Betty, for those of you who are new around here, is my 83 year old mother.  Betty grew up in the small town of Renfrew, Ontario at a time when most women started their mornings wiping flour covered hands on thinning aprons before plucking bottles of still frothy milk off their front porch.  The street she grew up on was anchored by stately brick homes separated by wide swaths of thick grass that sparkled at night with fireflies.

It was an idyllic town at an idyllic time; the 1950’s in small town Canada.



Also – her parents were batshit crazy.

Curiously things are rarely the way they’re historically remembered.  You can thank or blame it on television.  June Cleaver was probably agoraphobic, Andy Griffith a swinger and so on.  But because of television we romanticize the 1950’s as an era of wholesome, perfect families who wore ironed plaid pajamas.

My mother’s 1950’s family?  Her mom filled her days by wrapping up dead rats in pretty boxes and then leaving them on the sidewalk in front of their house.  The purpose of this?  So she could laugh her guts out when someone grabbed the present and ran off to unwrap their good fortune in private.  They were listed on the Social Register of Canada, owned a complete human skeleton and had curiosities around the house that bordered on pathological.

Their 3 kids, (my mother, uncle and aunt) survived remarkably intact and relatively sane.  Not so sane that they’re boring you understand, just sane enough to stay out of jail and/or the crazy-as-a-bedbug nuthouse as it was affectionally referred to in the ’50’s.

So when I walked up to my dear, elderly mother’s front door the other day to deliver a basket of strawberries I had just picked for her, it was with no surprise whatsoever when I stumbled upon this.


oh shit not you again mat

This is the reason in Kindergarden when asked to describe his grandmother, my nephew said she likes to drink beer and swear.  This is the reason when delicate people ask me to refrain from swearing on my blog and ask me what my mother would think, I just laugh.  This is the reason I’m tough and strong and have absolutely no fear of rats.

This is the reason I am the way I am.  You can thank or blame Betty and Betty’s parents and probably  Betty’s parent’s parents for it all.

And you can buy the very same mat right here.

I figured you’d like it because if you’re here, chances are we’re the same.  A band of people raised by a couple of nutjobs just trying to make things better for their kids than the nutjobs who raised them.  And so on.

Have a good weekend!



  1. Dianne Drew says:

    People like that only make life more interesting for people like us. I started with collecting dead things and putting them in jars when I was 5. Although adopted, I’m from nutjob stock. (Nature vs. nuture? ). *Sigh* I really should have become a taxidermist.

  2. Melissa Keyser says:

    What is the Social Register of Canada?

  3. Cheryl says:

    OMG you have Ottawa Valley Roots. That explains why you are so talented. I love Renfrew and Pontiac counties. They are like Ontario and Quebec’s best kept secrects. So what street did your mom grow up on? I will drive by and look to see if the gift wrapped rat tradition has continued.

  4. Judith says:

    Laughing and nodding in recognition, with a little happy tear in my eye, because this is very reminiscent of my family. Without the gift-wrapped rats, though, which is a shame because that is hilarious. My Mom, rest her soul, would have bought that doormat in a heartbeat and I wouldn’t have been any more surprised than you were. Viva Betty! ❤️

  5. Dianna says:

    So glad I found your blog a few days ago! I have never enjoyed reading anyone else’s prose like I love yours.


  6. Barbie says:

    REPRESENT!!!! On the batshit crazy family part…. makes us who we are!!! LOLOL

    Love ya Karen !!!

  7. izzy says:

    Thanks for the link! I saw this on your Instagram and have been wanting to get it for our house :)

  8. Karin K says:

    “when delicate people ask me to refrain from swearing on my blog and ask me what my mother would think…”
    This has actually happened?? Dear God. PS: My Mother couldn’t wait to teach my kids to curse.

  9. Benjamin says:

    I’m gonna start wrapping up some rats for a laugh. Getting even with the diabolical dunces that need to be taught a lesson. 5150, I’m going crazy thanks to you baby…

  10. Gwen H. says:

    Love the story and the door mat. We all come from bat shit families.

  11. Mark says:

    I don’t have any grandmothers any more, can I adopt Betty??

    PS: all your links go to amazon.com. I don’t think their referrer links translate to amazon.ca. Do you have a link we can use so you can get the referrer credits on amazon.ca?

    • Karen says:

      Hey Mark. Thanks for thinking of me. Amazon is *supposed* to link to Canada if you’re in Canada from my links but if that seller doesn’t sell from Canada then they don’t. I’ve just applied for their beta version of dual linking. Hopefully it’ll work once it’s up and running! ~ karen

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