Friday, February 7, 2014


The mind is a wonderful thing, and it’s strange the things people remember.

That's Aunt Ruth, fifth from the left in the front row.
My mom is the one with 'attitude', the one with the 'boyish bob',seated three more from the left.
That's Aunt Louise, second from the right in the top row.
I remember...

…that mother said my grandmother would call to my Aunt Ruth: “Come here you homely little redhead.” (Geeeeze)  And while her sisters always had their hair curled, my mother was always given what she called a ‘boyish bob’. You can see the three of them in their school picture. They lived in Evanston, just blocks off of Lake Michigan, and they enjoyed the summers there. They were all good swimmers.  My mom tanned very easily, and evidently she tanned very deeply when she was young. She said one day some ladies chased her off the beach saying that they didn’t allow little black boys there. Mom thought that was a lark.

...they lived near Lake Michigan, but several summers they traveled to Delavan Lake in Wisconsin. My mother said that my grandmother was not too appreciative of this because she and Tante Fine had to pack up everything and everyone and set up housekeeping in a strange place when they could have been comfortable at home at the home lake.  Evidently, before the crash, they had quite a bit of money from my grandfather’ inventions. Mom said that her mother, Tante Fine, and her sister Lou had fur coats, and the older boys were sent away to school to Campion Jesuit High School in Prairie Du Chien, Wisconsin.

…that after the crash they lived in Menands and then moved ‘next door’ to Albany, New York. My husband and I lived very near there, and one day, oh about twenty years ago, Mom and I took a drive to see if we could find where she’d lived.  She recognized a lot of Menands, and Albany’s Vincentian High School where my Uncle Peter had gone, and Washington Park, but we couldn’t locate either of her homes.

I think they must have moved there around 1931 or so when my mother was in high school, perhaps a freshman. I say this because in New York State you study state history in that grade, and she had just come from Evanston, Illinois, knowing nothing about New York.  On one history test the students were asked to draw the outline of New York State. My mother was lost, but the teacher came by and whispered “draw the number 4,” and that was close enough.

My mother remembered that her mother shopped at many stores across the Hudson River from Menands in Troy, a much bigger town. My Germanic grandmother must have had the soul of a Scot, and in those hard times in the 30’s she made every nickel count. Mom remembered seeing her mother on the way home one day, crossing the bridge from Troy, carrying a whole pork leg over her shoulder.  That fed the family for a long time.  Mom remembered once having porcupine. My grandfather would go hunting and whatever he shot they ate.

My older uncles worked in Troy for Cluett Peabody and Company, the manufacturers of men’s removable shirt collars and, later, Arrow shirts. Eventually, when they moved back to Richmond Hill, my mother along with, I think, both Uncle Fred and Uncle Peter, worked for them in New York City.

My second-cousin Karl is the keeper of the family archive for our Drucker family, my mothers’ family. He’s been researching our history and collecting stories and pictures from all of us. These Things I Remember postings are pieces from of one of the letters I sent to him.

My mother was a hoot - she's looking right at me in this picture.
 I think I've inherited some of her attitude.

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