9. 19thmayflower

    oh yea. real life has tonnes of issues.

  10. Well, and here I was feeling sorry for myself because my husband got laid off yesterday! But now I see things could be worse. Much worse…. 🙂

  11. I’d live in a croc. But that’s just me. I like things airy.

  12. writinggb: In all seriousness, I am so sorry to hear about your husband’s job situation. Was it a surprise? That just sucks.

    Chick: That’s because you live where it gets ungodly warm. One Canadian winter, and you’d be begging for something fleece lined.

  13. I love and adore you. And that’s not just the cider talking. That was fucking brilliant and I can’t believe you didn’t share it sooner. Immediately. A hundred years ago.

    I am crying with laughter and admiration.

  14. Great writing, and I laughed out loud when I read your comment on Ask and Ye Shall Receive.

  15. Sulya: Awww! I would have shared it sooner, but I was probably wiping something off of someone, or trying to fish something out of somewhere, or yelling at someone for something….plus, I kind of forgot about it, until I was having a particularily shoe-ish day.

    FormerlyFun: Thanks. And the blog I commented on gave me so much enjoyment. Seriously. She even linked back here, in a post on what the “critics” had to say.

  16. Ginny, no worries. We’ve known for two months. He’s had a few interviews. No offers yet, but he’ll get something. He’s a smart and capable guy. Since he’s union, he also gets two months until actual “termination.” So it only sorta “sucks” — mostly it’s going to be a great thing. Once he’s in a new job and we can look back and say, “Thank GOD that you got out of that crazy place!” Too bad I still work there…ugh! Could be worse…. At least we only have one kid, not eight, and our house doesn’t give us athlete’s foot… 🙂

  17. I’m just glad it wasn’t a shock, writinggb. Athlete’s foot…oh man, I didn’t even think of it!

  18. Sorry to ask, but whose shoe does it smell like? Cuz most people I know have feet that smell like strawberry and rose petals.
    Love you, 🙂

  19. Oh SNAP, you went there! This is what I get for hanging on to a friend for more than 20 years….

    (I love you, by the way.)

  20. This is simply hysterical! What a terrific piece of writing! Thanks for sharing it!

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