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Saturday, May 9, 2015

Olden Days





Lucky me.  

My parents grew up in the early 1900s.  (I was a late-in-life baby).  As a result, I know many of the "old ways" passed down from Mom to me...canning, cooking, slaughtering chickens, sewing, driving a stick shift....etc.  

One of the adjectives I'd assign to Mom would be Self-Reliant.  She was also kind, patient, fun-loving, and flexible....but her self-reliance was something many folks wouldn't see readily.

My step-mom, whom I refer to as Mom, raised me after my mother died in a car accident when I was 5.  So, many of my photos are of her family.  Here are some of them.  

This is Mom's mom taken on their family farm back in 1910.  Back then, the chickens and ducks ranged free around the house and roosted in the trees at night.  They were farmers, and had just a few livestock for their own use.  The land was used to raise hay and grains for the local communities, and their front yard was used to plant vegetables and flowers.  Mom's mom inherited the land from her father.  He came the Central Ohio in the mid 1800s and bought several acres of the rolling terrain which was well-suited to farming.  Before he died, he divided his land between his two daughters, and moved in with Mom's family to spend his remaining years. 

Mom had 3 siblings, Nellie (above, on the right), Charles (the tall boy in back), and H. C (Harold Charles).  Mom is on the left.  

Here are the three older children (H.C. wasn't born yet).  Mom is the baby, and this is the only picture of her in the early years with a bit of a smile.  All the rest show her as a grumpy-gus -- not like Mom at all.  The oldest is Nellie.  She lived to be over 100 years old -- living independently well into the late 1990s.  Nellie was charged with watching over the younger children, and according to Mom, this is why she's so grumpy in all the rest of the pictures - haha.  Nellie did have a tendency to make suggestions to Mom, which always irritated her.  Mom always called her "bossy", but she really wasn't from what I saw....the bossiness must have happened long before I entered the scene, and Mom was still sensitive to it decades later.  But they loved each other dearly, and Nellie was always a great friend to Mom.
Mom (right) and two cousins

Nellie and H.C.

Nellie going Finishing School
Mom's older brother Charles with his friends
Nellie was sent to finishing school (something like high school) when she graduated from their one-room school.  But, by the time Mom got old enough to leave for finishing school, times had gotten tough, and she had to stay on the farm to help.  Her older brother, Charles, had died from falling from a tree goofing off, and her grandfather had died from a farming accident.  Mom always resented not being able to go to finishing school, and I think this really affected hers and Nellie's relationship for years later.
Article by Nellie re Newspaper boys being honored
Mom, smiling again
 The farm had become too overwhelming for many families during the War (WW1), and her family sold the farm and moved into town (the county seat).  Mom's father got a job as the grounds keep for the fairgrounds, and Mom got a job, too, at what is now know as AT&T.  Nellie worked at the newspaper, and got married to a barber, Ross.  They started their new life, then Mom's dad was shot one night while making his rounds in the fairgrounds.  He came across a group of rough and drunken men conducting an illegal poker game, and was found dead in the cattle barn the next day.    Her mom had a stroke subsequently, and Mom took care of her during the days, working the night shift. She lived with her mom for many years until her mom died.  

Mom went on, buying a house with money she saved while working.  She bought a car, and carved out a nice life for herself in an era where women were 2nd class people.  She had a long-term boyfriend while she lived at home, but they never married.  They would go to the dance halls to listen to the famous Swing Bands of the day, and had lots of friends and fun times.  But, he died of a sudden heart attack before he was 40.  She didn't marry until she met Dad at age 51.  This is when she became my mother, and it was one of the best things that ever happened to me.  

So, as I said, I've been lucky.  And truly Blessed.  Happy Mothers' Day, Mom.

Dad, Mom, Me, and Nellie (the baby is one of Mom's nephews)







6 comments:

  1. your mom went through a lot, for sure.

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  2. I think you are one of the best things that happened to her, too, Karen. I have fond memories of your mom. This is a wonderful post, full of goodness. Sad moments too, but full of goodness just the same. Hugs!! (And happy Mother's Day to you!)

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    1. Aww, you're so sweet. I treasure all the time I had with Mom. She was a gift from God.

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  3. Life sure was tough back then - but so were the people. Your mom sounds like a wonderful woman, and very much a blessing!

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  4. Life was hard, and your Mom certainly had more than a fair share of troubles. I always shake my head when I hear people refer to those times as the good times. They obviously don't know their history very well. Good times in terms of families love, but certainly hard and most people struggled. Young people today think they need big houses, new cars, Mommie's Day out, organized play dates and they constantly say they're stressed. They really are clueless. How awesome you have these wonderful family stories and pictures!

    Sandy's Space

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  5. Popping back in, needing opinions on a project I've just post, would love you to pop over and offer yours.

    Sandy's Space

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