Here is your assignment if you choose to play along (cue the Mission Impossible music, please!):
1) What did your mother really like to do in her work or spare time? Did she have hobbies, or a workshop, or did she like cooking, or reading, or watching TV?
3) Tell us about it in your own blog post, in a comment on this post, or in a Facebook or Google+ post.
My mother, Betty Virginia (Carringer) Seaver (1919-2002) received a Bachelor of Science degree in Art at San Diego State College in 1940. She was a watercolorist and became a renowned copper enamelist (painting designs on copper pieces, and baking the enamel paint on the copper in a kiln). In and after college, she had a wide circle of sorority friends who all seemed to get married at about the same time.
She worked as a Junior High teacher in San Diego for several years after college graduation, teaching English, and married in July 1942 to Frederick Walton Seaver. They moved into a small house in Chula Vista and their first son, Randy, was born in October 1943. It was World War II time, and when Fred went in the Navy, she and Randy moved back to the Fern Street home of her parents, Lyle and Emily (Auble) Carringer. While Emily watched Randy, Betty went back to teach Junior High School for two years. Then the war ended, Fred came home, Stanley came along in September 1946, and she was a full time mother after that.
Life for an at-home mother in the late 1940s and early 1950s was a never-ending succession of chores in an upstairs apartment with two active little boys - washing, ironing, cleaning, cooking, shopping, sewing, nursing, helping out at the boys' school, etc. She didn't drive, but did take the bus to go downtown or up to North Park when necessary. The Piggly Wiggly grocery store and the corner drugstore were two blocks north on Juniper Street and she walked to them nearly every day for fresh meat, milk, vegetables and other food items. Cooking was not her favorite thing to do, but it was a necessary task.
During the early 1950s, I recall that on Saturdays when my dad would take us boys to play baseball in Balboa Park, she would occasionally go off with Dorothy Chamberlain to paint watercolors somewhere in San Diego and have some girl chat time. She also went to Spanish Village in Balboa Park for art classes and to see artist friends. She also had a circle of neighborhood friends and her parents right next door, and would visit with them daily.
Then little brother Scott was born in November 1955, and the tasks became more complicated with four males in the house. She always seemed so calm when the inevitable emergencies arose, from the gashes from falling of a bike, separating fighting kids,or a runover cat - she cleaned it up and fixed it and went back to the daily work routine. The Safeway was built across the street and the Piggly Wiggly closed, so shopping was a little easier.
As time went on, the family got more appliances - a washer, a refrigerator, a TV, a shower, etc., and their was more time to do leisure activities, she enjoyed reading and having a glass of sherry in the afternoon before the crew came home and disrupted her peaceful time. She never had a dryer in the apartment - it was either the clothesline out the back porch or the laundromat in the next block.
Once Randy and Stan moved out of the house in the late 1960s, she converted their bedroom to an art studio. She bought a kiln and started doing her copper enamel work. She was very creative, and specialized in cats and angels. When the grandchildren came along in the mid-1970s, each one received an angel Christmas ornament for the tree each year with their name on it and the year. Each was unique. When her boys got married, the lucky couple received a small copper enamel plate with their names and their wedding date.
After her parents died in 1976-7, she and Fred moved into the Carringer home on Point Loma and she redecorated the home a bit. She did more copper enamel work, and started showing her pieces, and selling some of them, at art galleries in San Diego. As the grandchildren grew up, she occasionally hosted them all for a special day with Grandma and they usually did an art project.
Fred died in May 1983, and that meant she was stranded. She still didn't drive, but would walk down the hill to Rosecrans to shop or take OASIS adult education courses by taking the bus to Mission Valley or downtown San Diego. She became active in her college sorority and had a fun time going to their meetings and supporting their projects. Her three sons would visit occasionally and take her shopping or for a ride.
As she aged, Betty read more paperback mystery books and had a fine collection which she would loan to friends and family, and then read again. When her health failed in the late 1990s, she became more homebound and relied on her three sons to help her with shopping and medical visits.
My mother was a beautiful, reserved, gracious, intelligent and creative person who lived a life of service to her parents, husband and sons, while pursuing her creative interests with friends and family.
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Copyright (c) 2015, Randall J. Seaver
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