Saturday, May 10, 2014

Saturday Night Genealogy Fun - Tell a Story About Your Mother's Daily Life

It's Saturday Night - 
time for more Genealogy Fun! 

Your mission, should you decide to accept it (cue the Mission Impossible! music) is to:

1)  Tomorrow is Mother's Day in the United States, so let's celebrate that!

2)  Tell us a story about your mother's daily life - what did she do during her days while you were growing up?  Did she work outside the home?  Did she volunteer for a school or organizaton?  What hobbies or interests did she have?  It can be any time in your childhood and school years.

3)  Write your own blog post about it, or write a comment on this post, or write a Facebook or Google+ post.  

Here's mine:

My mother didn't work outside the home while I was a child or a youth.  My parents were very traditional - my father worked for a salary as a Prudential life insurance agent, and my mother worked in the home doing the shopping, cooking, cleaning, laundry, beautifying, tending to her three boys, etc.  The housework always seemed to get done with a minimum of fuss and, considering how rambunctious the four males in the house were, managed to keep us and the house presentable.  I know that she worked her butt off to make this happen.

In the 1950s, we had a stove, a sink, a refrigerator but no freezer (I remember an icebox down in the garage for ice), and a washing machine in the kitchen.  We lived in an upstairs apartment in San Diego (18 steps up as I recall) with enclosed front steps and open back steps off a small landing.  The laundry was hung on a line to dry off the back porch.  The one bathroom had a bathtub (no shower until about 1965), a sink, and a toilet (for all 5 of us - did I mention four males?).

My mother kept us dressed, cleaned, fed, taught, disciplined and loved.  She enjoyed seeing us excel in school and in sports, and kept on top of our homework and commitments.  We spent a lot of time outside on the block and in the nearby park, which gave her the time to do her jobs.  The four males in her life didn't help a whole lot with her tasks, as I recall.  

She learned to cook what my father liked - fried egg sandwiches, vermicelli on eggs and toast, and a number of other special dishes.  Breakfast was usually cereal and milk, with pancakes, eggs and bacon on the weekends.  Lunches were baloney or peanut butter sandwiches with cookies and fruit.  Dinners were meat, (chops, ham, chicken, ground beef, hot dogs), mashed potatoes, and vegetables, with dessert (ice cream, cake, pie).  We always had fruit, cookies and crackers in the house for snacks. 

Mom went shopping almost every day because we didn't have a freezer and the food didn't have a lot of preservatives to keep it fresh.  For years we had milk delivered by a milkman on the doorstep in them orning.  She walked to the store, and carried the groceries home in a bag or basket.  The Piggly Wiggly two blocks away was the preferred store until it closed and the Safeway was built across the street kitty-corner from our block.

Mom never learned how to drive a car, so we only had one car and my father drove it for his work.  She would take the bus downtown or up to North Park to the department stores and specialty shops.

We either walked to school or rode our bikes.  Mom volunteered at the school with artwork for projects and assemblies.  

My mother was an artist.  In the early 1950s, after Stan and I started in school, she would get picked up once a month by my father's cousin, Dorothy, and they would go off and paint scenery with watercolors.  She bought a kiln, and started doing copper enamel wall pieces.  The kiln was in the sun room where she would work and enjoy her art interest.  Then my brother Scott was born in 1955, and the baby took our bedroom, and Stan and I moved into the sun room, and the kiln went into garage storage until the mid-1960s.  After Stan went into the Air Force and I moved out into an apartment in the late 1960s, the kiln came back to the sun room and she was able to create art gallery quality copper enamel pieces.  

Youth baseball was a great thing for my mother.  Little League started in 1956, and my father managed teams up until about 1973.  I never played, but my two brothers played Little League (age 8-12), Pony League (13-14) and Colt League (15-16).  Dad took us to the ball field for practice and league games in the spring and early summer, and that left Mom some free time to read, do some artwork, and relax.  She came to some of the games, helped in the concession stand, and was always encouraging to her sons and their teammates.  

She had several friends in the neighborhood.  In addition to the ladies who rented the five Carringer-owned apartments on the block, there were several ladies within walking distance that she visited on a regular basis.  They drank coffee and had snacks, and perhaps some wine, and chatted about their children, and spouses.  After Stan and I became teenagers, and Scott started school, she started having a little sherry in the afternoon to relax and relieve stress, but she had to sneak the bottle in because my father was vehemently against drinking alcohol.  We all knew about it.

All in all, my mother was a classic 1950s mom - taking care of her children and her husband, getting the necessary tasks done efficiently, and finding some time to nurture herself and her interests.  

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Copyright (c) 2014, Randall J. Seaver

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