October 7th, 2015

How to throw out the "old"?

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When I was young, my mother often told me stories about her difficult childhood. Ten kids growing up in a poor, rural region of Virginia, with an alcoholic dad and an exhausted/abused mother who was forced to raise all the children almost entirely on her own. Her father provided only a paycheck to the family, and little more. He spent long days working in the coal mines, and almost always came home drunk. I remember this man as my grandpa, and even in his older years he suffered from severe alcoholism. He was completely tied to the bottle and a horrible human, for whom I have absolutely no positive emotions, memories or feelings. The stories I remember most vividly from my mom are the ones where she had no shoes to wear, or ones that were so old and in disrepair that it was difficult to walk in the snow or on hard gravel. Her mother sewed almost all the kids' clothes and coats, and they wore them until they tore or fell apart. You can see the results of my grandma's hard work in this photo dated 1956, where my mom and some of her siblings are wearing her handmade clothes...Collapse )