1940’s to Now
Several years ago I was given a little book from my grandson, Michael and my great grand daughter Cecile, that is entitled”Grandma Tell Me Your Memories.” Through the years I have filled out pages that have different questions on them and the month and day. One of the questions is “If you could return to your childhood what would you do differently?” I wrote “ Be happier and not worry so much about what other people thought. Spend more time with my Mom and Dad, playing more with my Sisters and Brothers. Learn more from Mom. Ask questions about their past and how Mom and Dad met.”
Well, how they met will always be a mystery, and I did learn a lot from my Mom and I did spend a lot of time asking my Dad questions. “Dad why is my hair white and your hair is wavy brown and Moms is black?” He replied “I found you out behind the wood shed.” From then on, I worried that I was adopted until I saw a picture of my Grandma Cogswell when I was age 12 – I looked just like her!
I am the oldest in the John McClure family and I loved to”take care”of my two sisters, Ginger and Elaine, as instructed by my Mom. I learned to run from my brother John, who loved to tease me although he was a year younger than me. I loved to rock my little brother Jim and my little sister Elaine to sleep in the wooden rocking chair or to swing them in the old rope swing. Those are memories I cherish.
However I also learned from my mom “the what if’s.”
Comb your hair and wash your hands, what if we have company? Stay clean, don’t splash through mud puddles, put your shoes on before you answer the knock at the door. Those were what if’s that are still linger with me. Always be pleasant – say Please and Thank You. Smile and be friendly to everyone. Change your underwear everyday. Don’t pick you nose! And she always said us as we went out the door -”YOU BE NICE!” If you ask Susan, she says I say that!
When I reached my teens and was shown how to wear makeup by Mrs Burke in Home Ec.. My Mom would not allow me to wear lipstick around the house-what if Grandma and Grandpa or you Dad saw you? So when I got on the bus in the morning the first thing I did was put lipstick on – but I had to be sixteen to do this. The contrast today with the youngest of girls wearing makeup, and clothes that my family would not think was “proper” boggles my mind.
The question on the next page of this little book, “Is there anything you would do differently as a teenager. I wrote “ Not worry so much!” Oh my goodness the list is long-I spent hours combing my hair after I spent hours every night curling my straight as string hair with bobby pins. I spent hours ironing my clothes, making sure everything I was going to wear matched. I shined my shoes, black and white “saddle oxfords” (we had one pair for school and a dress pair for church) and making sure I looked just right before I climbed on the school bus in my teen years. I never passed a mirror without looking to see if everything was perfect-and if it wasn’t I worried about that!!
I also spent most of my young life worrying about pleasing Mom and Dad. Or my Mom admonishments, “You kids just wait until your Dad comes in from the field!’ We had to line up on the old couch in the corner of the kitchen and wait for Dad to come in-wait for Mom to tell him how bad we had been-and then wait for my Dad to make up his mind what he was going to say or do-so HE could please my Mom. We usually ended up filing out to the barn, setting on a hay bale, while Dad pulled up the milk stool and told his stories. Then he would say stand up Ann -he would whip off his belt-smack the center post of the barn three times-tell me to sit down-tell my brother “Butch or Sonny as we called him” stand up, and he smacked the center post three times and tell us to make a lot of noise. By the time he got to my little sister Ginger, he just picked her up as she was already sobbing, told us to act like we had been spanked with his belt. We filed back into the house, Dad carrying Ginger, trying to act like we were sad and had a sore bottom. It sure was hard not to smile! Mom didn’t do this very often, but when she did we did not worry too much of the consequences dealt out by my Dad.
And what did you worry about-and what do you worry about now? I am not telling what I worry about now!
My wish is – Keep Our America Safe! Protect those who are suffering and Thank You God for another day!!