Tuesday, August 22, 2006


Memories of Mother and dad

Was telling about my Dad called Jack to a friend and it got me really thinking of my Dad and Mom.
My Dads real first name was Frederick and most called him either Fred- by all those he repaired cars for- (a mechinist at work and a mechanic in evenings at home and a worker for everything else that needed repairing at home) or at the first mill he worked for they clled him farmer as they knew he had a cow, pig, chickens and was quick to plow the field next to our home for Mothers huge garden.
I was in grade school when they called him Farmer. By the time I was in the middle grades he was working as a fine mechinist at another mill with much better wages. He stayed at this job until he retired. He didn`t retire as early as he could have. he worked an extra year. He told my Mother he was working the extra year to make an even number of years working at the mill.. But he told me he was really working the extra year so that my mother would be able to start drawing full social security the exact same year he retired and neither of them would have any reductions as they wouldn`t be retiring early like many of his friends did. In fact Dad had one more full year extra to his credit.You see, Mother was just 1 year 4 months younger than Dad was. he was born in Jan. 1903 and mother was born in May of 1904.
But to get back to Dad`s names--all his own Family called him Jack. I never thought to ask anyone where they got the Jack from. I did hear a rumor once that my Dad was always doing something, he wasn`t one to just sit around. I heard he was like a jack-in-the box, always jumping up to do something. So, maybe that is where the name jack origionally came from. So, he was known as Jack by family and close friends and he was a jack of all trades and master in his machinest mill job ( according to his Boss and others at work) and master mechanic at home in his evenings and spare time ( people just kept bragging after he fixed their vehicle and word of mouth kept him loaded with more and more to repair. He never had to advertise to be loaded with repairs to fix for someone. ). I can`t remember a time when my Father wasn`t working on someones car or truck. Even as a small child I can remember running out to the garage just to see what my Dad was working on then. As busy as he was, he never once told any of us kids ( 7 of us) to go play, or that he was too busy to be bothered by us. he always talked with us, even though he never stopped working on what he was doing unless we needed him to look at something. I can remember many times when he would be on his wheeled platform under a vehicle when one of us would ask him to see something. he would quickly slide out on his back on that flat wood platform with the wheels under it. I never thought of it at the time, but he must have kept those wheel axels very clean for them to roll out that fast. He even repaired a neighbors truck the day before he died at almost 73 yrs of age. But he always said he was jack of all trades, but master of none of them. Thought you might get a kick out of this - a Fred called jack!
Now my Mom was one who thought she couldn`t do anything well. I never did understand why she felt that way, but she did come from a large family. I know my Dad was always telling her how wonderful and intelligent she was, so she should have believed him, as he meant every word of it. Shw was his world.
My Mom used to have a choc cake recipe and noone was ever able to make it taste just like hers. Then one time I noticed her silver colored measuring cup had no markings on it-- so after we lost our Mom I asked my bro for that cup. As it turns out that cup is just a tiny bit over a measuring cup size and that turned out to be the difference. Funny how that tiny bit of difference made so much difference in the taste. I don`t think the rest of the family ever did figure it out. Everyone loved her baked rice, but noone could do it like hers. Finally one day I asked Mother to let me know the next time she was making it so I could watch her. Well she did even better. One day she phoned me to see if I was free to come down home. When I got there she had everything sitting on the table waiting for me. Well, I thought i was just going to watch her, but no way. She had me do the work myself using her directions. I can honestly say it tasted like my mothers rice. My oldest bro and his wife were up from N. Jersey that day in time to eat with us. My bro never forgot that I had learned how to make mothers rice, so after we lost our Mom, he asked me to continue to make Mothers rice for our large families yearly reunion. I have now been making that rice for the past 10 years.
Now to get back to my Dad--When we lost our Dad 30 years ago, I told my Mom there was just one thing I would like of my Dads- an old pocket watch that belonged to his dad. my Mother couldn`t see what I would want that old watch for as it didn`t work. But I had great memories of all the times my Dad told me the story. It seemed that watch was all his Dad ever received from the railroad when he retired after over 40+ years of working there. It bothered my Dad that the railroad never had it engraved and it wasn`t a watch with a train or anything etched on it-- just a plain pocket watch, but it did have the covers to close it up. Every time he told me that story my Mother would always say that the pocket watch she bought him was nicer and much more expensive. I can still hear my Dad saying "I know that Ann, I was just telling Dot that it was all my father had to show for all his years of loyalty". I can`t even guess how many times my Dad told me that story over the years. Think I was the only one he felt was interested enough to talk about it to. I was real close with my Dad, he always knew how to make me feel real special. But then he did that with all us kids. think there was just one who felt closer to Mother than to Dad, not that Mother didn`t love us all, but she did have her favorites when we were growing up - her first son and first daughter and whoever was the baby at the time. A few years before she died her favorites changed some. But thats another story.
To get back to the watch-
When I told her I would like the watch, I also told her all I wanted of hers was the old tall green candy dish with square standard bottom and the pointed top cover and the pretty pattern all over it. We grew up with that pretty candy dish. tTimes were hard in the 30`s and early 40`s and we were told to only take one piece at a time so there would be enough to go around till my Dad`s next payday. Mother went to the cupboard , got that prettygreen candy dish and gave it to me-saying take it now, I never use it anymore. So, when everyone else started arguing about what they wanted after we lost mother ( 10 years ago ) I just left. I already had all I wanted. But there was one thing that did stir up lots of trouble later. Before she died, my mother gave me the very large baby picture of my Dad sitting in his highchair because as she said, I was the only one who cared enough to clean it for her. It was a hand painted picture measuring 21 inches tall x 18 inches wide, sitting in a gold painted fancy frame with fancy cutout designs all over it. Frame measures 30 inches tall x 25 inches wide. So you need a large area to portray it well. I am not sure what that hand made frame was made out of, only that it is quite heavy and beautiful. I refused to take it right then, and told her thankyou for giving it to me, but I probably won`t get it, but I thank you anyways. My parents had that picture on their wall ever since Dads parents died, long before I was born. She again told me to take it now, but it had hung on my mothers bedroom wall every since we lost Dad, so I knew how much it meant to her to see it there. So she then told me to take it the minute she passed away. Of course I couldn`t do that. Then a bro who lived in the home place refused to give it to me, but one time a friend of his was there helping him after he had an operation and she was discusted with him for not giving it to me when he knew our mother had given it to me. One day she just took it off my mothers wall, told my bro to get her an old sheet or something to wrap it in, put it into a large box her electric fan had come in and put it into my car and thats how I got it. Even though my bro was there when Mom gave it to me, he raised the biggest stink and never told the rest of the family that Mom really did give it to me. I remember the day Mother told me it was mine, that same bro followed me to the car saying she had no right to give it to me as he had repainted the frame. My mother heard him thru the open window and yelled out " Yes, and I told you not to, but you did it anyways". It was an antique frame and according to my Mom it hung on my grandparents wall from the time my Dad was little until the day the last grandparent died. and on my parents wall every since then. She said it never needed painting in all those years and it didn`t need it now. Of course his using the newer gold paint ruined the value of the antique homemade frame. I much preferred the -a bit duller- gold color that it origionally had.
Isn`t it funny some of the things you never forget? I have so many more wonderful memories about the 20 years living with my parents and their years after I married and moved out, but they will need to wait for another day.

That is why it is said that memories are for ever.
I loved reading about these memories MS. Dot. They are so special to you and it was nice that you shared them, if you ever share any more and I do not make it back here, please make certain I know about it so I can come read becuse this is my favorite part of reading. I don't get to over here as much as I would like and I will try to do better. If you write a story like this and I miss getting here tell Walker to send me by, please.

You have such a beautiful way of sharing your history.
Yes Jac. Our life just wouldn`t be the same without our many wonderful memories to brighten up our lives. While we can`t live in the past, the past has a lot to do with molding our future.
Ms vickie, thanks so much. It`s nice sharing with those who understand how important memories are to us. I was so lucky to have such great parents and such a close family.Even when there is dissagreements, we still know we can count on each other in any emergency that arises.
Thanks for dropping by.
Yes Dot, it's so lovely to be able to share in someone else's memories. i'm sure you're shcildren must love to listen. I love to hear some of my mother's memories.
Hi Hillgrandmom, My only regret is that I never thought to ask my Mother and Father more about their growing up days. When I lost my husband in July 2002, I started keeping a Biography about my life and as much as I knew about my husbands life. Then after starting my blog I decided to print off all the posts and keep them for my kids, grandkids and great grandkids to read after I am gone. That way they will never have to wish they had asked questions as they will be able to read what I have written so far. I know very little about my parents childhood. I wish I knew lots more.
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