Having a new grandchild in the family has made me remember my own childhood. (have I told you yet that I have a new granddaughter? 🙂 )
The oddest memories surface. My mother chasing us into the hallway because the popcorn was burning, and there was smoke everywhere. Moving house to one miles away (only a few blocks, actually, but to a 3 year old pushing her doll buggy, it seemed miles away!) My little sister being born, after I’d been the baby of the family for 6 years. (I didn’t take her arrival very well)
I’ve been looking through old photos today, which prompts even more memories. Take the photo shown here, of my sister and me. On the back, my mother has written our ages (me, 4½ and my sister, 6). She has also written the words “Strut Miss Lizzie” on the back. I have vague memories of what this means – going to some friends of theirs, whose wife taught us to sing and dance to the song. The exact details of why we did this escape me, but I’m sure my older siblings remember, so maybe one day they can enlighten me!
You’ll note from the photo that my sister and I are wearing Christmas outfits. I remember those well, little pinafores made from felt, with felt Christmas trees on them. My mother made them for us, can you believe that? (the same year she made red felt decorations for the tree skirt and the mantlepiece – do you sense a felt theme here?) I loved those pinafores.
How did my mother do it? She had 5 children, and she still found the time to make clothes for us, to make bread and to make cookies twice a week.
Some of it was down to simple economics, of course, but the extra work for her must have been almost too much at times. Add to her cleaning and sewing the mound of ironing (no ‘easy iron’ in those days), shopping, washing and cooking for a family of 7, and some days that smart, university-educated woman must have thought she’d taken a wrong turn in life.
Yet you’d rarely hear her complain. As we grew older, she developed her own interests, which included running for the school board and volunteer work. I’ve always admired her (well, since I was grown up myself, anyway), and if I can be in any way like her, that would make me proud.