Tuesday, February 10, 2009

How it all started: My Mom

When I think of my Mom I remember her always being there for us. She was a stay at home Mom or as they were known back then was a homemaker, or a housewife. When you think about that now, a homemaker; in a way she was. She made sure the house was clean, the meals cooked, the kids bathed, washed and ironed the clothes, helped with homework, and whatever else needed to be done. She made the house feel like home. Somewhere warm and safe, no matter what we faced at school, and life in general in our later years after we got married and moved away from home. I never remember going shopping for clothes until maybe high school when it was just me and my younger brother at home. My Mom sewed, so she made mine and my sister's clothes. But I thought they were just as good as the store bought clothes my brothers got to wear. I guess we never knew any different so we didn't think any differently about it. I remember when my brothers asked for Converse All Star shoes and my Dad saying you're paying for a name. But yet they are still around because Michael has had some of them. So they must be pretty good shoes. lol
Daddy worked shift work so my Mom had to cook at different times of the day depending on the shift he was on. But I never remember hearing her complain.
Sunday afternoons when Daddy was at work was always bologna sandwiches, chips, and ice cream coke floats. I thought that was the best meal there could be. Because Mama splurged and bought chips and coke, that was the only time I remember having either of them. That was later when probably only three or four of us was at home. Every Wednesday was hamburgers. We ate chicken and hamburger a lot because even today it's the cheapest to fix. I remember having a vegetable garden and helping out with it in the summer as soon as we were old enough. So we always had fresh vegetables. She even took the old bread and made bread pudding. It's hard to describe but it was so good. I remember it had butter and cinnamon/sugar on top of it and definitely no raisins. I ask her now and then for the recipe and she tells me "you don't need it". Because I take after my daddy's side and have always been overweight, whereas my Mom is just the opposite.
Please don't think we were ever poor. We weren't but we weren't rich either. But she knew how to stretch a dollar and make sure we had what we needed.
I don't remember her making us do that many chores. Even back then I loved to cook but she didn't like us in her kitchen. I'm the same way now, I don't want anyone in my kitchen making a mess. We were required to keep our rooms cleaned. I guess she figured if we messed them up we needed to clean them.
I see myself in some of her ways. Like I would rather do something myself, that way if it doesn't get done right I only have myself to blame.
Maybe that's why it's hard for her to sit still even now. She has always been chasing kids, and taking care of chores for most of her life. She got married the first time when she was only fourteen and had her first child my oldest brother when she was fifteen. Before then she was the oldest of seven so she helped her Mom take care of her younger brothers and sisters.
I believe she was more the disciplinary one. Or so when it came to me. Because my Dad never spanked me. Maybe because I was a girl not really sure. Because I remember him spanking the boys.
Apparently Mama has always been hard to buy for because I remember more than one Christmas, that Daddy gave her money. But it was really neat how he did it. There would be this big box under the tree for Mama, this was when I was older and can remember it. She would unwrap it and there would be another wrapped box, and it kept on this way. Not to mention the bricks in it to make it heavy. Through about six boxes until the last one was a small match box, not even sure if they even make them now. There would be a folded up $50.00 bill in it. In which back in the late 60's early 70's that probably seemed like a lot. One other time stands out and he did the same thing but in the match box was a new wedding band. She doesn't like gold jewelry would rather have silver. She doesn't like real flowers either. I assume the flowers is because they die and to her that's a waste of money. So one year Daddy gave her silk ones for Valentine's Day that sat on the dining room table for years. Not sure if she still has them or not. I'm sure she does somewhere.
Back then we never knew what germ a phob was or we would have probably thought she was one. She definitely likes things to be clean. The way you see her house on special occasions, it is the same way on an ordinary day. Constantly spotless. I remember coming home from school and she would be cleaning the baseboards or washing windows. That's two things that I do very rarely. But her house is and has always been clean from top to bottom. Even with six kids in the house.
Megan wonders what her secret is, and maybe that's it, that she stays busy and that keeps her so healthy. She's 73 and can run circles around most of us. Meaning she still cleans all day and keeps one very active little girl and takes it all in stride. And if there's nothing to do inside and it's a nice day you can find her outside finding something to keep her busy. And we very rarely see her tired. But then again I say we come from a line of very strong women. She is, and her Mom was also. Her Mom lived to be 93 and there wasn't many a day that I remember being around her that she wasn't busy doing something. So girls in our family it looks like we have a long, busy, healthy life ahead of us.

How it all started: My Dad

I've been told that I think I grew up in a Beaver Cleaver family. And for the most part I think maybe it was.
I say most part because one day my Mom said well there was your Daddy before he started going to church. Not long after they got married. She has a picture of him holding a string of fish with his shirt off and a cigar in his mouth. He loved to go fishing when he wasn't working.
I never heard my parents argue. I'm sure they did, but they never did it in front of the kids. Or maybe like Megan, says of her and Denny they disagree but they never really argue. I can remember my Dad walking away and closing the door to their bedroom. And I believe that was his way to walk away before it was an arguement. Then later he would come back out and everything was fine.
My parents never raised their voice at us. I'm sure with six of us in the house we gave them plenty of reason to. I know I did as I got older.
I can remember soon after I got my first car and my Dad had a sprained wrist. That was the first time he had fallen at work. Which at the time we didn't know he was sick, just thought he had somehow fallen down and hurt his wrist. He was in the backyard changing the spark plugs in my car. He went in the house for something and I thought I would help him so I took all the covers off of the spark plugs. He came back and all he said was "go see if your Mama needs you in the house". In which I didn't know until years later after marriage that I made his work harder by doing that. But he finished with his one good hand and never said another word about it.
I remember to this day the one time when I was older, after marriage that I lied to my Dad to his face. When I think about that now it hurts that I can never go back and tell him the truth and that I'm sorry for doing it. If you want to know what it is I will tell you but I don't think it's something I want to put in a blog. I miss not being able to tell him that I love him. He never told us, because men just weren't brought up that way back then to express their feelings. But we knew that he did. Just by the way he treated us and took care of us.
Daddy worked at what is now International Paper and I can't remember him missing work much. If he was sick he would at least go in until they could call in a replacement. I never heard him speak an unkind word to anyone or about anyone. I think that he believed in the saying if you can't say something nice about someone then just don't say anything at all about them.
He provided the best he could for us. We didn't have all the things our kids have these days, one they weren't invented yet, the other we couldn't have afforded it. But he took care of what we needed. Yes we were brought up strict, the way the church believed back then. Probably too strict, and that's why you don't see a lot of the kids brought up back then, in church today. It was basically church, and home.
Last Saturday would have been Daddy's 81st Birthday, and even though he's been gone for fourteen years now. I don't think there's many a day that goes by that I don't think what if. Michael was only three, so he doesn't remember that much about him and he never got to meet Makayla. He didn't get to see Megan and Denny get married, and how happy she is. He would love Denny because yes Denny is a lot like him. Denny is quiet, and a hard worker. He takes care of Megan and makes sure she has what she needs. He's a person you can love and respect because of his values. And now me about to be a Grandma. I wonder what he would think and say about it. Because I can see Megan when she was about five or six combing his hair and putting hair bows all over it and he never said a word. He just sat there and let her do it.
We miss you and love you Daddy

To be continued: My Mom