Tuesday, January 20, is the six-year anniversary of my mom’s passing. Although she hasn’t physically been here with me her spirit has; even in routine every day moments. When the sweet aroma of gingerbread filled my kitchen last week, I felt a connection to her. That day I could visualize how she often made her gingerbread cake on cold winter days. After pulling the gingerbread out of the oven, she would slice it while it was still hot so when we spread the butter on top it instantly melted and soaked into the delightfully delicious cake. Last week it tasted even more delicious with my mother’s memory being with me.
The gingerbread opened the door to the memory bank of my mom. I recalled the memories that she shared with me about her childhood. Her parents were poor during the time that she grew up during the depression years.
As a one year old she moved with her family in 1929 to a drab one bedroom home along with a big kitchen and living room. They cooked on wood stoves and in the winter they sat in front of it along with kerosene lamps to keep themselves warm. They got electricity for the first time when she was eight years old and then they only had a light bulb dangling from the ceiling on a wire cord.
She said they would sit around the wood stove in the winter time and make their own paper dolls using the Sears & Roebuck and Montgomery Ward’s catalogs. They would cut the little girls out and cut out dresses for them out of the catalogs. They also would make paper money and make quarters, dimes, nickels and pennies out of cardboard.
My mom also shared with me how she walked to school come rain or shine. She wore long brown stockings in the wintertime and sometimes the shoes had the soles flopping on her. But come spring and summer she walked barefoot everywhere and even on rocks without any pain.
These memories that I have of my mother have been written and recorded for my children and grandchildren to read after I am gone. If I had not preserved these memories, she would in time be known by no one.
Preserving the legacies of your parents will prevent them from ever being forgotten and future descendants will be able to read these life stories and understand their family heritage. Grab paper and pen or your laptop and start Keeping Your Memories of your parents starting with the following questions:
- In what ways are you like your parent(s)? And not like your parent(s)?
- What did you enjoy doing with your parent(s)?
- What was your proudest moment of your parent(s)?
- What was the most valuable lesson you learned from your parent(s)?
- What is the one thing you most want people to remember about your parent(s)?