Monday, May 4, 2009
~~ Blue Monday Memories of Yore ~~
I was reading a blog this morn ... re pioneer women. I had to get out the diary. The ornaments take me back to the 'olden days' (much like G'ma Maggie).
It is a dismal, dark, dreary day here ... has been raining for 4 days & 2 to go ... what a perfect time to pen memories. I don't feel like cleaning anymore, but will finish later on.
When G'ma Maggie came over from Blackwater, Ireland, ca. 1908, she wore her hair like these ladies on the ornaments, & wore those kinds of long dresses. She was an absolute beauty. In Ireland she was trained to be a sales lady at the convent, Loretta Abbey of Gorey. When she arrived in this country she worked briefly as a sales lady in Portland, OR, before moving on to WA ST. There she became a cook in a mill ... her cook table is on an early post, which I treasure. G'ma met G'pa Bob at the mill (4-12-1910 wedding pic above). G'ma always wore her hair slicked back into a tight bun, she wore little prim hats with dainty flowers on the top of the brim ... I can still hear her echoing clicking heels coming down the hall at St. Joseph's.
The photo of the family in the 1918 Chevie was many cousins w/G'ma at the rear outer window side. Her children sat beside her. G'pa Bob was driving the car. Isn't that car fantastic?
G'ma Maggie was a strong, hard working woman. She had beautiful flower & veggie gardens, free of weeds always ... too often we had to do the weeding & we didn't like it one bit.
We took our wash down to her house every Sat. piled high on the little wagon, all 5 kids hanging onto the sides, as Mother pulled the wagon 6 blocks ... spending the entire day washing & scrubbing the clothes on that old scrub board ... that was hard work ... then rinsing the clothes in the tub of clear water & hanging them out to dry. G'ma & Mother worked side by side, they were very close. She made her own lye soap, we stirred that horrible stuff.
We would have fresh made jam sandwiches topped with the 'scum' of the jam (that was the best part) on that heavenly fresh baked bread ... yum. I can literally smell the yeasty aroma floating throughout the house, still. Occasionally G'ma would let us 'punch' the dough down. Even better yet, she would give us remnants of the dough to make brown sugar tarts ... we loved working in the kitchen creating our treats.
It was great fun gathering the chicken eggs from the coop ... we loved playing with the baby chicks, chased the chickens around the yard, changing the nesting straw. The worst part was watching G'ma kill the chickens ... I used to cry horribly for those poor chicks, so eventually I wasn't allowed to go out when she was 'getting our dinner'.
G'ma would occasionally whip up her apron & as we 5 kids egged her on, & do the Irish jig for us. Sometimes she would speak in a heavy Irish brogue, or sing an Irish song ... we loved every single minute. It would be a great finishing touch to a long hard day.
We enjoyed laying under the lilac bush in G'mas front yard out of the heat as the gentle breeze cooled us ... too often getting fried because we fell asleep ... hence hardly able to waddle for days from the pain. I brought back a piece of the lilac bush in 1987 & it grows in my yard ... it is a true lilac, not a hybrid. At that time I also brought back some of her Mt. Bresius bulbs that bloomed beside the back step to the sun porch. I treasure each bloom every spring.
G'ma was a sweet, loving, kind woman ... I loved her gentle hugs & silky smooth skin (she would rub lard on her hands & rub it in good, wiping it off on her feedsack apron) ... her skin always shined. G'ma is the glue that held the family together ... she worked very hard to earn money & provide a nice home for her family.
During the Depression G'ma received her family inheritance from Ireland which got them thru some really tough times.
I remember the loving touch of her gentle hands, the sweet smell of her skin, the warm hugs of love.
Thank you for all the loving memories.
Happy Mother's Day to a wonderful loving woman ... my grandmother Maggie Carty Neu. (1890 - 1955)