Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Mom's Autobiography

My sister recently found several typewritten pages of autobiographical information written by our mother, Joyce Parker Orshoski, and she graciously made copies for her siblings.

In her autobiography, Mom discussed her childhood, with many days of it spent at her paternal grandparents' farm in Perkins Township. Her brother Tom, when he heard his new baby sister's name was "Joyce Emada," thought her name was "Choice Tomato." Mom enjoyed ice skating on the pond near the farm, and playing for hours with her cousins in the fields and barn slopes. Though she grew up during the Depression, the animals and crops raised on the farm always provided the extended family with plenty to eat. Radio programs were the main source of entertainment for Mom and her family. Tickets for the movies, then known as "picture shows," cost only ten cents!

At a relatively young age, Mom lost her parents; her mother died when she was 11, and her dad died when she was 17. Her grandparents and stepmother helped fill the gaps left by the loss of her parents. It was fun to read about my parents' courtship. After marrying in 1950, they bought a house in Crystal Rock for $5,000, with the help of the GI Bill. From 1951 through 1966, Mom and Dad had a total of six children. Television programs replaced radio as the most popular form of home entertainment, and life was hectic with so many children. Most all my parents' married life, there was only one paycheck. Wonderful neighbors shared the many joys and milestones that go along with raising large families. Ball games, picnics, and many birthday parties were shared in the neighborhood.

As time passed by, Mom's grandparents, aunts, and uncles passed away, and her brother and sister moved away. She made new friends, but also stayed connected to her lifelong school friends though two different "Clubs" that met monthly. Mom became a widow at age 51. She had to re-invent herself, often working two part-time jobs to pay the bills, and to continue her ever present hobby of Christmas shopping all year long. She also found time to volunteer at area nursing homes, Stein Hospice, and for many years she directed a Children's Choir at her church. Mom reflected back on dad's deep love for her, and she said that Dad had given her "the only real security she had ever known in her lifetime."

She also said that Dad told her when someone died, they were better off by far than anyone on earth, for they were at last at peace. She said that when her time on this earth was done, she looked forward to going to Heaven, and seeing Dad, and her parents, and grandparents, and so many aunts and uncles.

It was a privilege to read Mom's recounting of her childhood, and her years as a mom, grandmother, and great grandmother, and to learn how she faced the challenges of life, loss, financial setbacks, and the great joy she found in her large, loving family.

Pictured below are just some of Mom's grandchildren and great grandchildren, at a family gathering in April, 2008.

I encourage you to write down (or write a blog post about) your childhood memories, or interview an older relative to learn about the experiences they had throughout their life.


Kellie said...

Nice blog! Paul and Todd don't have their copy yet...

Dorene from Ohio said...

All in good time :)

lindalee said...

WOW....what a delightful find for you and your family. I LOVED the "choice tomato" comment...gave me a good laugh this a.m. You are SOOO correct....write down your experiences for others at a later time.

Gale Wall said...

A treasure remembered!