- How has a member of your family influenced you?
- Put downs by family members have stuck with me all my life. My step mother always told me that I was the smart one and my sister the pretty one. I'm not exactly ugly and my sister is smart too. She was also the one that told me I had a brown thumb and it was only last year that I set out to prove her wrong. My dad convinced me that for a smart girl I was still pretty dumb.
- For a positive influence I would have to say first, my mom. She has shown me that I can deal with whatever life throws at me. Secondly my kids continue to force me to look at things in new and different ways. They have brought joy into my life.
- How often did you see extended family (e.g., aunts, uncles, cousins), and what was it like when you all got together?
- The only relatives that we saw on a regular basis were my paternal grandparents. I remember going to visit them by myself. As a family we would go to their house for dinner, probably on holidays. My father's brother and his family lived in Philadelphia, NY and we would see them once in a while when they came to Syracuse. My mother's family all lived out of state. I've seen my uncle and his son four times. I met my mother's sister once and I've never met her daughters. John has a very large, very close, extended family and I was quite overwhelmed at family gatherings when we first met.
- What kind of traditions did/does your family observe? Were there special ways you celebrated birthdays? Holidays?
- My brother and sister share a birthday. A local department store had a birthday club where you could get a pie for your birthday so we always had both cherry pie and birthday cake for their birthdays. Birthday cakes were special because they were full of treasure. After they were baked mom would cut slits and hide coins wrapped in waxed paper. She also had a set of little tokens that she hid as well. I looked for them at her house this week but couldn't find them. It was a fun tradition and I don't know why I didn't continue it with my kids.
- Did your family have pets?
- We had cats. They never really liked me much. I remember tying the Christmas tree to the drapery rod to keep the cat from knocking it over and hanging the glass ornaments up high to keep them from being batted around.
- John is allergic to cats so in 1990 we went to the shelter in Batavia and got a dog for the kids. She was just a mutt who didn't mind terribly well and I used to call her RottenMutt. The kids named her Amanda. She was great with the kids but didn't do as well with the grandkids when they came along. She moved with us three times and really became John's dog. She died two years ago and I miss her. When the grandkids were little they sorted out their grandparents by our dog's names. We were Grandma & Grandpa Amanda, my ex was Grandpa Phoenix, etc.
- What foods did you family enjoy? Was there a special dish that was always on the table at family get-togethers?
- When we were kids we had beef and potatoes almost every night except Friday when Dad would pick up haddock on his way home so I hated Fridays. I looked forward to holidays. Turkey for both Thanksgiving and Christmas and ham on Easter. We did always sit and eat as a family.
- We still eat together at the table. Turkey is no longer reserved for holiday's. Usually when we have a large group get together we have baked ziti. There is no one item that you can count on being on the table but you can count on there being too much! No one ever leaves the table until well stuffed with both food and conversation.
Mom didn't have too much to say this week about this topic. Maybe she'll be more receptive next week. I was surprised to learn that they had chicken or duck at Thanksgiving rather than turkey. She did say that the tradition of money in birthday cakes started with my grandma Berry. Mom then saw the tokens in a magazine ad and bought them to add.
My Childhood Home
Carlisle Family Home
Syracuse Baby Camp
Fun and Games in the 60's & 70's
Fun and Games in the 1930's
My School Memories
Mom's School Memories