Dee From Austin
Plant in the Pot- My mother loved plants, but by the time she moved to Texas, she stopped growing live plants and replaced all of her planters with plastic vines. She used to keep them in her sun room, and had her watering can nearby to water them when they got dusty.
1st Square: The postcard is the postcard my father sent to me for my first Easter, in 1945, while he was overseas in France. The car is a dream car that he would have liked to have, but could never afford.
2nd Square: This is the only photo I could find of the three of us together, my father, mother, and me. It was taken at the home of my aunt, probably on Christmas Eve one year. We always spent Christmas Eve with my father's parents and brothers and sisters, and my aunt lived in the building next door.
3rd Square: An old-fashioned typewriter. My mother spent her working life as a secretary, and learned to type on a typewriter like this one. She never was able to adjust to the IBM Selectric or other electric typewriters that were introduced just before she retired.
4th Square: A brownie camera. There always seemed to be a camera around which accounts for the many photos I have today. During World War II, many pictures were taken and sent to my father and grandfather while they were overseas, and later, after the war pictures were taken for both sets of my grandparents to have and my godmother. It seemed that sometimes a picture of the same sitting would take up the whole roll. I don't know why they never just printed double copies...but that is something that may not have been available then.
5th Square: A picture of my mother taken just before she married my father in 1942. This is one of the pictures he carried with him overseas and on the back it said "My Glamour Girl".
1st Square: This picture was taken of my mother in front of a store during the Christmas Season, 1944. The store window reads "Keep Them Flying", and I am guessing they sold War Bonds. My mother was on her way to my father's family to celebrate Christmas, and the year was 1943. She always enjoyed Christmas and loved to wrap her presents with special wrap and ribbons every year. The stocking in the square represents what she called "bonus" gifts, which she would hand out after Christmas dinner. Everyone received a stocking with tiny, inexpensive, but meaningful gifts inside.
2nd Square: A copy of one of the packages that held black and white negatives that survived over the years. The butterfly with the words "Teacher's Pet" is put there because my mother skipped two grades of grammar school when she was young and was able to graduate with the Class of 1941 instead of 1943. The ruler is to remind me to write in straight lines. She was always saying I wrote up when I addressed my letters, instead of evenly across the envelope.
3rd Square: Love in stamps. She and my father wrote to each other almost every day. When he came home from the war, the letters were stored in a trunk for many years. I never had the opportunity to read them because one day they disappeared. I do know that there were a lot of photos and memorabilia in there that would have helped me with the family history.
4th Square: The Recipe Box. My mother kept a few recipes in her recipe box, which I was able to make copies of, but the bulk of the box was used as an early version of a Roll-A-Dex system. 4x6-inch cards would be full of names, phone numbers, birthdays, etc. Now that I look back I can see she knew something may have been wrong before she came down with her dementia problems, and used the box as a way of remembering important information. By the time she moved here to Texas, she had an extensive address book and the recipe box was gone.
5th Square: The Piggy Bank. My grandparents on my father's side gave me this bank when I was about five years old one Easter. This is the only picture I could find of it, and the photo it was in had the bank sitting on top of the refrigerator. Our family used the bank as a way of saving up for stuff for the house. One summer vacation, my father emptied it out and let me have all of the money for the penny arcades for our vacation "down the shore". I wish I still had the bank today, but like many other things of my childhood, I have no idea what happened to it.
Right Side: The washboard. My mother had several of these washboards around the house. One was in the laundry room, one was under the kitchen sink, and one was in the bathroom. She used to wash her nylon stockings and fragile under ware with the washboard, because she didn't trust the automatic washing machine. After I married Jim, she gave me a washboard of my own, but I nailed it to a kitchen wall and kept magnets on it.
The red butterfly is there because my mother had red hair, and my father's nickname for her was "Red".
1st Square: The record represents a 78 RPM record. The beverage is there because both of my parents used to enjoy going out and listening to the "Big Bands". In fact, my mother would take off from school and see the bands and singers when they were at the Newark Paramount. My father had several boxes of 78 records for the longest time. He preferred Frank Sinatra, while my mother loved Glen Miller.
2nd Square: Books. Both of my parents read a lot of books. It was not unusual to see paperbacks all over the house, but hard back books were also included. They both made sure I had plenty children's books and comic books to read.
3rd Square: My parents, taken in Austin, Texas, where my mother followed him while he was in Bastrop Texas for basic training, sometime in 1943.
4th Square: Charms representing the states of Texas and New Jersey. The two states my mother lived. The doily in the back is because she used to love crocheted handmade doilies to use to decorate her home.
5th Square: A sand pail and a star fish. My mother loved the beach, and even moved to south Jersey to be near the beaches. When she was younger, her mother had a job taking care of two children close to her age in Point Pleasant, NJ, and they would spend the summers there. Later, we would go "down the shore" often, and when I was young, she and my father would rent a bungalow each summer for one week in Point Pleasant. The Root Beer bottle cap is there because my mother loved to drink root beer, and it was her favorite kind of soda.
The calendar shows the year as 1929, and the month of October. This month was the beginning of the Great Depression of the 1930's and both of my parents lived through it. Behind the calendar I put an envelope with a common 3 cent stamp on it to represent all of the letters my parents sent during WWII.
1st Square: My father, shortly after being drafted into the Army, 1942. My mother and father were still happy then.
2nd Square: A Viewmaster - Ours was red, but my mother had many, many Viewmaster reels. The first ones I remember looking at showed the opening of King Tut's Tomb in Egypt. My father started collecting various reels as they came out, and later my mother would pick up a Viewmaster reel every time she went on a trip. She and my stepfather took a cross country trip and stopped at all 48 states and she bought a Viewmaster reel whenever she could. Later she went with Jim and I on one of our trips to Hawaii, and was disappointed that she could not find a Hawaiian reel, but she settled for several VCRs instead.
3rd Square: My mother once bought me a small black iron stove similar to this one. She told me she used to cook on it when she was younger, and used to heat her irons on it when she needed to do the ironing.
4th Square: Books again, but these books are special. My mother had a copy of a 1909 medical book the size of the bottom book, and would consult it whenever one of us was ill. These old medical books had cures in them that are very different than those used today. In the larger book, there is a cure for plague, which I suppose may come in handy someday. I still have the larger medical book.
5th Square: A playing card and two dominos. My mother enjoyed playing all kinds of card games, especially Pinochle. When she moved to Texas, the senior groups played Canasta, and Dominos. My mother was very competitive, and always played to win. Sadly, shortly after going to the nursing home, she forgot how to play the games she loved.
First Square: An old milk bottle and a postcard from New York. The milk bottle has sand in it, representing the Shore. The post card from NY is because my mother always enjoyed traveling to NY to attend Broadway Plays. She started this while she was still in high school, when she would go to see the bands, but later when she worked for the US Treasury Department, a group would form, and they would go into the city one night a month.
2nd Square: A clock to remind us that time is passing.
3rd Square: The last photo I took of my mother at a Christmas party shortly before she went into the hospital the following January to have knee surgery, and then to the nursing home.
4th Square: Empty spools of thread representing all of the sewing she did.
5th square: buttons, needles, and sewing machine needles. In the front is a sewing machine my mother used. Hers was a treadle, and it only sewed a straight stitch. The iron on the sewing machine is one of her irons she used to do the ironing when she had the black stove. I only remember her using these irons as door stops, and never saw her use it. Again, she had the treadle for years, and one day when I went to sew a seam that that ripped, it was gone.
The two candles on the end are there in remembrance of both of my parents.