Growing up in a small town in Southern New Jersey

Saturday, July 25, 2009

Sisters and parents

My mom always had an adoring look in her eyes whenever she was holding a child or a baby. The top picture is outside our back porch before it was enclosed. The year, 1946. Deb is probably 3 or 4 months old. I am a whopping 3 years old. The next picture is of my sister and me. She's the one sitting in the rocker. I assume because she is still very wobbly on her feet at this point. This picture is before mom had done her landscaping on that side of the house. The other side of the house is where she had started with her rose bushes and her iris. This side got prettied up when I was around 10 or 11 and and I helped her plant bushes and wildflower seeds. I loved working with my mom in her garden for about 5 minutes then I wanted to go off and do other things, tomboy things like climbing a tree or riding a bike with no hands. The bottom picture is dad with Deb. That's how he always held her, sort of away from him. Was he just afraid she was going to grab his glasses or afraid he was going to be his suit soiled. Probably both. But Deb is the one that grew up to be his caretaker and showed him so much more affection than I did. She was the helper to him when he became feeble and infirm. Thanks, Deb, for doing what I didn't do.

My mom wasn't supposed to have children, or at least that's what she was told by her doctor. I don't know what the problem was, ostensibly, but she wasn't to have children.

My mom LOVED children. She should have been a teacher. She surrounded herself with nieces and nephews and Sunday school children. My mom and dad were married 7 years before she had me -- I was her first -- or their first. And I guess she thought that was it because she didn't get pregnant again for over two years. Then she had my sister, Deb.

Whatever happened with the birth of Deb must have opened something up in her, because in the next 36 months she had two more children. The last one, being my brother Carl. She was told no more children after Carl. I don't know why, but I think it was because she was getting old and there was a uterine issue (bleeding). Thinking back it was probably the latter because I recall her being anemic and bleeding from her nose and mouth very easily, so easily that she had trouble staunching the flow of blood once it started. Too much detail? I don't think so. But if I were living back in 1946, this subject would never be discussed. In fact, back then you couldn't use the word "pregnant." A woman was "in the family way" or "with child" or some other delicate expression. Pregnant just shouted something a woman didn't want to flaunt.

Although I think my mom probably wanted to flaunt every PREGNANCY she had. She was so happy. And I've posted a few pictures here, one in which you can see how happy she is with my sister. She loved her children. The one with daddy is the way I remember him holding Deb. Apparently Deb had a bowel problem, like she was allergic to milk or something. I had one child with that problem and we had pampers, so it wasn't too bad, but imagine diapers and rubber (not elastic plastic) pants. These rubber things were wide in the legs and wide in the waist, so there was minimal protection to the holder of the baby or to the sheets in the crib.
As I go through all my pictures again, more and more I am reminded how blessed I was to have a sister, even though we were at odds most of the time, and who now, I wish lived next door so I could see her and talk to her and run errands, etc., with her every day. I was also blessed to have two brothers, neither of whom I see very often. I just live so far away from them -- all of them.
And I was also blessed to have a mother and father who were obviously in love with one another, and who transfer their love for each other to each of their children. Mom especially.
Mom had a tolerance for ill behavior. Daddy didn't. So Mom was the go between when we did bad things. Our spankings would have been so much worse, I am guessing, had it not been for mom saying, "Carl, that's enough" through tears because her beloved children were being punish. She knew they had to be punished, but it was difficult for her to do that job.
I miss them both so much, and as I age, I often -- and I mean often -- pick up the phone, dial the old house number and then realize there is no phone connection to heaven and I can't talk with them any more. Bummer.
I hope you enjoy the pictures.

1 comment:

Rose said...

Thanks for posting those. I bet Mama wishes she lived next door to you, too. I know I wish often that we weren't spread out all over the country. It'd be so much easier to help Phil and Amy if they were closer, or to go to one of your scrapbooking classes or just drop by with your drycleaning. To hear Uncle Mark laugh again. Heaven's looking dearer every day.
I love you. So very much.