I am submitting this story from my archives as I am in somewhat of a slump right now and can’t seem to get going on writing anything new. So hope you like this “blast from my past.”
WHEN I WAS TWELVE……….
we had moved out of the shack we had been living in for a good part of my childhood. The roof leaked, we had no hot water except what we heated on our coal stove and our toilet was outside in what we called a porch. It was freezing in the winter when we went to the toilet and in the summer there were mosquitoes to annoy us.
So moving to the ‘new’ house, which was actually a duplex, we were beside ourselves with the joy of having a roof that didn’t leak and an inside toilet. We still did not have a proper bathroom but just to have an indoor, enclosed toilet was enough for us. We still didn’t have hot water unless we heated it on the coal stove but we were happy at least for a while..
I lived with my three sisters and my mother as my father had deserted us years ago, while we were living in the shack. I had one older sister and two younger sisters. My Mother worked as a cook for a doctor and sometimes she had to stay overnight, as she also did some of the cleaning for the doctor’s family. She had to take two buses to get to the doctor’s house and of course two to get home.
My older sister was fourteen and had gotten a part-time job after school and this helped with paying the bills. I was babysitting for a few of my Mother’s friends and that helped with buying my own clothes and various things I needed for school. WWII was going on and rationing was the order of the day. Sugar and butter were things I missed most and they, of course, were rationed. That stopped us from making cookies and candy, that we loved so much.
We lived in a small town in Pennsylvania where everyone knew everyone else. It was good and bad. Good because everyone knew what everyone else was doing and bad because everyone knew what everyone else was doing.
We went to Catholic school and were taught by nuns and got a very good education. The church was near the school and we went to mass every Sunday and holy days of obligation. Also, we went to mass on certain months that were holy for some reason and we had to go every day before school.
In those days everything was in Latin, the mass, the singing, the whole bit. We had to take two semesters of Latin and two semesters of another language or four semesters of Latin. You had to have at four years of Latin to be a nurse, which was what I was thinking I might do. But then I decided to take two semesters of French because I was so sick of the Latin by then. There went my nursing career, which I have since regretted. But when you are young you make a lot of mistakes.
My Mother was a good cook, so on the days she was home we had some delicious meals and on other times, I usually tried my hand at cooking. Sometimes the meals I cooked turned out pretty good, because I had learned a lot from Mother. Other times when I tried something new, the meal turned out not so good and there was a lot of complaining from the sisters. But I carried on and since I was the only one willing and old enough to cook on the coal stove, the complaining was held to a minimum, especially if they wanted to eat.
So we lived in that house until I was nineteen and my older sister was going to be married. At least we were moving up in the world by then as we moved to the nearest big city. We were upgrading at each move, especially since both my older sister and I had graduated from high school and were both working full-time. But the small town where we grew up and graduated from high school, still holds some fond memories of school days and friends, some of whom I still keep in contact.