If your Mom loved you when you were very little, she would bathe you with Ivory soap, because it was made by angels or something.

If your Mom was mad at you, maybe because you and Steve had given each other awesome moustaches using a black Magic Marker, and you had Church tomorrow, she would ‘erupt’ and subject you to volcanic cleaning activity.

I don’t mean that she exploded and held your head under molten rock.

Because people would talk.

What she did do, since indelible moustaches were, well, indelible, and she didn’t want her baby boy looking like a riverboat gambler at the Church of Christ, she would sandpaper that sucker right off your lip.

One layer of skin at a time, until she had removed it all.

Or hit bone.

But she wasn’t really using sandpaper. She was wielding something way worse—Dad’s huge commercial size bar of Lava soap.

For anyone who doesn’t know, Lava soap was 1% soap and 99% volcanic pumice.

I’m pretty sure the mafia used Lava soap to dispose of bodies.

Mobsters would just keep washing them with those giant green bars of compressed rock shards and glass until there was no evidence left.

As a side benefit, the criminals would have incredibly clean hands and NO fingerprints. So the police would have no evidence to go on.

In our house, under Dad Law, Lava was one of those things—like Cain’s coffee, Coors beer and Winstons—that you absolutely could not ever run out of.


Or there would be hell to pay!

Dad kept his giant bar of Lava on his work bench in the garage.

It sat next to an open Folger’s coffee can that, throughout my entire childhood, held half an inch of gasoline and a wire brush.

His Lava soap had turned from green to black through relentless contact with oil, grease, engine crud, flesh and blood.

After he’d done his shade-tree mechanic work—usually under the guidance of his Cousin Sonny, which involved numerous cigarettes, adult beverages, scraped knuckles, and loud and colorful military language—Dad would devote 5-10 minutes to using the wire brush, Lava soap and gasoline on his hands and forearms.

Eventually, what little flesh he had left was clean as a whistle. And his arms and hands would look like hairy lobster claws.

Even if I hadn't added a black indelible moustache to my upper lip, I was frequently required to use Lava soap before gaining admission to the dinner table.

If, say, I’d spent the afternoon working on my bicycle chain, and grease was sort of caked on my knuckles, I’d dab a little Lava onto a washrag and slowly, gently rub away the grease and grime.

I had no intention of Washing Angry like Dad did, because God only gave me five knuckles, and I did NOT want to rub off a single one.

But if I failed Mom’s Clean Hand Scan upon entering the kitchen, she’d spin me around and perp-walk me right back to Dad’s work bench.

She dearly loved her baby boy, but she had no time to mess around.

She’d grab the washrag, dip it into the gasoline and rub it on the Lava bar so hard and so fast that I expected it to spontaneously combust.

Then she would proceed to scrub me raw.

If Lava and gasoline didn’t work, she’d torture-clean me with Dad’s Boraxo and his small can of Naphtha.

This would cause me enormous pain, but did she care?


Borax was the most abrasive substance on Earth. It contained “sodium borate, sodium tetraborate or disodium tetraborate” which, in layman’s terms, meant “razor-sharp glass shards and prehistoric fish bones.”

Borax was only found in deep mines in Death Valley. It has been BANNED by numerous civilized countries.

Even China, for crying out loud! But it was in constant use in our house.

Naphtha, a HIGHLY flammable liquid hydrocarbon mixture, was just as evil.

Naphtha is an “assimilation” from the Akkadian napṭu ["petroleum"] and Hebrew neft [meaning “if that sucker explodes, it’ll take your knuckles and half off Nebraska Street right off the map.”]

If I’d had a choice, I would've preferred Mom use Dad’s belt sander, since that would have left me with more flesh on my bones.

But the sander was stored away, and she NO TIME.

She still had to fry more chicken in her cast iron skillet, so she attacked me with speed and exuberance.

The Borax/Naphtha/Napalm/Washrag removed every single molecule of dirt, grease, Magic Marker Moustache and, tragically, all my Superman tattoos as well.

In mere seconds, she also would have removed most of the flesh from my elbows down.

Plus the entirety of my upper lip.

When I started to complain, through gritted teeth Mom would say, “It will grow back.”

Then she’d turn around and storm back into the kitchen.

Soon thereafter I would follow at a safe distance, with my tail tucked between my legs.

I knew better than to argue with Mom’s gritted teeth.

And, despite what I had been put through, it was a small price to pay.

Because Mom’s fried chicken, corn on the cob, mashed potatoes and biscuits and gravy were worth dying for.

One square inch of flesh at a time.

("Memories of an Okie Boomer 3" is in the final stretch and should be on AMAZON next month. So hang on, y’all. Feel free to SHARE this story!)



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Amazon Reviews


Just finished reading your book. I was laughing out loud so much my husband asked what was I reading! And I kept thinking, “Bless his mom's heart”! My dad also read it and said he found it delightful. Looking forward to the second book. Thanks for the entertainment!

2 years ago


Fun and great read!!! If you grew up in the 60 and 70 you will be able to relate to many fun stories the author tells!
Bill Moore is a very talented and entertaining author with a great sense of humor! I highly recommend this book!!!

2 years ago
Susan B.
Susan B.

Couldn’t put it down. A total joy to read.

The author was a classmate of mine in high school, and is still a great Facebook friend. I knew this book would be awesome b/c of the way Bill writes his posts on Facebook telling his friends of his life in New Zealand. This book touched my heart in soo many ways. Bills writing is so descriptive, that in your mind you see what he’s writing about or transports you to the place. I couldn’t put it down. Bill, thank you for letting me go back to my days of innocence as a child in Norman, Oklahoma.

2 years ago

Having known the author all our lives I expected nothing less than stellar from him and he does not disappoint. It brought smiles and loud guffaws as I tripped down memory lane with him. It was so much more personal to me as I knew the characters in the book but all will enjoy reminiscing about that magical time in Norman . Give it a read you wont be disappointed!

5 years ago

I think anyone who grew up around the 1960s will enjoy this trip down memory lane!

5 years ago

Bill Moore, Writer

Norman-born Bill Moore spent four decades as a newspaper reporter and P.R. guy, writing at least 900 gazillion words in Texas, Washington, D.C., Singapore and New Zealand.
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