Penny's Blog

« Can I Dream This Big? | Main | Little Ways to Save »


My Mom

I thought that I would write about my mom this time. Our relationship changes daily and she died a year and a half ago. 

She was the reason that I became a bookkeeper. I was always amazed that she could pull a $20 bill out of her purse on any given day. No matter what financial situation she was in, it was always there.
She told me that when she and my dad bought their first house on the east side of Madison, my dad's take home pay was $100 and their bills totaled $99. I don't think they had any wiggle room! 

My dad had a lot of part-time jobs. I knew he was a very hard worker, but, I just didn't understand when I was young, why he was gone all the time. I missed him.
My mom was a stay-at-home mom, like most of the mothers in our neighborhood. They had Saturday night parties once a month. It was so fun. It was a great street to live on.
My mom was different from the other mothers, though, she had agoraphobia. She didn't venture far from home. She even told me that for a while, she was afraid to go to the mailbox. I felt sorry for her.
It made her nervous and cranky a lot. We didn't go on vacations like the other families did.
Me and my brother had a lot of board games that we could play. We had to become inventive being at home all of the summer. We made tents on the clotheslines and slept out in the backyard. We made a spaceship out of a new dryer box that my dad saved. We could imagine a lot of fun places to fly to.
Our clothes dryer had started on fire and our house became famous in the neighborhood for a while. The firemen put it out right away, so there wasn't much damage. My favorite nightgown was burned up and I cried when my dad came home from work in the middle of the day.
We walked to school every day, it was so close. I was really surprised when my mom showed up one day at the school. It was pretty far for her to go away from her safety area, AND she had red lipstick on. She only wore that when she was going to church. I knew something was up. Since I hadn't done anything wrong, that day, I knew that my brother was in trouble. Yikes!
I just realized the other day that I am the same age as my mom was when my beautiful dad died. It was in 1992. He was 58 and he died from lung cancer. He smoked since he was in high school. Stupid cigarettes!
I remember my mom wondering what she was going to do for income. My dad had a small pension from Woodman's, he hadn't worked there for very long and he also had a small pension from Oscar Mayer’s. He was forced to take retirement when Kraft took over and downsized. Anyone with less than 25 years had to retire. He had 23 years in. My mom got $50 a month from that! Wow!
My mom was too young to get social security from my dad, because she was only 53. She worked close to home part-time as a cook at our churches daycare. It just wasn't enough to pay the bills.
So she and my Aunt, her sister, went to MATC to get their childcare certificates. What a giant step for her to ride that far and to find courage inside to finish a class. They opened a daycare in my Aunt's home.
My mom was able to take my dad's small retirement and save a little nest egg and purchase a house a block away from my Aunt's house. Amazing!
I wish I could tell her how proud I am of her accomplishments at the time. But, I can't. I wish I could tell her that I am at the same crossroads as she was at the time.
Wanting a house and reaching out to summit for a plan to save up for a house. At my age, who would have thought!



feed You can follow this conversation by subscribing to the comment feed for this post.

Very thouching, Penny. Thank you for sharing.

One of the clearest definition of whom our father was, was when he had all those jobs at once. Had the main job, then at one point KICKAPOO gas station and then the two churches as their janitor (with uncle Frank). He did this because it was necessary. He didn't complain, he put his head down and worked hard. After he passed, our family somehow had to go on. Mom took what she learned from dad and got a job as cook. Imagine being a stay at home mom for years and then one day you need to find a job for yourself. She, like our father, didn't complain. She put her head down and worked hard. We both have things we'd want to share but we're not able. We are not in control.

What we can control is how we wake up every morning. How we live each day in their names. They're alive in us and will always be there. There we control all that really matters.

Verify your Comment

Previewing your Comment

This is only a preview. Your comment has not yet been posted.

Your comment could not be posted. Error type:
Your comment has been posted. Post another comment

The letters and numbers you entered did not match the image. Please try again.

As a final step before posting your comment, enter the letters and numbers you see in the image below. This prevents automated programs from posting comments.

Having trouble reading this image? View an alternate.


Post a comment

Penny's Posts
Penny's Progress
Meet Mary Johnson - Penny's Coach
Penny on Facebook

Recent Comments

Follow Their Journeys...