Saturday, January 26, 2008

Story Hour - Part V

Story Hour is a collection of short, auto-biographical stories written by my father, about his childhood memories growing up on a farm in Upstate New York.

The Mother

Mom was the blue eyed, blonde beauty from Daysville that won the heart of the rugged, black haired foreigner from across the ocean. How they met and how the romance developed I really don’t know. It is obvious that nature did follow the usual course of events.

There were many tears in this relationship, stillborn babies, and a son, Donald, struck and killed in front of their home on Rome Street. There was also a lot of hard work trying to make a success of the farm operation and the hardship of the dissolution of the marriage.

For a few months right after they were married DG and mom lived the city life. They did not own an automobile so it made sense to live near where you worked. I get the impression mom worked as an assembler in a typewriter factory and perhaps as a sewing machine operator.

The young couple moved to Rome Street, Pulaski in 1920 proceeded to build a one car garage. The one room garage was hardly the lap of luxury but it did provide shelter while the home was being built.

On May 5, 1919, the first son, Arthur, was stillborn. A set of twins, Dorothy Maude and David George were stillborn in July of 1920.

Donald Gordon was born September 20, 1921 and until his death on May 29, 1925 was the pride and joy of his parents. I have been told that he was a very happy young lad, given to singing hymns and marching around the dining room table. He was struck and killed as he stepped out from between two parked cars, directly in front of the house. This may have been a contributing factor for the move to the farm.

Jack and Dick were also born in the garage in the mid 1920's. I am not sure whether Dugal or I was the first to be born in the house in the late 1920's. Sally and Alec came along in July ’32 and December ’33.

I do not remember if we had electricity in the house or not. I do believe we had running water and an Ice Box. On the day the iceman came you would put the "Ice Card" in the front window with the desired size of ice in the readable position. This saved the deliveryman quite a few steps. At a quick glance to see a 10, 15 or 20 on top, a couple jabs with an ice pick and the proper sized piece would be gripped with the tongs and transported to the kitchen. The iceman wore a heavy leather coverlet over his shoulder to prevent chills.

Mom, in the memory of this 4/5 year old boy, was a presence that gave security and balance to the world. She provided warmth and nourishment for both the body and soul. A sense of humor that carried the proximity of the good earth. Always there to settle a sibling rivalry or if need be, a few firm whacks on the skinny behind of an offender.

The calm acceptance of the difficulty of life’s trials and tribulations always came through I recall seeing my mother cry only on rare occasion; DG’s funeral, her mom’s funeral and the death of Alec’s dog "Spud".

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