Sunday, September 5, 2010
Sharing a Slice of Life: The J.O.B. of Our Ancestors
My grandmother's mother and father, the Henry's.
I am joining a little late, but my friend Texasblu has been posting these prompts and they have been fascinating. Since this is our family blog, I thought it appropriate to share a bit of family history on here too. Today's prompt is to to talk about a job our ancestors had. I'll share a couple.
My grandmothers fascinated me. My Grandma Beth started out in nursing school. I don't know why she didn't finish, but I heard she learned how to give a shot that didn't hurt. She explained to me that if you did it just right in the back of the arm, you would not feel it. My dad had caught a horrible case of strep throat one time and the doctor required him to get antibiotics by injection. I remember seeing him sit on her sewing table as she administered to him, and then hearing him exclaim "I didn't even feel that!". Grandma's other profession was seamstress. She sewed everything from wedding dresses to underwear. If it wasn't clothes, she working on needlepoint, cross stitch, crocheting, quilting, dolls and their clothes, and then for a bit, it was dollhouses and the furniture to go in them. The dollhouse she built was the same color as her house. It may have been from a kit, but it was huge and I LOVED it. She cut each shingle out for the roof. Then she crafted and sewed each piece of furniture. At one point, she accidentally sawed off a finger but they were able to save it. I sure it put a delay in her crafting.
When grandma Beth died, I inherited her dollhouse. Sadly, the house didn't make it, but I kept all the furniture out of the house. They were built to replicated her mother's home.
I loved Grandma's sewing room. It had a huge table that I can only remember seeing cleared off about two times in my life for a huge holiday meal. We were required to wear shoes at all times in there because her carpet was a wild orange, black, green and gold stripe that didn't make finding dropped pins very easy. Her table was large enough for her to spread out patterns and have full length wedding dresses lay completely on. Around the room were bags of scraps, a fish tank with angel fish, pictures and craftwork of roses (her favorite flower), and sometimes a huge bag of chocolate covered marshmallow cookies hidden under her table. Also in the room was a police scanner and if she was working at night while Grandpa was at work (town cop, one of two), she was listening for details about his night as they came over the scanner.
That room was a child's dream of interesting things. A red lava lamp. A radio that she listened to a different station every day. A buffet that held years of patterns. Plants that hung from the ceiling but their vines stretched around different areas. At the top and front of the room she had a stained glass window. Pictures of her as a young woman, her kids, cousins, parents, siblings, and grandchildren were in various frames and stuck in various spots. In one drawer of her buffet sat her family history efforts. Besides her bedroom, I think this was her favorite room, and I could see why. It was a room of Grandma.
We would make trips to Souix City, Iowa so she could buy fabric, yarn, or get her sewing machine repaired. Grandma made all her clothes. A couple years she made all of my sister's and my clothes as well. When I got married she made my wedding dress and dresses for my sister and cousin to wear for my wedding. She made quilts for all the grandkids and her two great-grandchildren. The quilt I still have is one she made and embroidered roses all over it, then embroidered her signature in the bottom corner.
Writing this makes me want to write about the other professions I know my family did, but maybe for another day. Thanks Texasblu!