My Mother Was A Margarine Smuggler.
Yes, it is true.
Shameful but true.
It is always difficult for the children of those involved in criminal activities to confront their past and the social stigmas associated with such behavior, but at some time it must be faced.
My mother was a Margarine Smuggler.
(My hand shakes still as I type this.)
In the Wisconsin of the mid 20th century it was illegal to sell margarine. At all. Period. NO!
Wisconsin was at that time the top dairy state in the country being as how it had and still has more cows than people. Of course this was before California flexed its udderal muscle and pushed us out of the number one spot. (As thought they didn’t have enough of everything else already what with vast vineyards, eternal sunshine, immense manufacturing, surfer girls, the Sierra Nevada’s and Disneyland. The hippies out there did have to get together and decide mafia like to take over the dairy industry too. One suspects here a union formed with the Chicago Cosa Nostra .)
Milk products being our greatest economic commodity the farmers did not want any competition from chemically concocted fake-assed substitutes. So they managed to get the State Legislature to ban the sale of margarine anywhere and everywhere. Normally the conservative farmers did believe in free enterprise and the All American tradition of entrepreneurial freedom, but not when it came to something as obviously Godlessly Communistic as fake butter.
Given American know-how and do-how, banning something almost immediately sets up a black market for the forbidden substance. Many Wisconsiners had relatives that gladly risked bringing the verboten bread smear deep into Wisconsin territory.
My mother had a car with a trunk.
She snuck in the margarine.
Fortunately, Wisconsin did not have much of a border patrol back then. We still don’t. We should get one to keep all the people from Illinois out, they tending to be the main disturbers of the non-Illinois like tranquility we pride ourselves on. Plus they tend to be Bears fans, which is anthelmic to all things Wisconsin (we, of course, being Packers fans.) (Do I really have to explain that?)
This nefarious activity went on for years with us sneaking the contraband across the border every time we went to visit the relatives. The strange thing is that her sister in law, the main recipient of the illicit goods, was the most saintly, God-devoted person imaginable, yet she gladly received each shipment of the demon margarine with gratitude and money; herself being the descendant of farmers to boot.
Finally, with time, the margarine industry managed to push itself into the Cheese State, probably with backing from Chicago (which is in God-forsaken Illinois) mafia who are always suspected to be behind every evil which inflicts our golden State.
The sudden influx of the yellow, non curd spread put an end to my mom’s underground activity. She went back to more normal maternal activities like doing laundry, cooking and yelling at us kids.
At least we slept easier at night from then on.
Now if I could only remove the dark stain that taints my conscience……..