Soon after Paddy told Mother about his feeling that he would be among the first to be laid off, his prophecy came true. And soon they were having a problem with paying the rent and even getting groceries. Paddy refused to work in the coal mines! That entailed physical labor, not to mention getting your hands dirty and actually coming home exhausted. It was the only work around unless you owned your own business.
He had tried that with a friend, opening a hauling business. They invested in a pick up truck and were going to haul blocks of ice for people to use in their ice boxes. Ice boxes were the precursor to the refrigerator, and pretty much everyone had one. They would haul wood and anything else people needed if it would fit in the truck. After about a year they decided to give up on that idea, not because it was a bad idea but because they had to work so hard. Neither of them were workaholics by any means and even though they were beginning to make a pretty good living, it was still manual labor with all the attendant problems; like getting your hands dirty and sweating and being too tired to go out and drink beer with the guys after work.
There was work in the silk mills but that was low paying and it was women’s work and he wouldn’t do that! Mother offered to go back to the silk mill but Paddy did not want to stay home and watch the children. That’s when they had to move to the shack, which was the only place they could find with the rent they could afford. We as kids were all excited to be moving to our “new” house! Once we moved in and realized all the problems, our excitement turned to dismay. Mother said we could get a dog and that made us happy for a while.
Shortly after we moved into the shack, Father decided to visit his mother for a few days. Little did we know that he did not plan on returning. He had given Mother the impression that he was coming back but she knew enough from the past that his not coming back was a distinct possibility. After not hearing from him for about a week, she was sure he wasn’t returning.
So she did the only thing she could do; she filed for welfare. And in the meantime Mrs. D. helped us by giving us vegetables from her garden and whatever else she could come up with. Even Mom came through and gave Mother some money from her savings. But of course Mother had to listen to a tirade against Father before she received the money. She thought it was little enough to put up with to get food for the family. And she agreed with most of it anyway.
And so the days turned into weeks, then months, then years and in that time Father had returned for just enough time to get Mother pregnant for the fourth time. Needless to say that no one was happy about this pregnancy! Least of all Mom, who by this time was not speaking to Mother.
To be continued.