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Mothers… Wonderful and Resourceful

Nothing beats the love of a mother.  And mine is no different.  She is so positive and always proud of whatever I choose to do.  Along with her, I see so many wonderful older people these days and think of their knowledge and experience and what they have seen in their lifetimes.
My mother was age 7 when the Great Depression hit.  She grew up right in the middle of financial disaster.  Her family homesteaded 640 acres in northern Idaho so they always had a garden, cattle, horses and hunted deer and elk for meat. But they had to learn to make due with what they had in order to survive. This resourcefulness is something she has passed on to me — along with a solid work ethic, which has served me well for many years. It has been the financial foundation for the way in which I live my life. 
I have loved to talk with her about her life as a child and young teen during the Great Depression, and how they made ends meet when times were extremely lean. One of the things I have asked Mom is how they kept meat from spoiling because they had no refrigeration system at the time. She said that her neighbors were all about 5 to 10 miles apart, and they would share a deer they killed.  They would cook it up quickly or smoke it so it would not spoil.  But each neighbor took turns going out into the mountains and killing an elk or deer, then splitting it up among them.
To deal with the emotional aspects of a financially difficult time, Mom said that once a month all the women would drive, or take a buggy to the town library and visit for most of a day on a selected book they had read.  This would be called “the women’s book club.” These isolated women would never be able to speak to anyone outside of their own family for the whole month, so they looked forward to this book club day.
As far as her schooling, Mom said that three children were in her age group and they would gather for school once or twice a week.  She rode her horse to school, unless it had snowed, then she didn’t go.  And during the fall harvest of alfalfa, she never attended school.  She was determined to graduate from high school, so she moved away from her parents to Boise to go to school her senior year there so  she could.
My mother also remembers World War II very well.  Her brother was killed in Europe during the last week of the war.  It was from him that I received my name. She said that almost every family in her town had lost one member of their family in the war.
To make ends meet, my mother became a seamstress and could sew anything.  She made her dresses out of flour sacks.  Her mother was very talented and resourceful too, by painting and selling china dishes.
I was with my mother when the first man landed on the moon in 1969.  She has watched all of her seven children grow up and marry and have 37 grandchildren.  She is so proud of all that her children have done and are doing.  She is about to have her 128th great-grandchild.  Can you imagine what my mother has seen in her lifetime? She learned resourcefulness at a young age — how to make due with what was already on hand and how to use wisely anything new that was acquired. She has taught me much of that resourcefulness, for which I am grateful. 
We can learn so much from these loving and knowledgeable folks.  It has been said, when an elderly person dies, it is like a library burning to the ground.  I suggest we take the time to listen and learn from our parents and grandparents while they are available.  I have done this with my mother and love her for her willingness to share her knowledge and experience with me.

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