---Alice Abrams

Tuesday, July 06, 2010

The Early Years

1. My mother, Marian circa 1943

2. My dad's college photo, circa 1938 3. Circa 1962

My folks had one of those marriages that no one believes. They never argued or quarreled. I never once heard their voices raised in anger - at each other. I caught it more than once...deservedly!

The bottom photo reminds me of the time my mom was taking down some wallpaper in this room. She sat down on the floor and started crying. I asked her what had happened, and she pointed to the wall and said, "Look!"

There it was, in painted one foot letters and spelling out "I love you, Mums!" They'd been clowning when they put up the wallpaper, and she'd forgotten all about it. It was like a living love letter for her. My dad was a darling when it came to birthdays and Christmas, but he was not outwardly romantic. He called her "Mums" to get her goat. I can't remember any pet names between them, but I never called them "Mom and Dad."

We had a ceramics business on our property and the women that worked there obviously addressed them by their first names, so I thought I'd do the same. One of my teachers once called them in for a meeting and raked them over the coals for not teaching me to respect them by using their names and not titles. They very quickly let her know that she was not going to meddle in the raising of their child.

Most folks couldn't get past this and several of my friends teased me and told me I was adopted! Believe it or not, I respected them more than a lot of kids who dutifully used the proper title for their parents....

During WWII, my dad was in the FBI, stationed on the east coast. Actually, he started out as a secretary in the L.A. office. That sounds so strange now, but men were secretaries back in the dark ages! That was also before anyone knew that J. Edgar favored red dresses in his spare time. We have several hand-signed letters from Hoover, just standard stuff, but interesting none the less.

Being stuck on the east coast (family was all in CA), my mom took chef's courses. That's one of the reasons I've had a weight problem all of my life! Everything we ate was covered in sauce, whether it was Lobster Newburg or Thermadore, crepes of all kinds, Eggs Benedict and desserts to die for! That's one thing I really miss, her cooking. (She passed away in '92 at 75. She found out she had cancer and was gone in three weeks. She was so fiercly independent that it was a blessing.)

They had a couple of businesses until they decided to open a business at Knott's. It was an obvious choice: My aunt worked in the office; my grandmother operated the nursery and flower shop; my mom's other sister owned and operated another shop.

More about Knott's to come!


Anonymous said...

I think whatever you call your parents is just fine as long as it is with respect and love!

I love the writing on the wall story!

Big hugs xo

Anonymous said...

wow, your mom and dad are great looking people and it is such a blessing to have such crisp, vivid pictures of them. What a great post!

Empress Bee (of the high sea) said...

i used to have that exact bouffant hair-do! i forgot all about that.

they were such a good looking couple! thanks for sharing honey.

smiles, bee

Sandee said...

To be raised in a home where there were no fighting, no yelling, how absolutely wonderful.

All that yummy food too. I'm hungry now.

I love your stores about your family. Very much.

Have a terrific day. Big hug. :)

Zane D. Clark said...

Wonderful memories.

Anonymous said...

Hi Miss Gracie:

Sorry I have not visited in awhile. Work and family have kept me busy.

Your past few posts are great. I very much appreciate your narrative style. You interweave details and the human element/spirit so very well. As I read them, I feel like I am sharing a conversation with you in the same room. You have quite the gift as a raconteur. I can tell how much your parents were a tremendous gift for/to you - not only for what they did and the example they provides but also for who they were (I hope this makes sense). The respect, honor, and love you have for them and their legacy shines through. I am so happy that you have such memories and photos. Thank you for sharing, and I look forward to learning more.

I hope you and your family are doing well and that the Summer heat has not been too bad. Take care!