When my Father lost his teaching job and was either embarrassed or too lazy to do any manual labor, he would usually run home to his Mother to take care of him. He would leave my Mother and us kids alone to get along as best we could. Since my Mother left school in eighth grade to help support her family and since she did not have a good enough education to get a job that paid well, all the work she could get was cleaning houses or cooking for rich people. That is if there were even any jobs at all for women in those days education or not.
President Roosevelt at this time also instituted the Civilian Conservation Corps, (CCC) to get men and boys working again earning a living. My Father was above all that though, he refused to get his hands dirty. My Mother used to say, “he is too good to work like the other poor stiffs who would take anything to feed and house their families.” Paddy wasn’t concerned with his family as long as he had a roof over his head and three squares.
Paddy’s mother was always there to take him in. She, my grandmother, was a force in shaping him especially since he was the youngest boy in the family. He was her “Golden Boy.” She made him think he was better than anyone else even to the exclusion of his own family. This was especially so after he got his teacher’s credentials and started working as a teacher. She would later deny any part in his deserting his family.
It was around this time when things had gotten so bad for us that we had to move from our nice house to a ‘shack’ that a strong wind would have blown down. The roof leaked, the wind whistled through the cracks and I don’t remember ever being warm there even in the Summer. There were four girls at this time. Five of us including my Mother. Anna was the oldest at 10, I was next at 8, and Joan and Kay at 5 and 3 years old. It was the late 1930’s, and thank God that Franklin Roosevelt was president!
Between Roosevelt and our Pastor at the Catholic Church, we always had food on the table. A few of our neighbors were also generous and gave us fresh vegetables from their gardens. And so we managed to survive. We even got a good education for free from the Catholic School.
To be continued.