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.

The Day I Smashed The Window! Continuing…..

At my Grandmother's funeral.

The blood from my wrist was running down my arm but father didn’t seem to notice.  His face was red and he was yelling so loud; I had never seen him like this before.  But I was so scared,  all I could think about was getting away from his grip.  So when I finally broke free, I ran for the stairs.  I made it upstairs to the bedroom with father in hot pursuit.

I didn’t know if mother was home or not.  I tried to get under the blanket on the bed thinking it would protect me.  I had taken my coat off on the way up the stairs.  He yanked the blanket off me and I only had a cotton dress and thin panties on, my legs were bare.  I saw him trying to get his belt off and I knew I was in for it!

He started hitting me on the butt and the legs with his belt and I started crying and yelling how I did not mean to break the window.  But he wasn’t listening; he was too enraged.  This continued for a while and I don’t know who was louder me begging for mercy or him cursing me.  All of a sudden mother appeared in the doorway of the bedroom.  She started yelling at father.

“Stop, you are going to kill her!  She shouted!

“Do you know what she did?”  He yelled back!

“I don’t care, you need to stop; she is bleeding!”  Mother yelled as she grabbed his arm to stop him from hitting me again.

Father pulled his arm away from her but she jumped in front of him and pushed him back away from me.  Mother was no lightweight and she was putting all her force against him to push him away and he staggered back.  Father was not that big of a man but he was strong.  He was always exercising and lifting weights.  He seemed to lose his rage as he fell back against the wall.

Mother then sat me up and looked at where the blood was coming from on my wrist.  She gasped and told him to go and get our neighbor, Mrs. D.  He seemed in a stupor, so she yelled at him again to go as they needed to get the blood stopped and Mrs. D. was our source in any emergency.  She always knew what to do and she always had bandages and tape and whatever else was needed in an emergency.

Mrs. D. had three boys in school, who were constantly getting into trouble,  so she had to be ready for any emergency.  We depended on her to be there for us and she never let us down.  It seemed that I was the one in our family who was usually in trouble and I counted on her to help me on many occasions.

So it was no surprise when she came and assessed the situation, cleaned up my wound after taking a piece of glass out of my wrist  and bandaged it.  I was feeling much better after that.  No one thought of calling the doctor, because we could not afford one usually. So I have a few scars to show for the scrapes I was in as a child.

Father managed to get his coat on and leave the house not wanting to hang around in case anyone wanted to question him.  We found out later he had gone to his mother’s house, where he was always made to feel better about himself no matter what.

Although, I must say from that time on, he never hit me again.  That wasn’t necessarily true of my mother, even though she saved me more times than I can count as I did get into trouble a lot it seems.

The pane of glass in the front door was fixed with a piece or cardboard from a box we had and stayed that way for quite a while.  Father remained away for a long time but then that was what he did.  Oh, I still have a scar on that wrist to remind me of that day.

The End


Mr. Pauley’s Undoing.

We are supposed to write in the first person, using the voice of a twelve year old.  And use the neighbors, M. and M. Pauley to fill out the story, with Mr. Pauley dying and Mrs. Pauley being evicted. 

It was a challenge for me but I think I came through it okay.


I was sitting on the swing on my front porch. It was dusk and I loved to watch the passing parade of people going by. There was old Mr. Jones walking his dog, and right after him came a young couple that I didn’t know. They were holding hands and looked to be about 17 years old or thereabouts anyway. The young guy was moving his hand to the girl’s waist and then it started creeping lower to her butt. I heard a giggle from the girl and had to smile to myself.

I was only twelve but looking forward to the day when I would be able to date. I was already getting advice from my older brother, although I was not sure the advice was any good. He was only fifteen and had only been going out with girls for a few months. Mom wanted us to wait until we were sixteen before we started dating and then she only wanted us going out maybe once a week. Like that’s going to happen.

Oh, there’s Mr. and Mrs. Pauley out on their porch doing pretty much the same as I am. They lived across the street and she was friendly with mom. They had coffee with each other a few times a week. She’s waving now. Guess I better wave back or she will think I am rude and tell mom.

They have six boys but they are all grown and gone now. Don’t think I’ve ever seen them since they never seem to come and visit. There’s a rumor going around the neighborhood that Mr. Pauley is having an affair with some young chick. Wonder who would be interested in that old fart? He is certainly nothing to look at. Guess they are well off, at least that’s what I heard mom saying. Not sure Mrs. P. knows about the affair. If she does, she is certainly keeping calm about it.

Two Months later:

I heard fire sirens coming down my street as I was walking home from school. They stop at the Pauley’s and the ambulance follows with the cops not far behind. Oh my God, I wonder what’s going on there? A small crowd of neighbors gather near my house and I join them as mom comes out and we stand on our porch watching. The ambulance guys come out with Mr. Pauley on a stretcher and put him into it and take off, with sirens screaming.

We later heard that Mr. Pauley had a heart attack and died at the hospital.  So much for his affair I thought.  Wonder what Mrs. Pauley is going to do without him.  She’ll probably be better off, my mom said.  What with his carousing with young women and her not even knowing anything about it.

So mom and I went to the funeral.  I only went under protest as I really didn’t like the man.  But when mom says go, you go.  Most of the neighbors went and came back to the house later for refreshments.  Mrs. P. actually seemed to be enjoying herself.  Strange though, not one of their sons came to see dear old dad put into the ground.

Mrs. P. later told my mom that she was being evicted because of back taxes, so she would be leaving soon.  She told mom not to worry though as one of her sons had invited her to live with him and his family.  She also told mom that she knew about her husband carrying on behind her back.  She thinks it was the reason he had the heart attack!