Monday, March 31, 2008


My mother who would sort her canned goods - wash them; line them up in the basement - noting the colors, so they were 'beautiful' when one came down to pick out a canned jar of:

Tomatoes (red)

Peaches (peach-colored)

Pears - pale white

Green Beans - (green)

Corn - a lovely yellow

The stored vegetables were some type of artistic display as well as a collection of good foods for the winter.

How do I love the way my mother stuffed the toes of the shoes so she and I could BOTH wear them - we were so poor, but her feet were bigger........

How do I love the yellow dress my mother wore at her wedding, and years later, made into an 8th grade graduation dress for me....

How do I love the way my mother pulled 3 old coats together; stripped off the better parts to make 'trim' for the worn parts, so I could stay warm.

How do I love the days and nights?

My mother and dad would tie a chain to an old tree or Lilac bush to uproot it so we could cut it up for wood to fuel the fire to keep us warm.

How do I love the way my parents would stack the baled straw against the house that was so drafty to shield us from the cold winter weather.

How do I love the old rags that were shoved against the doors and windows - keeping the drafts out.

How do I love the way dad made the popped corn for a treat.

How do I love the way mom froze Kool-aid in ice-cube trays (complete with tooth-picks) to give us a treat that wasn't expensive (and our favorite flavor was Grape).

How do I love the old detergent boxes that were cut open; the 'plain side' made into Valentine hearts for our gifts - we each got

A pack of gum

A bar of chocolate...pasted to the heart forms with home-made paste made with flour and water..........

Why do I admire the long nights of mother and dad stacking the wood gleaned from the fence-rows...cut by dad; stacked and stored by mom.....

The soil tested by dad; vials of colors for us all to give our opinions as to the color and how much



Potash that should be spread on the new crops to increase the yield.

Why do I remember being the holder of the flash-light,

so dad could see to fix the car...The single light-bulb that was placed under the hood of the it would start in the morning.

The flower garden flourished because mom made it happen.................The crops grew because dad tilled and fertilized the soil. We picked the edge-rows of the field for pop-corn

From Mr. Nidy's plantings.

We scoured the dump for 'treasures'.

In the Spring, we gathered the wild violets to replant around the well-pit and house. We stacked the pumpkins around the power-pole so it would look pretty for Halloween.

We learned how to take a Willow twig; sprout it in water,

And stake it to make a sturdy tree.

We divided the strawberry plants to make new babies;

We saved seeds from the harvest

To make a bigger one the next year......

We watched dad turn a salvaged furnace into a

Working fire-house

That kept us warm.

We saw my father make a 'water-heater' from bits of steel and ingenuity.

My mother has never gone to a hair-dresser; my dad never played golf.

My mother doesn't know what an LBO is....

My father wouldn't have cared.

My mother washes her car by herself; my dad polished the ones he adored.

My mother will shop at Good-will; she'll give it as well.

My dad would save old inner-tubes; a myriad of 'things' he'd make from these rubber scraps.

My dad would laugh at Red Skelton while my mother would be so tired, and fall asleep.........

My mother tried to learn more words; thanks to READERS' father would gather financial information from US NEWS & WORLD REPORT.

My parents played softball; bowled, and enjoyed a 35 cent movie.

My mother sang; my father played trumpet - both could dance beautifully.

My dad painted all of the toy furniture he made for us the same green he painted his tractor....

My mother wrote the letters from Santa Claus

My dad made tiny blocks with his wood lathe - then he built a fort from those tiny blocks - glued them all together, and made us cry when we couldn't build anything else

From the blocks he made for "US".

But, not to 'fear'....Mother soaked all the blocks so the glue would 'yield', and we had

Blocks to build with again....

And these blocks

That we built with

Didn't build the

House that Jack Built, but what lived in the house

That my parent's built

Were young kids; pretty poor - pretty scared,

Yet pretty inspired

By the parents who lived in the house;

Who made do with what they had

Who showed us the way

Without "showing us the way'...

Because they took life in stride, and never said "Shit Happens" - they just said:"Life happens"...

We learned to deal with it

As mom and dad did

For so very many years.

Thank you mom - poor turned out to be the best child-hood we could have had.

With love to my mom and dad.