My mother, Elizabeth Ann (Sharp) Pemble, combined with the School of Hard Knocks, are greatly responsible molding me to be the person I am today. Many of my personality traits and looks are inherited from my father’s side, but my mother is the one that spent the greater amount of time trying to shape me up to be a responsible, productive citizen of society. I’m sure it wasn’t an easy task.
My mother’s was a generation raised during the Great Depression and only a few generations removed from those immigrating from foreign lands, in this case Sweden and Scotland. When asked about living during the Great Depression she said, “We couldn’t tell the difference since we always lived that way.” Frugal living, hard work, get up the next day and do it all again.
Mom ran the household while Dad ran the implement business. She did all the farm books, took care of all the paperwork, filing and organization and any other task Dad would request of her. She always wanted Dad to learn where all of the important papers were located, but he refused saying, “I’m going to die first, so I don’t need to know.” He was right again.
She also cooked delicious meals for the family and hired farm help, sewed most of the wardrobes for herself, my sister and me, and later on, grandchildren. Chickens were raised for eggs to sell at Stankey’s Store, she butchered her own chickens, and canned immense quantities of produce from her huge garden. A trip to town, church or Ladies Aid required her hair and clothing looking nice and she would never forget to put her lipstick on.
Grandchildren would often be found playing, rough housing and participating in a variety of activities at the farm. She would comment, “These kids have more fun in one day than I had throughout my whole childhood.” She didn’t talk much of her own years growing up.
Mother spent many hours preparing for family events at the farm, such as barbecue picnics, lefse making and her photography slide shows. I guess I can credit her for my obsession with photography.
Christmas traditions were important, with the annual cookie church complete with colored tissue paper in the lighted cookie window openings (I’m pretty sure I would hear a cuss word or two during the baking process), beer cheese soup with her home-canned beef for sandwiches, divinity, fudge, and a brown sugar fudge called penoche.
Once, while she was in a “tizz” before an event she told me ( and herself), “I’m making memories for the grandchildren so it’s worth all the work.”
Happy Mother’s Day in heaven, Mom, and thanks for the memories.
You not only have it all together now, but you also have it all.