Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Memories of my mother ... (part nine) ...

My earliest memory of living in a house goes back to Akron, Ohio, where Dad was working as a research chemist for either Goodyear or Goodrich - can't remember which one.

We were living there when Johnny was born. Mother was terribly weak for a long time after his birth - it was all she could do to take care of the new baby, and we had a live-in nanny who taught me how to knit German-style.

I can remember Mother often rolling my hair up in rags before I went to sleep. Old sheets were used for the rags. I can still hear the sound of the worn fabric being torn into strips. And actually they were pretty comfortable to sleep on! The next day I'd be this pretty little girl with ringlets. All little girls like to look pretty!

There's an old black and white photo of me around here someplace standing outside Grandma's cabin in Wisconsin brushing my teeth. Even though it's not in color, you can see the sun shining through the trees and lighting on my hair. I'm smiling as the picture was taken, and my head is kind of leaning forward so I don't drool toothpaste all over my clothes. Oh, the things you remember!

This was during World War II. Coffee was rationed. We re-used coffee grounds until they absolutely had to be thrown away! Sugar was rationed. Lots of things that we now blithely take for granted were rationed. We saved tin foil. Remember candy bars with the tin foil inside? We'd peel it from the paper and make foil balls. Everything went to the war effort! We were living in that house when Roosevelt died. I remember how sad everyone was. Schools were let out early that day, and we all stayed very close to the radio.

We moved to Munising, Michigan when I was in the 3rd grade. When we first got there, we lived in the Nebel Apartments. We were on the second floor of a pretty ugly stucco building. Anyone remember stucco? Mother was a little upset about our living situation, but there was nothing else available at the time that either Dad or she thought would be 'acceptable'. That didn't last long, however.

A new minister was coming to town to preach at the Presbyterian Church. He was a bachelor, and the manse became available for rent. I wrote in this post about a near disaster that occurred while we were living there.

One particularly fond memory I have of living in the manse is a birthday party. My birthday is in June, which is "iffy" weather-wise up there, but this year the weather was nice enough for one of Mother's patented (They weren't 'patented', but should have been!) outdoor games. She had two old suitcases crammed full with paper bags of clothes, shoes, jewelry, and whatnot. There were two teams. The first person from each team would make a mad dash to their respective suitcase, grab a paper bag that contained an "outfit", put it (along with all of its accessories) on, and then make a mad dash back to tag the next teammate in line who would then repeat the process until each team member had 'been there and back'. It was great fun!

We didn't have to move from the manse until after Reverend Steen got married and then, some months later, discovered that he and his wife were expecting twins! This was really good news. Everyone liked Reverend Steen and his wife, and were thrilled to learn of the soon-to-be doubling of his family, except -- it meant that we would have to find another place to live.


Tammy said...

So many thoughts going through my mind as I read your memory posts. I don't have a lot of happy memories as a child, and I keep that door safely shut, locked, and untouched most of the time. Every now and then, though, I read one of these memory posts of yours and a good memory comes to my mind. I should start blogging some of them. I have written 2 posts of my dad, which is funny because he is the one who I have very few memories of. I actually have more of my mom... Anyway, I wonder, do you find recalling these memories and committing them to paper healing, happy, therapeutic? I've had thoughts of that nature lately. Don't answer, it's personal. I'm just sort of thinking and rambling here. :) As always, I enjoy your posts.

Goldenrod said...

Good morning, Tammy!

Our minds are truly wondrous things, are they not? They keep hidden from our conscious being those things with which we cannot immediately deal. Doesn't mean they're not there. Just means our mind is protecting us for sometime - whenever - in the future that we ARE able to handle a particular memory.

Steven's post, which I linked yesterday, was not the first that he has written in re his father's death. However, it was the first I read of his where I felt he was coming more 'to grips' with the "flying away" of his father, as he puts it. I value Steven highly. (He is trying to figure out where his mind is, what his feelings are, what the world is all about, and allows us all the very rare privilege of a written glimpse into his journeys.) Guess I'd rather put this sort of statement in a comment rather than in a 'more public' post. Have you had a chance to read it? Hope so!

Since I published yesterday's, I have drafted three others, ALL of which take considerable time -- I'm sure you know how much time, thought, and sometimes even anguish goes into one of these. I even took a few notes on a future draft for a continuation on the series "Memories of my father".

You asked, "Do I find recalling these memories and committing them to paper healing, happy, therapeutic?"

Yes, your question was personal, but I would like to answer. Most of the time (particularly in re memories of my father), I do not even want to recall some of those memories, much less commit them to paper!

But, if and when I do, it is extremely therapeutic! I recommend for you, Tammy, that you take notes. I purchased a notebook last month, and am still trying to transcribe some of my thoughts and ideas for future posts!

Not all is rosy. Not all is dreadfully black, either.

One can only handle what one's mind allows one to handle.