Saturday, October 11, 2014

Back In the Day...

Ya.  I used a freebie because no other image was available.   It's a wonderful opportunity to use your imagination! grin

She grew up so poor that she and her little sister were thrilled to play with dolls made of clothespins.  She had a melodious singing voice and loved to sing but her mother forbid her the honor of participating in school sponsored competitions, most likely because of her own lack of confidence.  Her father burned her back by stubbing out his smoke;  she carried that scar from age 5 to her death.  Her parents  were divorced, much to Harriet's relief, and all that her life had held formed her into the remarkable woman she was.
He was so poor growing up that he was determined to rise above that poverty by getting a good education.  His father drank too much; his mother's health was poor and when his dad got hurt and could not work the family just fell apart.  By then Herman was in Advertising School.  He kept his family at arm's length but always spoke lovingly of each one of them.  He always felt he could be a better family man than any of his relatives.  It turned out he was correct!

Harriet and Herman met in high school.  He was smitten with her classic beauty and gracious ways.  She was taken with his crooked smile and sparkling personality.  They dated-which in those days, meant taking walks around their home town; sharing picnics featuring bread and butter sandwiches; window shopping and going to free band concerts. They enjoyed dancing on the front porch to music playing on the radio.

Since Herman was older than Harriet they did not share classes but whenever they passed in the halls they would exchange looks.  He would wink and flash that crooked grin of his.  She would stroke her hair with one graceful hand and put her head down just a touch.  They never wanted to make a scene, after all!

As soon as Herman graduated high school he went to work for the WPA, building roads.  She finished high school, with honors, and continued living with her mother and sisters.  She turned home care  into an art form; her mother appreciated the household help.  In the evenings the couple would sit on the porch swing, watching the traffic.  On pay days they would walk a block away to share a float at Kate's Root Beer stand.  They talked endlessly about their wedding and marriage.

The autumn ceremony took place in the parsonage of the Methodist church.  Neither Harriet nor Herman had any church affiliation; this parsonage was within walking distance of Harriet's family's home.  The pastor's wife was a witness, as was the man who came to mow the church yard.  They felt giddy as the pastor signed their marriage certificate.  The bride wore a borrowed brown dress; the groom wore the suit someone loaned him.  Herman was proud to pin a gardenia on his bride's dress...sporting his trademark crooked smile!
With not much money and very little in the way of furnishings the newlyweds moved into a teeny, tiny house near both sets of parents.  They lived a simple life with few belongings to weigh them down.  That was a good thing, for Herman landed a job with a grocery chain and was transferred (as in 'promoted') all over Nebraska and Kansas.  She took exceptional care of their living quarters while he labored 7 days a week.  For fun, they read magazines that others donated to them after they'd finished them..  They played Honeymoon Bridge or Gin Rummy most evenings, too.  Harriet was generally the victor.  Did Herman LET her win?
Because they did not own a car, they walked everywhere they went. When they were not walking, they danced. They helped their parents in myriad ways as the older generation aged and became frail.  After half a dozen years of wedded bliss and many promotions for Herman, the couple finally became parents!
I'm so glad they did.  This loving and devoted pair were my own mother and father.

Connie Baum

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