Found this picture of a ripe tomato, and it took me back to the good ole days. We always had a large garden. Mom canned or froze everything in it. Except for what we pilfered when she wasn’t looking. I remember sitting on the picnic table in the back yard, ripe tomato in one hand, salt shaker in other. Never occurred to me to wash the tomato. Anything else I found either, for that matter. The taste was all that counted, and it tasted great, warm from the sun. Sitting on the table, cat beside me beggin’ for a bite. Prob’ly gave it one. Never thought about germs back then. Didn’t even worry about worms. Unless I saw half a worm. Cat always got that part.
My uncle Leo’s house was behind ours. We all grew up together. Well, to be honest, they are all younger, so I was their baby sitter. Walked there and back home each time. Leo sometimes made beer at home. He knew how. Knew how long before it was ready to drink. I tried it one night. Wasn’t ready yet. Don’t remember much about the rest of that night.
Mark bought the house when his mom died. It is completely changed now. But back then we didn’t know any boundary lines. We climbed the walnut tree in the summer, gathered the walnuts in the fall. Cracked the nuts with a brick in November and picked the meaty walnuts out. Probably ate more than we saved for baking, but black walnuts are a treasure. So hard to find now. The wood is treasured by furniture makers, so the trees are mostly gone. Not our tree though. Mark saved it. He treasures things like that too.
Mom always bought my coats large enough to last. I remember an iron-gray wool coat. Started wearing it in 7th grade. Wore it til I got my first job after graduating high school. Then it got passed down to Sylvie. That coat must have really been made of iron. Warm though. Not a lot of money back then. We wore it til it was too small, then passed it down to the next in line. A lot of my clothes came from older cousins and my Aunt Eleanor. She had a lot of nieces, so we got clothes in turns. My fave was a light gray silk with some yellow flowers in it. She made all of her clothes, so they were all “custom” designed. I wore that dress until I, um, outgrew it, then made a dress for Gina out of it.
The picture on the left is all of us, before Elaine was born, so just to be fair, the next one is Elaine stuffing her face with birthday cake and homemade ice cream. Mom made all the clothes, except for Larry’s tee, which was a hand-me-down from someone. Sylvie and I got new dresses, but it looks like the boys are all bustin’ out of their shirts. If I remember correctly my dress was aqua, and Syl’s was pink. I was so jealous. I always wanted a pink dress, but mom said I had such a pink complexion I couldn’t wear pink. How ’bout that hairdo? Pincurls. Sleeping in them was so much fun — NOT!!! And to think, that itty, bitty boy in front is now over six feet tall and has white hair! All of them are at least six feet tall (oops, Syl is 5 ft. 12 in.). and Elaine is 5 ft. 9 in. Which makes me, at 5 ft. 6 in. the shortest one in the family. Hahahaha. That also has given me a permanent crick in my neck from looking up at them all.