My Memory Juke Box

If I should put a dime into my memory jukebox I would probably get:

The time my third oldest brother talked me into planting my two pennies so that between the two of us we would have a penny tree. But when the horsedrawn bread wagon came around, he convinced me that we really shouldn't be so greedy, and besides those two pennies would buy us each a cookie from the bread man.

Or another dime might bring back this memory:

When my oldest brother was in high school, he helped organize the " Nutty Club-" They put on plays, had meetings and generally had a good time. But the time I am referring to, the Nutty Club was staging a play for Saint Mary's School where I was in the third grade. My big brother was doing the announcing, and I was sitting there very bashful, but very proud of this older brother. Then lo! and behold! He was announcing the second act by saying, " I want to dedicate this act to my little sister who always takes the biggest piece of pie." Every one of my classmates turned around to look at me and grin, and I didn't know if l should be proud for the recognition or ashamed because what he said about the pie was true. So I just sat there blushing.

Another dime would surely bring back this part of my childhood:

When I was eleven years old I had dropsy. 1 was out of school for a long time and was put to bed. When the doctor would press on my water-filled flesh it would leave an indentation.

Every evening after supper I was put through a sweat period, with fruit jars full of hot water wrapped in towels and enough of them to line both sides of my body, with all of the blankets in the house piled on my bed. The heat in the house was enough to make all of my brothers and sisters complain. My mother always waited until my father was there for this treatment. During the day was my regular medication and she must have felt that she had enough problems handling that, without trying to handle the sweat treatment too without the commanding voice of my father. This time also reveals my horror of taking medicine. I have never let my children know what a coward I was, but I do remember my mother crushing up my pills and stirring them into my milk or fruit juice, or I would flatly refuse to take them.

Or my memory jukebox will be sure to spill out:

Pearl Harbor! My youngest brother was one of the first ones from our town to enlist in the paratroopers, and while he was at boot camp receiving his training one of the fellows asked him why he never swore like most of the other guys.
My brother replied, " If you had a mother like mine you wouldn't swear either. The one and only time I tried it she caught me, and let me have it with her nearest weapon, her broom handle. That cured me for good." I remember the time very clearly, because I am four years older and with many guilt feelings admit to being the so-called blabbermouth.

Then another dime might bring up this memory:

My brother, who is fourth oldest ( you see, I had four brothers older and one brother younger than I), and I as preschoolers would sit in a corner behind our pot-bellied stove and he would tell me stories of Hansel and Gretel. I would sit there feeling so sad for this little brother and sister who couldn't find their way out of the woods. When this brother of mine grew up he joined the Holy Cross Brotherhood and worked many years on the Notre Dame campus, During these years he became a close friend of the now famous Knute Rockne.

My memory jukebox would never let me forget this one:

One particular spring, during housecleaning time, my mother was a great one to change things around. May I explain at this time that my father was raised at Saint Francis and was an orphan, but with his effects he inherited a tin-type picture of his dead mother. As soon as he was able to be out on his own and with some of the first money he earned, he had this picture enlarged and put into a beautiful frame. To my knowledge, this picture always hung above his favorite chair in the living room, and it was the first thing that you could see upon entering our home. Well, this spring my mother proceeded with her cleaning and changing things around. She decided she would put Grandma's picture in their downstairs bedroom and that her husband would be just as happy, because now he could glance at it just before retiring.
But Papa (as we called him then) was not just as happy.

When he came home from work we children were ready to eat supper, and Mom never let us "dig in" until Papa was in his place at the head of the table and we had said grace. Everything came to a grandstand halt until that picture of Grandma was put back in its place, And to this day no one has ever suggested a thing like that again, and my father has been dead for fifteen years,

Then surely this would be the next thing to come out of my jukebox:

Although I was very small, I remember my second oldest brother used to sit for hours with his new radio and earphones, when radios first came out. How I would enjoy watching the different expressions on his face, because for one thing he was so handsome, and another thing he would spring to my defense no matter what the situation.

Or when I, as a young lady, went out on dates. I was always in by eleven, and I shared a bedroom with two younger sisters who woke up early in the morning because they went to bed at eight. They used to lie in their bed and giggle and laugh and tell stories when I wanted to sleep, so after a little while of this I picked the two of them up and set them out in the hall and locked the door.

Now that I am out of dimes, I will have to bring this memory jukebox thing to a close, but not before I add that one of the luckiest things that ever happened to me was to be born into the family I speak of in this chapter and inheriting their characteristics. My mother is wise and lovingly helpful. Dad was jovial and he lived a full life and made a wonderful father even though he was crippled and had spent most of his childhood in an orphanage.

(End of Chapter 10)

I Love You, Mom