Had a wonderful talk with my mom over tea, out in the backyard (in our jackets - a bit chilly but sunny). The girls raked up piles of leaves to jump in, when they got bored they went inside to watch cartoons. But we stayed outside, Mom sharing lots of memories of her father and her childhood; I tried to remember some. I've been after mom to finish her father's biography she started years ago; I also want her to write her own biography. But in the mean time, I'm capturing as many memories as possible. This blog serves as my own autobiography of sorts, and I hope my children will someday treasure memories of their grandmother too. I know I treasure my grandmother's autobiography (Alfaretta) and wish I had captured more details about my other grandmother's life before she died (Gladys).
Mom remembers during World War II, her dad bringing home balloon cloth from his work at Goodyear, wrapped around his waist and covered by his clothes (because they weren't supposed to take it). Her mom would use it to make sheets, pillowcases, aprons. Mom remembers giving an embroidered aprons as gifts when invited to birthday parties. One girl received no less than 4 aprons as gifts once. Mom does not like aprons to this day. Her older sisters taught her to embroider.
Her dad was allowed a gasoline ration to drive to work since his job at Goodyear was considered war-essential. He would pick anybody walking along the road to take them into town. He had a big drum that would get filled with gasoline, which he had to provide gas coupons to get; there were few gas stations.
Once one of her dad's friends showed him his "hoard" where he kept a large supply of black market items, sugar and make-up and other hard-to-come-by things. The man told her dad to take anything he needed since he knew they had a large family, but he wouldn't take anything because he disapproved of the black market.
There was a fire in the part of the house that is now the apartment when Mom was fourteen and her mother was pregnant. Though the fire never reached the main house, it did fill up with smoke, and there was a lot of smoke damage. The first thing her mom grabbed to take out of the house was a radio phonograph that her dad had won in a contest for inventive ideas. Her mom miscarried possibly due to the strain of carrying things out of the house.
Mom remembers her dad giving her an idea for one of her classes, that to transfer goods from the port of Cleveland to outlying towns a huge conveyor belt could be built raised above the ground like an elevated train.