Sunday, June 28, 2015

9 Tidbits About Stella, born June 28, 1925

Mom would be 90-years-old this June 28. She died over ten years ago. As a tribute, I decided to share nine things about her. My siblings grew up in a different decade, so I enlisted their help along with Dad’s.

One: her family

Mom's dad died when she was 14-years-old. My mom was the youngest of three daughters. Grandma Katie moved Mom and her sister Bina from the farm into Doland after an auction. Her sister Grace was already married to Johnny. Dad told me a lot more about the death of Jacob B, my grandpa on my mom’s side, and the financial hardship it caused my mom’s family in 1940, but that’s for another post.

While still in high school, Mom served as a waitress at the café. After high school she earned a desk job at Northwestern Public Service also in Doland. Ironically, my oldest sister Priscilla held a similar job in Huron years later.

Two: her school years

Mom won the spelling bee when she was in elementary school. One time when we were out in public, Mom had me look over at a woman across the room and then said, "That's the one who slapped my hand with a ruler." Seems Mom got in trouble or the teacher was super strict.

Three: her marriage

Mom was 19 when she married Dad. For more details about their wedding click here to read "What I Never knew about my Parents' Wedding." Mom was instrumental in Dad’s decision to follow the Lord once and for all, but again, that’s a story for another post.

Four: her first-born

My brother Elliott was around four-years-old when he went out to do chores with Mom one time. A barrel with pig slop in it caught his eye while Mom gathered chicken eggs.

Little Elliott, knowing how they’d dip a bucket in there to feed the hogs, decided to take a look, but he bent over the barrel too far and fell in—only not all the way. His head was buried in pig slot. Mom came around the corner and saw only his feet sticking out. Who knows how long he was like that.

Elliott said the next thing he remembers is walking to the house beside her. Mom saved my brother's life that day.

Five: a seamstress

Brenda, my sister, wrote this passage: 
Mom didn't do a lot of sewing, but she made matching dresses for Priscilla and me when we were in first grade. We wore them for school pictures. I wore those pop beads that looked like a string of pearls. That was always my favorite school picture.
I wish Mom would have sewn more dresses, but she had Dad's jeans to patch. That was a never-ending job with a pile always awaiting repair. My hubby teases me about how much money we would save if I could patch his jeans, for I do not sew. I only fix buttons.
I did learn to iron though, by pressing pillowcases and Dad's hankies. To prepare for the task, Mom had a sprinkler bottle filled with water that we would shake over each washed and dried article. We'd then roll the items up and snuggle them in one large laundry basket. The basket was wooden—not the plastic kind of today.
Six: her Saturday routine

Priscilla said Saturdays were for cleaning. “The kitchen floor got washed and waxed. We did it on our knees with a rag—not standing up with a mop handle in our hands. Then in the evening she made sure we did our Sunday school lesson.”

The girls enjoyed tea and homemade buns with Mom when they were done with chores. They'd use Mom's blue tea pot, an item that set around just for looks when I was a kid.

Seven: tutor to her children

Mom helped my sisters study for tests when they were in grade school. Brenda said Mom sat in the black leather chair in the dining room and asked questions. (This was that black chair I wrote about in “Mom’s Pestering Pays Off” and "Easter Tidbits” click here and then here). Priscilla said Mom would write out questions, like making up a paper/pencil test, then they would need to fill in the answers.

Eight: the field work

Mom preferred fieldwork to housework, so Brenda performed the chicken chores, and she said she must have prepared the meals. Priscilla said Mom had special field work attire: shorts that came to the knee, a sleeveless blouse, and a cap. “She’d grab an apple for lunch and would stay in the field until it was done,” Pris said.

Nine: trips to Huron

Priscilla remembered shopping at Farmer's Market for groceries. And Brenda recalled fond memories after piano lessons in Huron. “Afterwards, Mom would take Priscilla and me to the Double H to get a cone. Mom always ordered banana ice cream,” Brenda said.

Final Thoughts

It seems like Mom has missed more than ten birthdays on this earth. Each year it gets a little easier thinking about her on that day, for I know if she could, she wouldn't want to leave her heavenly home. But that doesn't make me miss her any less.

What childhood routines do you remember with a loved one? Do you have any relatives that did men's work and women's? How have your Saturday routines changed since childhood?


  1. Melodie ... I'm exhausted just reading about all your mom did. We are so blessed today to have things a bit easier ... and we still can barely manage. I like her Saturday routine of cleaning house ... my friend's mother is the same. Since I've added more writing to my schedule, I've thought about doing the same. I've usually always tried to have the house clean for the weekend, so we could spend time together with less cleaning. But ... cleaning can actually be a fun way to spend time together if you recruit help! Probably good for the kids, too ... helping them learn more.

    1. She slowed down quite a bit by the time I was a teenager (I am 14 years younger than my youngest sister). When I was around seven, seems like Mom never slowed down, but it wasn't like that the last 20 years of her life. We'd deep clean in the summers. And yes, it is time well-spent together! Thanks for commenting, my friend.