The Family That Works Together, Aches Together

Yesterday I wrote about falling in the pool and bruising myself and practically tearing my arm from the socket.  My sister wrote a reply about how we are a family that works; that’s just what we do.  It really doesn’t occur to us to ask for help, and generally we just pick up our shovels and dig in, whatever it may be.  I’ve hung drywall (ceiling and walls), dug a French drain around the garage, helped wire the basement, painted, canned our garden vegetables, cleaned house (not as well as I used to and never, ever as well as my Mom did), ironed, mowed/hoed/weeded, helped tear up a concrete driveway, moved furniture by myself (big stuff from upstairs to the basement) (used a sheet), and just generally worked like a mule.

And so has all my family.  And the in-laws.  And the out-laws.  My daughter rewired her bathroom by herself after reading a book on how to do it.  My nieces and nephews and their spouses are just as work hardy:  adding on rooms, changing out windows, plumbing, wiring, washing vehicles; anything that’s there to do, they can do it and do it well.

After reading her little response, I got to thinking about that work heritage and happened upon this picture that pretty well explains why we are all work horses.

Grandma Madeline and Mom 1925

When one was raised in the Great Depression, that person learned to work… and be frugal.  My mother never got over those years of lean times and always worked hard and saved harder.  She saved everything from money to tin foil.  And so did all the other ladies I knew that had gone through those oh-so-tough years.  Then they passed what they knew down to their children because what happened to them, well, it could happen to us, and we all needed to be prepared.

So we were taught at an early age to work:  cook, hang clothes on the line, iron, garden, clean.  Our neighbors up the hill, the Logsdons, had chickens, and Mrs. Logsdon would chop their heads off with an axe as we children squealed and ran from the flopping, headless hen.  Mom never had chickens.  From the photo I would imagine she’d had enough of them when she was small.

That’s probably why she married dad.  He was a grocer; it was what his family did.  So all she had to do was bring it home and fry it up.  Not a bad gig if you’ve ever been chased by a headless chicken.