My Mother’s Parents on their wedding day in 1920
I grew up in a wonderful family full of happiness and abundance. We were not rich. My father owned a butcher shop, but we were always secure and comfortable. What I understand now is that my parents reveled in the fact that they could live in a nice neighborhood, send all four children to Catholic schools, and enjoy being able to “spoil” us. My dad worked hard and my mom worked at home. My father felt it would be an embarrassment to have his wife work outside the home. If this sounds like the 50’s, it was.
My parents had grown up as immigrants. My Dad’s mother was a single parent with four boys. She was a seamstress and they were very poor. My dad was born when she had only been in America for one year. She always spoke broken English and the old country was Lucca Italy. My mom’s mother was from an island in Croatia and she also had her first child, my mother, when she had been in this country for one year. When my mom went to first grade, she had to stay back because she didn’t speak English. She went home and taught her two sisters and one brother to speak English and she worked hard to get rid of her accent. They had Salvation Army Christmases and she never had a doll.
My mother used to tell us that she loved us and we were wanted. I thought that was weird that she said it often, but now that I’m a mom, I can imagine at times when both she and my father were growing up, they felt like a burden to their parents.
My mom and dad did spoil us but for some reason we turned out to be independent and self-sufficient. I left home at 18 and never asked for money from my parents. They were always there for us but financially we were all independent. This leads to my first job………