Thursday, May 8, 2014

Mothers day means something different for each of us

I was raised by my grandmother, Minne Frank. I called her Mimi. Both my mom and dad were in the house but worked.
My dad put in seven day work weeks with plenty of overtime. My mother worked a normal 40-hour week for a CPA firm.
Getting me up for school, seeing that I ate breakfast, packing me a lunch and getting out the door on time were some of the things Mimi did for me.
She also sewed my clothes, washed and ironed, and prepared meals for the family. This was just after the depression so most homes were very frugal in their consumption.
At our house, Sunday dinners leftovers would be found either re-heated on Monday or made into soup or hash on Tuesday.
Any package that came by mail was wrapped in string. The string was carefully removed and wrapped into a ball of other string from the grocery store or butchers stop.
Wrapping paper was carefully folded and put away to be re-used sometime in the future. When it came to the kitchen, nothing was tossed in the garbage.
Bones went into a pot to be cooked with sauerkraut or made into vegetable soup. Baking cookies or pies was closely monitored for left overs. Any extra dough was rolled flat, sprinkled with sugar and baked right along with everything else.
Nuts, especially walnuts, were valuable. We would drive out into the country looking for walnut trees.
Those that had fallen on the ground were gathered into bushel baskets, brought home then shucked to get the green outer cover off. When working with walnuts, your hands were always green or brown from the stain in the husks.
The walnuts were stored in the basement. My grandmother had found a rock with an indentation in it that would fit a walnut. At night, she would hit the nut with a hammer until it broke.
The broken pieces were put into containers to eventually be brought upstairs to the kitchen table where the nut meats were hand picked out of the hard shells.
This was painstaking, boring work, hard on the eyes. Hour by hour, Mimi would sit and pick walnuts.
As I get older, I realize how much she did for me and all that she tried to teach me. This mothers day, Mimi will be in my thoughts as she is more and more these days.

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