Friday, July 5, 2013

Things My Mother and Father Taught Me

I was ironing a long sleeve blouse this morning.  Something I very rarely do any more.  (Ironing I mean).  Everything I wear can come right out of the dryer ready to wear, if I don't let it sit too long after the dryer stops.  If I do, I just throw in a damp wash cloth and let it fluff some more.
Anyway, as I was ironing, I realized that I automatically ironed the blouse in the succesion my mother taught me.  Collar, cuffs, sleeves, then shoulders, left front, back and finish up with right front.
I've always done shirts the same way.  The way my mother taught me to iron.
My mother ironed everything.  Back in the 40's and 50's when I was growing up, she had a special day for ironing.  I think it was Tuesdays.
She sprinkled things which sat on the left wide part of the ironing board, while she ironed.
She ironed, shirts, pants, dresses of course, but also sheets, pillow cases, and even my dad's underwear!
I thought about all the things my mother taught me while I was growing up.
She taught me to sew, to cook, to knit, how to set a table, how to make a bed, to sweep and dust.

 She taught me a little about gardening but I mostly learned that from my dad and my grandma Wickersham.  My dad taught me how to measure, and how to use a hammer and screw driver.  Dad taught me how to fish, and how to catch crayfish in the creek when they hid under the flat rocks.  I loved going with him to do that.  We also would go out in the back yard at night after a rain, with flash lights and caught big night crawlers for fishing.  I don't think my mom did those things with us!
Mom taught me to do the basic things that a woman of those times needed to know and my dad taught me the other basic things.
But most of all they taught me right from wrong.
I've realized that I've been very lax in teaching my daughter the necessary things for basic living!!!!!!
She doesn't really cook anything from scratch, she doesn't sew and thus can't mend anything or even sew a button on right for that matter.  While she has always excelled in cleaning the house, she knows little, (or cares to) know anything about gardening.
Of course, during her years of being a bartender, she has learned how to make any drink, how to stand up for herself, and is very out going; something I never was!
She has started her own photography business and is very passionate about it.  She's now doing very well.  She's become a good friend and we share the love of horses and ride a lot together.  
My son has gotten his basic knowledge from my late husband, Jack.  They became buddies when he was older and learned all about golfing, fishing, boating and I think even some knowledge of cooking fish from him!  He has always had a good work ethic and through his construction job and a carpenter friend of ours, has learned a whole lot of very useful information.  He really surprises me at times all that he can do!
My son and his wife, Linda, had children in their 40's and I am amazed how he talks to them now as little tykes, and how gentle he is.  He teaches them the basic things he knows while he's building their tree house or the deck around the pool (my grandson LOVES tools!) and my daughter-in-law, has always taken them to the library, and to classes about just everything and to church.  Between the two of them my grandchildren are the smartest 4 and 6 year olds on the planet  : ))  
Both of my children have also inherited my love and passion for animals.  To me, I guess that is more important than learning to sew or how to excel in any book learning. 
I am sorry not to have passed down the things my mom and dad taught me but they are both loving, sensitive adults and doing very well, so I am smiling.

Below is a collage of my Dad and Mom and our family.
The picture on the couch, notice I have spurs on my dressy shoes!
Also, I think my Dad looked a little like Harry Connick Jr!!!!



  1. I loved this post! I'm so drawn to pics from the 50's, so I came by and as I read about all of your mom's tachings it also reminded me of my mom, and she taught me everything and things like crocheting, which I never learned, caz I guess I'm not so talented like her, lol! Mother used to iron everything and yes even underwear, back in the 50's and 60's! She doesn't anymore and my dad died 17 years ago, so no man's cloths either. I rarely iron too, I love to iron tablecloths and napkins, though, it's relaxing to me. Hope you're enjoying your weekend.

  2. Shirley,
    What a wonderful tribute to your parents and to the wonderfully practical way that they prepared you for adulthood. I remember my mom sprinkling clothes for ironing too. She taught me a great deal, though I was so busy with high school and activities (what pep club prepared me for, I don't know!) that I didn't pay much attention. I'm grateful though that she was always there cooking and baking and sewing and bringing me up to appreciate such skills!


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