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Saturday, November 19, 2011

Days Gone By...

Daddy and Mom in 1949
 My 86 year old mother sits beside me and talks of days gone by.  Her short-term memory is shaky at best but her longterm memory is sharp and clear on certain things.  Things such as her wedding day.  She and Daddy did not have a church wedding back on that third day of December in 1949.  Instead they went to the Justice of the Peace, Noah Hobbs, who was officiating in the Pike County Courthouse in Pikeville, Kentucky.  Mom was 23 years old and Daddy was about 28 years old at the time.  The two of them "dated" approximately three months before getting married.  Dates in Williamson West Virginia consisting of a "picture show" and the blue-plate special down at the diner afterwards.

But when Daddy became serious about Mom he decided that they had to save money because he was building them a house.  The house didn't take long to build as it was only a four room cottage but it was theirs outright with not a penny owed to anyone for the materials or the land.  It was to this little house that Daddy brought Mommy that cool December evening after their wedding.   Mom fondly recalls their no nonsense approach to things... that they stopped at the store on the way home from Pikeville and bought a can of Happy Family Baking Soda and some Eight O'Clock Coffee in a familiar red tin.   They brought some bacon and some flour and milk so that Mom could make Daddy a breakfast the next day - which she did.  And she continued making him breakfast practically every day for the next 49 years until he passed away in 1995 at the age of 75. 

Waterfall Furniture of the 1930s and 40's
Mom pauses for a moment and has a soft look in her eyes as she remembers.  "Your daddy had already bought and furnished the house", she says.   There was the mohair sofa and chairs and the little dinette set with the folding leaf in the table and of course the bedroom suite. And I know exactly what she speaking of.  Even though I could not remember "the little house" about which Mom was speaking and even though I grew up in the "new house" they built after they moved to Lawrence, County Kentucky, Mom brought those first treasures along with her when they moved.  The little dinnette table still sits in her kitchen these 60 years later.  The 1930's era "waterfall bed" was their bed for years until it was passed down to me.  And growing up, how many times had I sat at that waterfall vanity and brushed my hair?  The vanity that is still in Mom's bedroom today.   How many times had I looked at Mom's lovely vintage dresses and suits that hung in the matching armoire which my southern mother called a "chiffarobe"?

Even the Baking Soda Can and the Eight O'Clock Coffee tin had made their way to our new house and had become fixtures in our lives for as long as I can remember.  The Happy Family Baking Soda Tin was my mother's button holder for as long as I could remember.  How many times have I seen her reach for it in its place on the chest of drawers and remove the lid and spread out a mish mash of buttons all over the bed for us to pick out the one that would best match the outfit she was making for me.   Every time I see that can I think of Mom and her sewing my clothes over the years.  Everytime she reached for the can she thought of Daddy and that young girl she once was on that very first day they married.

That Happy Family Baking Can sits proudly in my own home now.  It's button holding days are over and it's original contents long forgotten but it is a constant reminder of what hearth and home is truly about... family, love, time, and ties that bind.   A tiny treasure and tangible reminder of a legacy of  love that my parents left to me.   It is one of my favorite pieces in my house and each time I look up and see it, I smile.  And so does my mother.     

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