MY UNCLE TOM continuing

Some of the people in the story.
My sister and I and a cousin.

Mom was gravely ill and not expected to live very much longer.   She was in her seventies and had severe diabetes.  She had to be injected with insulin every day.  Her youngest daughter, Mary, who was about twenty five at the time, gave her the injections and kept the needles sanitized and in a special box, which was kept on a high shelf just in case one of the grandchildren was visiting.

We lived several blocks away and since my mother couldn’t be there with mom all the time because she had four children that needed her attention, the sisters came up with a plan.  We lived not far away on an incline and our house faced downhill towards mom’s house, which allowed us to see from our upstairs window, mom’s upstairs hall window.    Since we did not have a phone because we could not afford one, it was arranged that if mom took a turn for the worse, one of the sisters that still lived with mom, would pull down the shade and mother would know to come quickly!  We all kept our eyes on that window as often as we could and one day I spotted the shade had been pulled down!  I alerted my mother and she asked me to go with her and my older sister would watch the younger ones.  A neighbor and friend of my mother would come in and check on the children from time to time and made sure they ate and got ready for bed that night.

So my mother and I rushed down to mom’s and as fate would have it, mom was hanging on.   It seemed she was waiting to see my mother before she passed.  Mother had been sitting , talking with mom to keep her company.  She noticed that mom was was having a hard time keeping her eyes open.  Then as mom lay there in the bed, she suddenly sat up and with her eyes glazing over, she mumbled something that mother at first did not understand.   But as she leaned in and listened closely to what mom saying, she was surprised at what she heard.  

Mom was talking to relatives who were not in the room but  who were now dead.  These relatives had been dead for quite some time.  She spoke to them as if they were in the room with her.  Mother told us later that the hair on her arms was tingling.  Then mom said she saw a white light which dazzled her as she fell back on the pillows in a swoon.  “It was very peaceful”, mother told us later, “as she passed into another realm”.

My mother told that story so many times after that and I had it ingrained in my mind since that time.  So it was passed around the family.  Many years later after I married and had children, I recounted it to them.

But getting back to Uncle Tom……………………

To be continued.


I have edited this excerpt from the story, “My Uncle Tom”, and am publishing it here again to see if it is better now or not!  Your input is appreciated.  Thanks.


THOSE WERE THE DAYS continuing story….


Mom, who was our grandmother, but insisted that her grandchildren call her mom, was a major force in my mother’s family and therefore in our family as well.  As a result of having to call her mom, we had to call my mother, mother.

When we were children, we often went to visit Mom with my mother.  She lived several blocks away and since we did not have a car, walking would have to do.  Three of mom’s daughters, she had eight, lived with her at the time.  And a few had married and had their own homes and families.  Two became teachers and the rest worked in the silk mills in the area and turned in their pay to mom as long as they were living at home.  Mom used some of the money to send two of the youngest girls to Teacher’s College.  Mom was very progressive especially being she was from the “Old Country”.

We, my sisters and I, were shy and would hide behind my mother if we were asked any questions when we visited.  Mom would comment on how bashful we were and my mother would scoff and say, “They are not that way at home!  Can’t keep them quiet there.”  Which of course, made us more bashful when we were out..

We kids enjoyed playing in mom’s large backyard where she kept chickens and had a vegetable garden.  We made up our own games and were usually pretty tired when mother would call us in for a snack of lemonade and cookies that mom had made.  Usually oatmeal and raisin cookies and the lemonade was so cool and refreshing that we guzzled it down.

After all the playing and then walking home we kids were pretty tired and usually took a nap, giving mother a brief respite and maybe a visit with her friend and neighbor, Mrs. Kelly.  Mrs. Kelly lived right next door to us and had a large yard in which were planted all manner of vegetables.  She used to give us vegetables on a regular basis, anywhere from carrots to tomatoes and onions.  My mother would make wonderful stews with chunks of meat and always potatoes added.  My mother had a small garden and even some chickens but with four children, was always grateful for donations of food especially around the holidays.

Mrs. Kelly, in addition to being very helpful to us, was also a bad influence on my mother, teaching her to smoke and sometimes drink alcohol.  But mother never became a big drinker and she never became a heavy smoker either, in spite of Mrs. Kelly.  But they did have a good time when they got together.  They both loved hearing and telling a good story.  There was always a lot of laughing when they got together.

To be continued.



My grandmother, even being from the old country, Ireland, quickly took on some new ideas from her adopted country.  Although she kept many of the customs of her past, like wearing long dresses to her ankles and these were mostly  dark colors in paisley prints.  Her shoes were always black with low heels, like nurses used to wear.

The one thing she insisted on was that we, her grandchildren call her “Mom” and not “Grandmother”.  She did not want to be considered old, so as a result, we had to call my mother, “Mother”, not realizing how different that was, especially in the United States, where most people call their mom, “mom”.

We, of course, thought nothing of it at the time but as we got older, it seemed a bit odd.  Not that we ever objected to it or even said anything about it.  Until we were adults and friends would sometimes remark about it being a little strange.

Mom’s husband, my grandfather, was called “Pop” by both his children and his grandchildren.  That always seemed odd to me, even as a child.  But I do not remember ever questioning anyone about it but I do not think he cared one way or the other what we called him.  Mom usually set down the rules about these things in her house and among her family.  You disagreed with her at your own peril.  My mother took it all with a grain of salt and I followed in her footsteps.

To Be Continued.