Living On Love


Jeannie, finally thriving, is the babe in arms.Baby Kathy is  already on the way here, and we are in our finest duds, thanks to the generous grandma in Pittsburgh we all call “Mum”.

People always say that you can’t live on love, but they didn’t grow up in my family. It was love that kept my sister Norma Jean alive, the sickly one we called “Baby”. She was barely able to keep anything down in her tiny underdeveloped stomach, and she wasn’t gaining any weight after coming home from the hospital. The doctor had quite bluntly told my mother “You’d better hurry up and get this one baptized.” All sorts of baby formulas were tried in succession, with no change in Baby’s condition, until finally one that was digestible was found. This,of course, happened to be the formula of all formulas, the premium deluxe version! It would have been the most expensive item on the menu-board, at Starbucks for Babies if such a place existed! “Wonderful news Mum! Baby is finally gaining weight!” Mummy shared excitedly, in a rare phone call from Pittsburgh. (Sadly, her family had sold out and returned to their former homeland. The soil on their farm was not sandy tobacco land, as the unscrupulous relative who  had sold it to them from a distance had promised, and they could not make a living.) “Sorry, you can’t talk to Bill right now, he’s away for a few weeks working…” The kind of work that my father was doing at any given time could easily be read on his hands. In the winter season when the work load on the farm he had bought from his parents decreased to the point that my grandfather could handle it alone, Dad’s finger nails were often cracked and broken. Working with wet mortar and cement, putting in  foundations for a construction company did that to them. Sometimes his fingers were red, cracked and bleeding from holding nails in a gloveless hand, while working on a framing crew in the coldest weather. His hands could even feel as rough as the roughest sandpaper he sometimes used, whenever he would pat your  cheek  as he gave you a goodbye kiss! We missed Daddy terribly during those times when he needed to stay put in a distant town in midwinter, to be where the work was. When he returned though,it was to a family that was well fed, well clothed and healthy. And now, Baby was gaining weight! You can so live on love!

About Yvonne's Musings

Being the second of eight kids born in 11 years to my busy parents ultimately was a real advantage to me. I learned very early that if you wanted to be heard amidst all the noise the best way to accomplish it was to write your thoughts down. My first post to my mother," i hate skool. i cried at skool tooday!" was stuck with ABC chewing gum to the lid of the diaper pail, where I was certain that she would find it. Her attention quickly elicited in me a love of writing that has been life long. Seeking a wider audience I have decided to now, decades later, blog. Happy reading Mom! This is for you!

One response »

  1. Your memory and eloquence are unmatched, Yvonne, Once again the memories are bittersweet.
    No one made more sacrifices that our dear Mom and Dad. I remember missing Dad when he was away… I remember his sore hands. He did it all for love, and our Mom did the same, holding down the fort at home. Though Mom trained us well to help even at a young age, and it was a gift.

    As for “Baby”, she grew up delicate and beautiful. And to our envy, she has never had to worry about a weight problem.
    Love, Marsha

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