Remembering Mum

My first memories of my mother were when I was about three years old. That was when the Great Depression was in full bloom. Times were hard and many people were out of work. My father found work wherever he could to make money to help support us during these tough times. Mum stayed home to take care of us kids.

Our kitchen stove was a large wood burner with a huge oven. Railroad trains were coal-fired steam engines at this time. Train crews would throw pieces of coal along side the tracks so people could pick up the coal for their homes. I never knew why they did this until I was much older. Mum and dad would bring home pieces of coal or wood, anything that would burn in our stove. Mum made bread, cupcakes and great meals in our wood-burning stove.

People could not run to the store every time they needed milk. The milk man would read the sign on our window to know how much whole milk, butter or cream we needed. He would leave our order at the front door. When the bottles were empty and washed they were placed at the door for next day pickup.

Everyone had ice boxes in those days. There were no refrigerators, side by sides or gigantic freezers then. Large blocks of ice were used to keep the ice box cold. Mum would have to give us baths in wash tubs filled with warm soapy water heated on top of our stove. If we wore clothes we would have been hung out on the clothesline with wooden clothespins like the sheets, shirts, socks and diapers.

Mum would sing to us and read us stories. She was the best mum ever. One day we were all listening to the radio when dad said we should be quiet because the President was talking. We found out our country was at war with Japan. Dad, who had served in World War I, got a job that would help the war effort. Mum started saving grease, paper, rags and other things to help our country. Mum bought a sewing machine and made clothes for us and our neighbors. I was and still am so proud of her. I remember Mum, especially on Mother's Day.

Bruce Leigh

Bay Village

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Volume 6, Issue 10, Posted 9:37 AM, 05.13.2014