Saturday, January 06, 2007

Another Special Day in My Life

On this date in 1915, Claud and Mary welcomed a new baby daughter into their family and named her Helen Marie. She had one older sister and one sister that had died, and she later had another sister and two brothers. Baby Helen was my mom and this would have been her 92nd birthday.

Helen was most likely a very good little girl. Here is one of the few photos in existence of her as a child. She's holding her oldest brother....

I'm sure she helped around the house and I know she did lots of baking when she was a kid. I've heard her tell about making Lord or Lady Baltimore cake (I don't remember which it was!) and she liked telling about making peanut butter soup when she was in home ec. class at school! Even though I love peanut butter, that never sounded too appetizing to me! I don't think she liked it either.

I still have one of my mom's books from junior high school.... it's a bit torn and battered!



On the inside it has her name written in pencil with 9B, Room 110, Roosevelt J.H.S. The copyright on this book is 1928 and it's so much fun to read through it and see how things were done in those days. Some of it is just plain laughable.
My mom had to leave school shortly after 9th grade because the family needed her to help out during The Depression. She worked for a Jewish family, taking care of their children and helping with the house. She remembered them fondly and often spoke about the delicious food they served.

My mom's mother was a very religious person and very strict with her children. My mom rebelled against all that and married someone at an early age. Here is a photo of her when she is 18 years old....probably about the time of the marriage....


My mom is the one on the left side of the photo and I believe the man in the middle is a relative of the man she married. She kept the marriage a secret from her family....and even from me in later years!

At some point, I'm not sure of the time frame, Mom went to live with relatives in Kansas. While working in a diner she met my dad. They fell in love and she came back to her hometown to 'fess up about the secret marriage and to get a divorce! I have stacks of letters written by my dad to my mom during the time she was doing all this.

Here is a postcard from the diner where she worked....



Notice how it mentions that it's air conditioned!! In those days that would have been quite modern!

My parents were married in 1935 and lived in Kansas, then they moved to Chattanooga, TN for a time and then back to my mom's hometown, Decatur, IL. I was born in 1943 just a couple of months after my dad went into the navy. Here is a photo of the happy family....



My mom was a stay-at-home mom. Her house was always immaculate, dinner was always on the table at the same time each evening, the clothes were always washed on Monday and ironed on Tuesday and she could cook better than most anyone I knew. She was devastated when her marriage with my dad fell apart and I don't think she ever recovered from the hurt. I was in my early teens when it all fell apart. My dad was having an affair with another woman.

She died in 1978. She had lupus. It took me years before I quit thinking about calling her each time something happened during my day that I would have shared with her. She was not a particularly showy person and she definitely didn't like public shows of affection....she wasn't a touchy-feely person but she loved me completely and most likely too much! I was her one and only child and she doted on me. She protected me from everything and totally took care of me. I never had to do anything as a kid except just be a kid....no chores ever! Looking back now I realize she wanted my life to be different than hers had been but in the process she never taught me how to do anything....and I had to learn it all as an adult. Tough to do.

Here are a couple of photos that I especially like. The first one is my mom and her oldest sister. Mom is on the left....



And this one was taken when my kids were small....sorry about the quality of this last one....it's a Polaroid and beginning to get splotchy.


Happy Birthday, Mom!!!!