Happy Mother's Day to My Mom

by mary May 11, 2014

Being that today is Mother's Day, I've been thinking a lot about my mom, & thought I'd share a few more pictures & memories of her.

I'll start with a few pictures from when she was younger before she married my dad & before I was born.

Here she is as a little girl with her mother (she's the one sitting on the bench on the left).  I never knew my maternal grandparents, as they both died before I was born.  As I mentioned in an earlier blog, mom was the youngest of 11 children.  I remember going out to the cemetary with my parents to mow the lawn, & to plant & water geraniums around the graves of her parents & 2 brothers that had died before I was born (one during WWI).

And here she is in 1928 -- she would have been 18 years old at the time.  She sure was pretty!  This would have been not too long before the crash of 29' & the depression.  One of the things mom learned in the depression was to save & reuse just about everything.  I remember we never threw away aluminum foil after just one use or a plastic bag (she would cut those open & use them to cover dishes instead of buying plastic wrap). 

Here she is in the back yard of the house I grew up in until we moved to a new ranch-style house when I was in 4th grade.

I loved that old house & our big back yard.  I had a tree swing on a big oak -- sometimes I would swing so high I could touch the gutters on the house with my feet!  We had a cistern in the basement under the kitchen, & I can remember my mother washing my hair in the kitchen sink with water from the cistern when I was little.  I also remember playing in the wicker clothes hamper in the laundry room while my mom did the laundry.  In this next picture, she's standing by the side of the house; I think that would have been the living room that she's next to.

My mother was always game for dressing up & acting silly -- here she is with my Aunt Dorothy & Aunt Ola when we were vacationing in northern Wisconsin.  Pretty much every summer, my parents & aunts & uncles would rent a cabin for the week.  I always got to take a friend along & we'd go swimming every day & have a great time.  My uncles would fish in the lake & we'd have fresh fish several nights for dinner.  As I remember, in this next picture, my friend Rene & I had staged some entertainment for the adults, & my mom & aunts decided they would dress up too.

This next picture is from 1966, the day I graduated from 8th grade -- I would have been 13 at the time.  I remember my parents had a party for me downstairs in our basement.  For my graduation, they got me my first record player.  It was one of those portable ones where the turntable flipped down to the front & the speakers were attached to the sides of the turntable & could either be swung open or detached & set a few feet away.  I was so thrilled to have a record player that could play 45s & albums!  I think my first album was Nancy Sinatra's "These Boots are Made for Walking"!

This last picture is from 1972 - my mom is the 3rd from the right & the rest are her remaining brothers & sisters (except one sister).  It was taken at our house for one of my family's birthdays -- my mom's family always got together to celebrate each other's birthdays.  I remember there would be dinner, then they'd play cards (sometimes I got to play too as I got older) & then before everyone went home, there would be a snack -- usually summer sausage (or raw beef) & rye bread, coffee cake & coffee. 

It was fun going hrough the old pictures this weekend & picking out a few to share -- someday I need to organize them, but for now they're in a big box in my closet & in a dresser drawer & box upstairs.  I remember my mom kept all her photos in boxes too -- I used to love it when she would get them out & we'd go through them & she'd tell me the stories behind them. 

As I said in an earlier blog, my mom was a great source of love & support to me -- she made me who I am & inspires me still.  Happy Mother's Day, Mom!

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Anyone for a good game of Rooster, Canasta or Sheepshead?

by mary April 10, 2014

Making these Cracker Jack/Gumball charm playing card earrings brought back fond memories of card games I played when I was younger.

"Rooster" was a game my Aunt Ola played with me when I was very little & would stay overnight with her while my parents were out for the evening.  As I remember, you spread the cards face down on the table & tried to find matched pairs -- e.g., 2 red Queens or 2 black 8's.  I can't remember if the winner was the "Rooster" or if that was the loser, but I do remember loving it when my Aunt would suggest we play!

"Canasta" was a game my mother & her friends played when they had "card club".  They would start by watching "As the World Turns" over lunch, & then bring out the cards to play Canasta.  Sometimes, I was allowed to play with them.  You played with 2 decks, & as I remember, the red Queens were worth 300 points each as long as you were able to open before someone went out.  I remember feeling very competitive playing it at times, & some especially tense moments when someone would "freeze" the discard pile.

"Sheepshead" (Schafkopf in German was the game my parents would play when they got together with other couples, often my aunts & uncles.  For some reason, the women only played it when the men were around.  They played for 1, 2 or 3 cents a point (sometimes for 5, 10 or 15 cents), but even so, I can remember them getting quite animated at times, with long discussions on how the hand would have turned out differently if their partner had played a different card.  When I was in high school, I was finally good enough at it that I was allowed to play sometimes.  One of the most interesting things I remember about Sheepshead is that it's a very local game -- once you get outside Wisconsin (in particular, the Milwaukee area), few people have even heard of the game.

One of the things I like most about working with vintage charms, jewelry & other objects is the memories they evoke.  I often wonder what memories others have when they see or wear the pieces I make.

To see more of my jewelry, see my website at http://paulinesjewelrybox.com/.  And thanks for reading!

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Filed Under: Memories

About the author

Pauline's Jewelry Box was founded by Mary Nelson in 2012 in Des Moines, Iowa.  I chose the name Pauline's Jewelry Box because my mother's name was Pauline & I have many fond memories of looking through jewelry box & playing with her jewelry

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