Thursday, August 30, 2012
One day last year, my daughter Nicole (23) called me from the city where she lives. A book store was going out of business and she had bought me a little treasure. It was "The Prize Winner of Defiance." We had both seen the movie a few times and loved it. But to read the actual book, with so many more details, and much more to learn from, would be wonderful!
I waited for her to mail me the book. She lived too far away for me to visit very often, so mailing a package seemed the only way. Months went by and no sign of the book. We both visited each other and forgot about it.
Then one day this week, I was in the city helping her move when I came across the book in a pile on the windowsill. "My book?" I smiled at her. She nodded. I shoved it into my purse and we quickly finished our work and headed out.
Back at home, these last few days, during my homemaking breaks, I have been sitting on parlour chairs, propped up in bed, or on the front porch and reading the little treasure. It is a memoir by Terry Ryan about her mother who had 10 children. They lived in dire straits, with an alcoholic father, but the mother was ingenious and courageous. I love the time period (1950's), the community, the values, the trivia about the church and all the little remembrances of such a childhood and family. It fascinates me that the mother didn't know how to drive! I love that many mothers were home more than we are today.
I will share two passages with you I just read this morning:
1. After walking to the police station to pick up her teenage son who had gotten into a little trouble:
"It's pretty discouraging, Rog. I've spent most of my life trying to raise a bunch of kids under some pretty trying circumstances, only to see you do something as stupid as this."
2. This glimpse of the times is incredible -
"Mom gave birth every two years or so, not that there was any system to it - birth control wasn't even discussed in Catholic households in the 1940's and 1950's."
The book includes the Mother's routine, as a writer, who entered an enormous amount of contests sponsored by companies like "Dial soap," and "Quaker oats." These are entertaining and I loved the description of her ironing while she wrote, or sitting in the living room with the children and sharing her ideas with them. Her many wins are incredible!
But the most endearing thing for me, is reading about her daily struggles, her humor and her life as a blessed mother of many children. Reading this book, during my breaks here at home, has given me a surge of inspiration, which has been greatly needed!
A Precious effort - Beauty in the Home.
Remembering - Creating a 1950's - Like Childhood.
Old Fashioned Etiquette - Mrs. or Miss and other Titles of Respect.
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