The below story is part of a 5-part series called: My Goddess Grandmother. The quotes are extracts from two interviews I did with my grandmother two years ago. The series follows the below sequential order:
“I could not go to high school. At 15 at that time you could get home papers. You needed working papers at 16. And mother said to me, ‘You can’t go to high school.’
I said, “What?
“You can’t go to school.”
I asked, ‘Why?’”
“You know with the family getting bigger and bigger, we didn’t even have a bathroom indoors. We had an outhouse outside. The twins were babies at that time. She said you have to stay home and watch the twins. She has to go to work. My mother went to work at the cigar factory at that time; she started at 6 in the morning and came home at 6 at night. And then I had the twins and they were in diapers.”
“There was no tidy didy service at that time….”
“The twins at one time had diarrhea I thought I would go nuts. I just about changed the one, cleaned the one, I had to do the other one. Then this went back and forth. And then you had to soak these diapers, you know what, and the best thing to put the diapers was out on the grass with the sun shining on them. It bleached the diapers if they were really stained that you couldn’t get it out. That grass and that sun bleached the diapers.”
“The only one that went to high school was Pattie. At 16 they had to go to work. And my mother, she would come home she could sit down and eat cause I had everything ready for her at 15. I had the house cleaned, I had the supper made, and I had the table set so that she could just come home.”
“When I turned 16, I said to my mother, ‘I’m 16 now I want to go to work.’”
Well she said, ‘You can’t, would you just have a little more patience and wait another year. Pop and I are just starting to make ends meet.’”
“We were poor, I’ll tell you, I didn’t grow up being rich and stuff like that. But I guess it makes you a better person.”
“I was going out on a date and took Aunt Pattie along on a date with me. She was crying…we were going on a picnic. And I said to her, ‘Why are you crying?’ And she said, ‘Because, because you are going away again and I won’t have anyone to hang around with’, so I go to pop and I say, ‘Can we take her along?’ And he said, ‘Hey wait a minute, what is the debate. I am here to take you on a date.’ But I said, ‘But look at her, look at her crying.’ And he said, ‘Okay take the brat, let’s go.’
[The both of us laugh; my Pop Pop was a card.].
“He called her the brat. ‘Get the brat, let’s go.’ And she came on a picnic with us, and one time to the Roxie Theater to a movie. And then Pop put his feet down. He said, ‘That’s it. She’s not coming anymore. If you insist she comes I’m not going.’ So that took care of Aunt Pattie and the dates. That poor Pop I’ll tell you.”
A Warrior Princess