Sunday, January 07, 2007

Thinking back

I didn't photoshop this picture, because it just didn't seem right. It's my mom and her brother Jake when they were little in the 1920's. They were always very close, because they were the first two of five children to be born to the family on the farm. Mom and uncle Jake were very much alike, they both went through the dirty 30's before the other children were born. They remembered the shortage of food, water and lack of education that followed. And they remembered the grasshoppers that killed all the crops for many a summer. Grandpa could not make a living on the farm anymore, and started a garage in their community. They lived on assistance from their parents and whatever was at hand. But, even the small town was not able to accomodate all those in need, that were devistated by the drought. Mom, by this time was 13, and was sent out to work for richer farmers as a nanny and live in help, and had to bring all her earning home to help the family. In those days there were a lot of immigrants who had moved to Canada, and lot of them that settled in our area were Jewish. These were the people she worked for. She had to learn how to keep Kosher, she had to learn how to do things in the Jewish tradition. She always said it was very interesting, but a very hard experience because the ways were so different. One thing she always said, was they couldn't talk amongst themselves about her, because yiddish is very close to low german and she could understand what they were saying. But, being away from family all week and only having Sundays off to see them was hard. In between all this Grandma had 3 more children. When times got better and the economy came back, Grandma and Grandpa moved away to the city. Grandpa had got a job at a aircraft factory before the war. Mom stayed back. She had met Dad, and they married in 1938.

I am reminded of this now because of the Christmas season. She used to tell us of their Christmas mornings. Sometimes there was nothing. Grandma would try to find a chicken for supper, and bake bubbat for a treat if she had enough flour and raisins. Sometimes there was a small box for each of them with an orange in it and some hard candy and peanuts. They loved it. It was so exciting to get that small gift. Later on they would go to their grandparents house, and get another orange and some peanuts. She even remembered when things started to pick up in the ecomomy, when her mom got her a pair a nylons for Christmas. You know the one's with the sexy seam in the back. She said she had to be so careful not to put a "run" in them and treated them like gold. She washed them with so much care, and tried not to snag them. And if they got a run she would put some glue on it so it wouldn't get any further, and tried to hide it.

These memories make me feel so inadequate, so greedy, so yuck. I had the best of times, no shortage of food, education ...everything...and I totally bitch about every fucking thing. And now, I thew out some cookies that my mom would have died for. What does that say about us. Or me? I think I need a wake up call, to be more grateful for what I have, instead of whining inside my big overblown head.

That is my New Year's resolution.


Brenda said...

Things were so hard back then. My momma chopped and picked cotton and had to walk over a mile in all sorts of weather to catch a ride to work. We had very little growing up, yet we had so much more than she and her brothers and sisters had.

Leslie said...

That lesson really hit home with me, too, when I'd sit and talk with the seniors at the Raisin Ranch. It was then and there that I vowed to be thankful for every little blessing that came my way and I think it really has made a difference.

To walk a mile in those shoes...

Joan said...

Brenda and Leslie, I sometimes forget to count my blessings and I have so much to be grateful for.

Special K said...

That's a very sensible resolution, Balonie, and one I think everyone on this continent should make. Even the homeless in our society are better off than most people on this planet.

So quit yer bitchin'! (That goes for me, too.)