Hardship for Mom

My mom was probably one of the most unusual people you would ever meet.  I’m sure a lot of people say that.  But let me just give you a sampling.

My mother is a complicated person to describe.  When I was a small child she had me believing in gnomes and fairies.  With her words, I could imagine a magical, beautiful world filled with wonder and enchantment.

My doll house did not have Barbie living in it, but elves.  The moving neon lights outside the stores at night were lit and powered by small beings (elves again?) inside that were throwing levers and turning knobs to make them move.  Every mushroom was an umbrella for a tiny fairy!

My mother could cook a gourmet meal over an open campfire and tuck us into bed that night snug and warm.  We may be living in a tent, but we felt safe and secure.  Mom made sure of that.

My mother raised 4 of us kids, mostly by herself.  She had no real education.  She graduated from high school and her chosen profession was waitressing.

My mother’s Picker was broke.  You know, the thing inside us that we use to “Pick” a mate.  Hers never did work right.  She married 5 times.  Badly.

We lived on commodities, pinto beans, peanut butter and pancakes.  One of my favorite meals to this day is fried potatoes, pinto beans and cornbread.  This was a meal we ate often.

With the wages my mother made, things were very tight.  There was NO extra money.  Mom would make light of it and we would have a pancake eating contest that night at dinner.  Because pancakes was all there was to eat.  If there was no money to buy bread, our school lunches would be a sandwich made on a homemade biscuit.

My mother would go hungry if it meant one of her kids could be fed.  There were times when she did just that.

One of my mother’s “Picks” was a man that picked fruit for a living.  So we followed the fruit.  Doing so meant that we would live where we could while traveling.  It might be a “picker’s cabin”, which was basically just a wooden structure to keep the rain off of you.  Or we might be living in a tent or sleeping on the ground.

If you ever want a real eye opener about this kind of lifestyle, you should watch the YouTube video called Harvest of Shame.   This was broadcast on Thanksgiving Day in 1960.


This video is about an hour long.  You will be amazed and horrified at how these people were treated.   There is one man in the video that made the comment “we used to buy slaves, now we just rent them”.  He was referring to the migrant workers.

In this documentary, they show mostly black people, but in the 1960’s, more than 80% of the migrant workers in the US were white.  White families just like mine.

Despite the hardships of day to day living, I had no idea that we were “poor”.  I was a happy kid.  I was loved and cared for.

Looking back, my mom is the one that had the hardship, not us kids.


5 thoughts on “Hardship for Mom

  1. What a beautiful story about your mother – I took my 5 year old grand daughter out about a month ago looking for wood fairies, water fairies and flower fairies. I love using my imagination and the hopeful thought of magic. We also say the lighting bugs are really fairies.

    I know the meaning of growing up poor, having no food, relying on strangers, being moved in the middle of the night to a new city because it was a good idea, wearing homemade clothes from whatever material my mother could find in the discount bins….pinto beans, corn bread, fried potatoes was and always be my security meal.

    Hear Hear to the strong, supportive, and well rounded mothers who held her head up high, determined to make a better life for her children while crying silently at night so no one could hear her pain.


    Liked by 1 person

    1. I forgot about lightning bugs! Yes! They are magic too! Bless your heart for sharing the magic of your imagination with your granddaughter! Children need to remain children as long as we can let them! Thank you for your kind words Robin! I’m glad you liked the piece.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Kudos to you and your mother. 🙂

    You both did well considering your circumstances.

    Your mom sounds like a female Walt Disney — optimistic despite the rough real life situation she found herself and her family in.(“When you wish upon a star….”).

    I think a child has no real clue as to what is going on in their world. They know they feel safe, loved and cared for and that’s about it. For them life is a daily adventure and learning experience.

    My father passed away when I was nine years old. We were poor but never went hungry.

    The amazing thing about labels : they have meaning only if you give them any credence.

    When I was a kid I wore patches onthe knees of my blue jeans to school and thought it was normal.

    I went to school to learn and improve myself while the other kids in my class silently snubbed me and in effect treated me like “white trash”.

    That was alright because I granduated high shcool ( private school — preppy) , attended university and graduated and received a diploma in journalism.

    All this happened because my mom believed in herself and her kids and the world be damned.

    It was great to have a strong mother during those difficult years.

    Your mom be praised for being a proud and caring woman. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you Gerry. When it comes to writing, writing, writing, they say to write what you know. There will be more to come regarding my mother. She was Very strong in some ways. But in other ways , she was so vulnerable.
      As always, thank you for your kind words Gerry.


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