Thursday, August 09, 2007

Old pictures

Because it's family reunion time, I've been looking at old pictures my mom left behind when she passed on. Mother didn't always take the best care of old photos, but she had an abundance of them.

This is my dad's mom with all her children. Daddy, the oldest child, is on the left. Next to him stands my Aunt Gladys. I never knew this grandmother because she died giving birth to another baby that died with her, before my mom and dad met. Since Aunt Gladys was the only girl, the housekeeping fell to her in that motherless household, and she was still "chief cook and bottle-washer" when Mother and Daddy first married. These people were dirt-poor; Mother told about the time she saw Aunt Gladys remove a drowned mouse from the crock of milk sitting on the cupboard one morning, and then make gravy from the milk. When Daddy's first wife died and left him with two children, my sister's care fell to Aunt Gladys until Daddy and Mother married. So this lady had her hands full at a young age.

This is how Aunt Gladys looked last Sunday at the reunion. She's pretty much blind, and almost deaf. I believe she's 91 years old.

One of Daddy's aunts took in my brother Gerald as a newborn when his mother died giving birth to him, and refused to turn him over to my parents for several years.

Times were hard back then. My parents married in 1932 in the throes of the Great Depression, but Mother said they were so poor to begin with that they really didn't see any big difference. They supported themselves by working as hired hands for first one farmer and then another in north Missouri and southern Iowa.

I have lots of Mother's keepsakes around. Daddy's old cornhusking glove is among them. This thing was used to remove the husks (leaves) from the ear of corn, out in the field.

That sharp hook tore through the husk. You'll find an interesting article HERE explaining how difficult cornhusking was.

People sure did have it rough back then.


Midlife Mom said...

Wonderful pictures. I don't think we can even imagine how poor folks were back then, I know MY kids and grandkids couldn't! Nice picture of your aunt Gladys, she sure had her hands full and her britches to hold up didn't she? I haven't heard the term chief cook and bottle washer for a long time, that's what reminded me of the 'britches' term. I love the old terms, takes me right back home!

Anonymous said...

What a wonderful post, Donna. How did they get so many pictures? My grandmother also grew up poor (her parents immigrated here from Poland at the turn of the century). And Gram did have some photos from when she was young, but very, very few. I wish there were more. :(

My favorite one is of Gram, maybe 14 years old, standing on a barrel's side IN PANTS :O, with one leg out and hands out at her side, acting like a clown. LOVE that photo!

The little guy standing in front in your grandmother's photo looks like Jackie from The Little Rascals. And God bless Aunt Gladys. She sounds like yet another incredible lady with incredible strength and determination from those days.