Monday, May 21, 2012

52 Weeks of Abundant Genealogy: Ancestor Tales of Hardship

The prompt for Week 21 of 52 Weeks of Abundant Genealogy, from Amy Coffin at We Tree, and hosted by Geneabloggers, is:

Ancestor Tales of Hardship: In genealogy, there are plenty of clouds in the form of sad stories and hardships faced by our ancestors. These tales should not be forgotten because descendants can learn from them. Share with us a particular ancestor’s hardship story. How did these events impact your life?

Hardships that my mother, Joyce Parker Orshoski (pictured to the left in 1947), went through in the early 1940s were several. It was the Great Depression, and money was scarce. Also, Mom lost her mother Doris when she was only eleven years old, in 1943. Besides those significant events, World War Two was going on, and eventually Mom's dad went off to England to serve with the SeaBees. These series of difficulties in the 1940s affected Mom for the rest of her life, and indirectly affected all of her children as well. Mom was very, very frugal. She would keep towels and undergarments for years, even if they became threadbare. She felt that she should "make do" with what she had, to save the money on hand for something we needed more. We rarely ate out at restaurants when I was young, because it was more economical to have meals at home. When older cousins in the extended family out grew their clothes, Mom welcomed the "hand me downs" to get some more mileage out of those garments. Instead of going to the beauty shop, Mom curled the girls' hair with pin curls. (She later advanced to sponge rollers for little sister Kellie.) And who could forget the home permanents. They really smelled terrible! Mom also felt that family togetherness was very important. Her mother died from cancer, and her father went off to war, so she knew that life was fleeting, and we should make the most of our time together. Though we did not have an abundance of money, we had wonderful times together as a family. We went to the beach, the park, more ball games than I can recall, and we often had "company" on Sundays. Sometimes Dad would do plumbing for a family, and instead of paying Dad, they would have our entire family over for a dinner. Mom and Dad saw to it that all six of their children took part in church and school events, and they attended every concert, play, and sporting event that any of us took part it. My growing up years were so wonderful, even though our fun was "home spun." Mom's loss of her mother, and her lack of financial resources in her youth, caused her to be creative in creating memories. She succeeded so very well! As time went by, the family did get to go on vacations, and Mom traveled in her later years quite often. She eventually was able to indulge in a wide variety of clothes, jewelry, and she contributed significantly to the Kodak company with all the pictures she got developed!

Dad also grew up in the Great Depression, and the way it affected him was to think of others more than himself. My dad, Paul Orshoski, Sr., is pictured to the left with his younger brother Cliff, and his nephew, Luther Gantz, Jr. about 1945, when he was home on leave from the U.S. Navy. Dad was always there to lend an encouraging word, a smile, or to help with whatever task was on hand. He showed us by example how to live the Golden Rule in a practical way. The hardships my parents endured in their early years helped to shape who they were, and they in turn helped form the character of their six children as well. Truly the hardships my parents experienced were a blessing in disguise!

Click here to view a previous blog post that shows the Orshoski family growing throughout the years.


PalmsRV said...

Dorene, I can relate to the home perms and few restaurant outings. Love that beautiful picture of your Mom. Cathy @ palmsrv

Dorene from Ohio said...

Thanks so much for stopping by, Cathy!
Sometimes I still run across old photos of my folks that are new to me....