Thursday, July 25, 2013

Throwback Thursday - My Mom's Memories

It's Throwback Thursday Everyone!!!!! Today's theme: Memory From One or Both of Your Parents From Childhood. I asked my mom to write for today's post, and I'm really glad she said yes! She decided to share memories from her childhood home, which I love. While I was growing up, this was the place we would go to visit several times a year. I have a lot of memories from this house too, so it's wonderful to hear my mom share some of her own memories. Give her a warm welcome!

This is a newspaper picture taken of my childhood home in northeast Indiana. So many memories came from the activities in this house, and our small hometown of Garrett. My childhood was so different than the childhood of my girls, Natalie (Emmy's note: that's my sister!) and Emily. Maybe that is why Emily said its ok to talk about those memories and "the good ole days". She said she enjoyed hearing the stories and I hope you will too. It's just hard to pick one memory!

I grew up in a family of 5 children all born within 6 years! (2 girls, 3 boys)  We moved into this house on main street in 1960 because we needed a bigger house, and because Mom had a taste for fine things she picked a house that had been known for being the showcase in town with fine oak trim, and cut glass windows that illuminated rainbows by the morning sun. It was a glorious place to live and grow up. We had secret hiding places under the stairs behind the coats in the closet for a game of hide and seek. There was room for the boys to invite the neighborhood friends over to play baseball in the side yard in the summer and football in the fall. Dad would flood the side yard with water in winter so we could skate by the dim light from the kitchen window on those dark winter evenings and there was always something to do with family or friends.

Personally, I was one who enjoyed playing house with my dolls and would make the porch my house. A card table in the corner with two chairs would be the kitchen, two reclining lawn chairs would be the twin beds and blankets on the floor made up the living room rug. While the boys would dig tunnels under the porch after pushing in a piece of loose lattice work. One busybody even tried to build a fire with the twigs and dead leaves that had collected underneath! Maybe that's where we get the term, "Oh, brother!" No fire, only smoke so he tells us, and not much damage done except a few streaks of blackened singed wood. Within a few years the rotting wood of the porch would have to come down and the house would take on a new look with new paint and a more updated porch for the later 60's . With Grandpa's help since he was a good carpenter and welder we were able to do the work ourselves and over the summer our historic home was transformed.

It is sad to think of getting rid of the original features of the house. Mom and Dad were the third owners of a house built at the turn of the century, but that's what was necessary then. After all, it takes a lot of groceries to feed 5 hungry kids. Mom had gone back to work, Dad was working two jobs and Grandma couldn't watch us in her home anymore so she came to our house most days in the summer. The resources were tight and this place was always a hub of activity as Grandma would remind us we can't afford to feed the entire neighborhood as we were taking a tray out of the kitchen with food for a picnic under the plum tree. The porch took on a new meaning as it took on a new look and we branched out into the neighborhood beyond our own backyard.

We had no housekeepers. The house was originally built for a young couple and one servant of some kind, either housekeeper or cook. The back stairs through the kitchen was built for their use. The wooden flooring is less refined there and it leads to a small back bedroom that contains the built-in linen closets. Grandma worked tirelessly during the week watching us, feeding us, and doing laundry. But on the weekend, especially Saturday, the girls were to clean the inside and the boys did the yard work. Well, that worked most of the time. My sister, Deb, being the oldest was the most responsible, did most of the work. She turned on the radio, WOWO in Fort Wayne or WLS from Chicago, as loud as she could to hear the top 10 countdown or on special occasions the year's top 100, and work as quickly as she could through dusting and sweeping the den, living room, front room and grand staircase. Then she would move through the butler's pantry to the kitchen moving the radio with her. The kitchen took another hour by itself. I being the second child either followed her around taking instruction or was designated to clean all bedrooms and bath upstairs. So not fair, I thought! We all tried during the week to keep the downstairs presentable, but who cared about upstairs?! I dawdled mostly and changed linens. Thus, the older child became such a good worker to adult eyes. And she is! Even to this day she can run circles around me, takes charge of family issues, helps our aging parents as well of caring for her own family. May God bless the oldest child for all the responsibility she/ they have been given.

This idea of taking care of family and home, doing your chores, getting to know and care for your neighbors made growing up in a small town a cherished and valuable experience. The house is just a building some may say, its the people that make the home and that is true, but the house was the frame that kept us together. We loved that house, our shelter from the storms, like it was a member of the family.

1 comment:

  1. Wow, that was an awesome post!! It sounds like it could be an introduction to a fantastic memoir!!! :-) I remember stories you would tell us about your childhood home and growing up in Garrett. I especially enjoyed taking one of our"girls trips" there and going to the drive in movie theater!!!


Share with me your thoughts! They make me smile.