Thursday, December 29, 2016

My First Home and Other Non-related Musings

My Mom (pregnant with me) at their first home Mineral Springs, PA - 1941

Today is one of those days in which I cannot think of anything to write about.  Oh yes, I have THOSE days.  What do they call it?  "Writer's block?"  

I do have things I was tempted to write about but all too often I'm complaining or bitching about some perceived slight or lack of service or disrespect. But honestly folks, I do try to control my negative impulses, unlike a certain president elect we know of (mentioning no names here).

So what do I write about this Dead Week between Christmas and New Year's?  

I could write about the awful confluence of the deaths of Carrie Fisher and today Debbie Reynolds, only two days after her daughter died.  I always liked both of these women because of their authenticity and honesty. So rare these days.  Debbie and Carrie, we will miss you but your memories will always be with us.  I know that is a cliche but so true.  I'll always remember Debbie in "Singing in the Rain" and "The Unsinkable Molly Brown." So much energy and happiness.  And of course who could ever forget Princess Leia.  Rest in peace ladies.  

What I write about today is my first home.  It is pictured at the top of this blog.  That's my Mother, pregnant with me, standing in the lane to their rented ($5.00 a month), no indoor toilet nor running water, home in Mineral Springs, Pennsylvania.  Proof positive folks that I do indeed come from humble beginnings.  Literally dirt poor.

My Mother was sixteen years old at the time, rescued into marriage from a Cinderella like existence at her home with the wicked step mother.  Her name was "Margaret" and I remember her well.  One of my favorite bloggers will appreciate this, "Margaret" was of Hungarian ancestry (Soxso).  She was my grandfather's third wife (his first two died, my grandmother was his first wife and she died at age of 29 from a botched abortion).

Margaret and George (my grandfather and his third wife)

He divorced her when he found out she was unfaithful to him. In fact he came home one day and found her with another man, who he beat up, causing blood to be on the floor on the papers that covered the wet floor.  A story my Mother often told me.  I remember Margaret well.  When I was about eight years old I used to spend two weeks in the summer at their home in Compass, Pennsylvania.  

Me and my brother John in front of Aunt Mary's "bathroom" - a Two Seater

That was the first time I ever used an outhouse and lived in a house without electricity.  At night all you could hear was the ticking of the grandfather clock.  

I've forgotten a lot about my early years but I'll always remember those summers at Aunt Mary's house in the country and the smell of pine trees and the quiet of the night punctuated by the slow "tick" of her grandfather clock. 

These days, with all the turmoil in the world I often think back to those simpler days, with fondness and nostalgia. I guess it's true what my late friend The Cajun used to say about me "Ron, you live in the past."  He didn't say it in a kind way and I admit my feelings where hurt when he hurled that statement at me but I'll say this, I often get a lot of comfort thinking of my past, my wonderful past. The older I get the more I appreciate it and look forward to the day when I will have my final rest. 


Travel said...

It is not where we come from, but where we have gone in life, that determines where we are today. In 1978, a couple of years after my paternal grandfather died, my grandmother bought a house near my parents home in Florida. It was the 4th home that she had bought in her lifetime (and last.) She remarked, that it was the first home she had bought that had in indoor bathroom when she bought it. How things have changed in your lifetime.

Jack said...

I personally like to remember my early days, especially as I grow older. Those days were slower paced and memorable. What we had back then can not be had today as life has become too complicated, too many "things" to maintain ie washing machines, whole house wi-fi etc. I mention your most recent problems only because you are not the only one who has these and many other problems that progress is designed to make life easier but does create a whole different set of problems that didn't exist as few as 30 to 40 years ago. Life back then was simpler if not harder but we didn't have to call someone to fix the wash board and the telephone and radio were pretty dependable forms of communication. Of course now we cannot do without the modern conveniences we have and I agree that life is easier but I am old enough to appreciate the less complicated way of life we lived when we were growing up.
By the way, we do not live in the past, we lived the past and that is part of what we are today.
Wishing you and Bill a joyous and healthy new year.

Unknown said...

if I don't write I think people would be thankful

nitewrit said...


Didn't realize you started out up above State Collage. Then you moved down below Intercourse. What years were you there and when did you land in Downingtown? I was never that far from Downingtown in my first months of life. Modena and then Whitford, then D-town, all within 1941. And they all had indoor plumbing.


Ron said...

Never in my younger years would I have imagined the technological advancements that we live with today. I have witnessed and lived through a lot in my seventy-five years. Amazing.

Ron said...

You are so right about life being so complicated today. My Mother used to do all the family business on our kitchen table. She didn't need a computer to pay her bills. Also, products didn't break down as often as they do today. Life was simpler back then and harder but we were used to it so we didn't think much of it. One thing I will always remember is my Mother doing our wash then putting it through the wringer and hanging the clothes out to dry. No automatic washer but at least she didn't have to use a washing board like she did when she was a young girl.

Ron said...

I'll have to check out your writings.

Ron said...

Mineral Springs wasn't above State College. It's outside Coatesville. Also, we didn't move below Intercourse. We were never far from Downingtown, where my Mother was born and lived. We moved to Washington Avenue in 1948 from Towerville, which is out on King's Highway towards Intercourse.

Jon said...

The memories of Margaret made me smile. There's never a dull moment when a Hungarian is around....
I always enjoy these trips down Memory Lane, because - as I've often said - our past is the foundation of what we are today. It's important to remember the past. And I certainly appreciate those simpler times. Life nowadays is often a huge complication.

I like that outhouse photo. Ironically, my grandfather clock is near the bedroom and I hear it ticking all night long.

Unknown said...

Hi Ron, I always get a kick out of your blog posts and musings! And I thought I had it rough when I was in grade school. For the first 6 years of my life my folks lived in a house that didn't have central air. It was my Great Grand Parent's house, with my Mom's parents and my folks. I also remember one of my Dad's uncles had a farm house in NE North Dakota, With no running water and they too had an outhouse. the hand pump well just up the hill. :-) My Dad has some stories about spending Summers out there. Happy New Year to you my friend and many more to come! Randy in NEB.

Ur-spo said...

lovely post
may the new year be good for you.

Father's Day 2021

  Pop making his favorite vegetable soup from veggies grown from his own garden - 1978 two years before his death. My father never had a gra...