My Parents and ME

I was so fortunate to grow up in a wonderfully typical family.  We didn't have tons of money, but we had wonderful parents who raised us with lots of love and good values, which we have tried to pass on to our own kids.

Our parents taught us that "money" wasn't EVERYTHING, that "hate" is a really strong word which shouldn't be used lightly, and that family and friends is something to be cherished.  I THINK my brothers and I have tried to live up to our parents' expectations.  I KNOW my parents were always very proud of us, and also their grandchildren.

My mother could do anything she tried to . . . and believe me, she tried lots of things.  She sewed up a storm, knitted, crocheted, baked and decorated beautiful cakes, painted with oils, acrylics, and watercolor paint.  Mum created things for her different organizations with whatever materials would do the trick.  She would use construction paper, plastic bottles, tissue paper, cans . . . you name it, she'd use it! 

She knew how to use all kinds of tools for all kinds of jobs.  She could do plumbing, gardening, carpentry, electrical work, furniture refinishing/painting.  She was the "Contact Paper Queen"!  Watch out!  If it wasn't brand new, it was a possible contact job . . . boxes, walls, desks, refrigerators . . . I mean ANYTHING was a possible contact paper project!

My mother sewed clothes for me, (and herself and many others) while I was growing up and even ended up sewing my wedding gown!  I was so worried that I would hate my wedding dress and wouldn't want to wear it.  She assured me that I shouldn't worry.  Mum was right!  I loved that dress and was soooo proud of her and the dress.  I was also proud of her for making the dress she wore to the wedding.  (I was also proud of my grandmother for the dress she made and wore to the wedding!  See, the apple doesn't fall far from the tree.)

Mum inherited her artistic talent from her mom.  My grandmother was very artistic.  She painted and even earned money painting for a card company when she was younger.  Mum got those artist genes and passed them on to me, and to my daughter, Sandi, too.  I don't sew much, but when the need/desire was there, I sewed . . .  dresses for me, costumes for Lenny and I, and then for the kids.  I sewed a couple of dresses and other clothes for Sandi.  I didn't sew as much as my mom, but I was really proud of the things I did make. 

I never really learned how to decorate a cake, but when the kids had a birthday party, a beautifully decorated cake would "magically" appear that morning.  I used the "artist gene" from my mom (and stayed awake all night ) to decorate those cakes!  I think Mum was proud of me and the cakes I made.

I always showed artistic talent and majored in Advertising Art.  I never finished the college course, but I use my "talent" making school forms, bulletins, flyers and newsletters.  My daughter, using those artistic genes from her great grandmother, grandmother and me, graduated college with a degree in Graphic Design and is working in that field!  Mum would be so thrilled!  I do hope she is watching Sandi from above.

I also got my mother's "fix it" abilities from my mom.  I could NEVER be the "Contact Paper Queen" that she was, but I can use tools like the best of 'em!  With no training I've repaired major damages in plaster walls, done some electrical repairs, was given a plumber's discount at the hardware store, . . . and . . . even replaced the water pump, thermostat and several hoses in one of my old cars!

Thank you Mum and Gram for those special genes!

From my dad I learned not to give up.  I learned that if you try hard enough you can accomplish anything. 

It was not easy for him growing up legally blind.  (Legally blind means he could see some stuff, but not much and never clear.)  He worked with his father, brother and others in the family owned Brody Furniture Co.  He didn't have to be able to read the tags for descriptions or price, because he KNEW them.  He learned and remembered.

In 1956, when my father was 40 years old, the furniture business went bad.  My parents decided to follow my mother's parents to Los Angeles and start a whole new life out here.  Dad immediately got a job at a furniture store, but even though he could sell ANYTHING to ANYONE, he couldn't read the small print on the tags and contracts.  It was just too hard for him to keep that job. 

My parents bought a laundromat and learned a whole new business.  They put in long hard hours for several years.  They made enough money to take care of us, but it was never what they had hoped it would be. 

I don't remember what year it was or how old my father was, but I realize now that he was old enough to need a special strong kind courage to start a totally new career in the food service business.  Not only did he start a new career, but he did great at it! 

My brothers and I were always proud of Dad, but never more than after my mother passed away.  Many  people told us that when two people were together as long as my parents were, that when one passed away, the survivor usually could not go on alone for more than two years.  My father not only proved these people wrong, but also learned to do things that he had never done before.  He learned to use their washer and dryer and do all his own laundry.   (I had to darken the important parts of the dials with marker so he could see them.)  He learned to cook things he had never cooked before, including chicken soup with matzo balls to bring to family dinners.  And he learned to dole out gifts for birthdays, anniversaries, graduations, and other occasions . . . . that was strictly my mom's job!!!  It was hard for him, but he did it well . . . and loved it!

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Tribute to My Parents