Thank God it’s Monday and not just any Monday, as it’s also Cyber Monday. Thus, happy online shopping to everyone. I personally look forward to all Mondays because they’re my 52 Chances a year, in which I get to share Memories of My Mom with you!
Family fables filled the day last Thursday, as we all gathered together to feast on roasted turkey and all the fixings. “Remember when…” seemed to start many conversations about past holiday gatherings; mostly regarding the food, people, and traditions.
I have a sign, hanging proudly, near my kitchen table that reads: “There’s a room in every home where the smallest events and biggest occasions become the stories of our lives.” That they do! By the way, my table is the same one (pictured below) that I grew up with in the 1960s and 1970s. Thus, a lot of memories are made and shared here.
The kitchen table seemed to be my family’s favorite gathering place to play games, eat, and talk. Conversations were usually about the current events happening in our lives, as well as making plans for our tomorrows; and creating what became, at least for me, some really great family stories.
In our household, every holiday and family festivity, even the smallest ones, were celebrated with food! Even before Mom became the Secret RecipesTM Detective, I always thought she was an amazing cook. But she was also a very good story teller (and writer).
“The goal of National Life Writing Month is to encourage people to write about themselves and their life as they have experienced it thus far (it’s sometimes known as Memoir Writing Month.) Now is the time for you to dedicate yourself to writing personal and family stories, memories, traditions, significant events, and anything else you feel is worth adding to your life story.”
Mom wrote about her own life (and our family’s lives) for most of her life. Her devotion to journaling was inspired by the 1946, Warner Brothers’ movie, Devotion. Mom’s self-published book, called My Cup Runneth Over and I Can’t Find My Mop (Secret RecipesTM, St. Clair, MI; Dec. 1989), wasn’t just her life story but also our family’s saga.
Mom used to share highlights of our family’s happenings in everything she published. She always considered it to be just a natural thing to do, sharing her family’s news with her readers, because she felt like they were her family, too; and, at least in her generation (and previous ones), that’s what families did – keeping in touch, with their own family stories.
I’m grateful to know some of my own family’s fables from Mom’s stories, written in her many self-published books and newsletters. I found even more among the pictures and memorabilia in Mom’s scrapbooks and shoe boxes of old letters and greeting cards that she and Dad (and both of their moms) had saved from our relatives, over the decades.
I wish I could go back in time and record all the old, family stories I used to hear from my grandparents and their siblings whenever we gathered together for family celebrations. Before Mom passed away, while dealing with Dementia, she often reminisced about our ancestors from her old memories.
She couldn’t understand how she could remember her childhood so clearly, like it happened yesterday, but couldn’t remember who she saw or spoke to the previous day. If only I had written her stories down or, better yet, recorded our conversations. We always tend to think there’s time for that later – but then it’s gone in the blink of an eye.
Over 30 years ago, Mom wrote in one of her newsletters (Nov./Dec. 1992, 159th Issue) of how she and Dad planed, for a Christmas present to me and my four siblings, to make a cassette recording of the two of them talking about their life together and their most dearly remembered and cherished moments over the decades.
They also intended to discuss the memories they had of their grandparents, whom we (my siblings and I) never got a chance to know. There was also going to be other stories about our current family, as well as past generations, that we could pass on to our own future generations.
I so wish they had followed through with that gift. It would’ve been a priceless gift, at least to me, and probably to my own children and my grandson, too. Family is very important to us, as it was to both Mom and Dad. If only hindsight was foresight! I wish now, that I had recorded Mom’s stories about our family’s ancestry, during her last few years.
We always tend to think there’s time for that later…but then, in the blink of an eye, that time can suddenly be gone. I need to do something like that for my own children, before it’s too late! I’m grateful to at least have Mom’s published stories about our family and ancestors.
FROM MOM’S MEMORIES…
Excerpts by Gloria Pitzer, as seen in…
My Cup Runneth Over and I Can’t Find My Mop (Secret RecipesTM, St. Clair, MI; Dec. 1989)
[A FAMILY STORY]
THE EXPERIENCES we have encountered in building this family enterprise of ours, this cottage industry that has been our only source of income since August 1976, have occurred while distributing recipe secrets through radio broadcasting and newspaper exposure and our own publishing efforts.
If someone can benefit from our experiences, all the better! Mostly, though, this is just a story of our family – our five children, our grandchildren – and how we made a dent in the hard shell of the publishing industry… (p. 2)
THE FAMILY IS IMPORTANT to this troubled world that seems not to know what direction to go in for comfort and relief. So, I cater, in our publications, mostly to this family, with all of the old-fashioned values I can gather and still not sound corny or even ‘preachy’!
That for which I am most grateful, however, as I see how our family has worked together in helping us to build this dining room table enterprise into a substantial and professional operation, is the friendship that has grown over the years between [Paul, me and] the five children…my cup runneth over! (p. 12)
EVERY DAY, IN OUR OFFICE – and/or home, because it’s hard to separate the two, is the fact that things here are quite unpredictable! The layout of the newsletter is done – as I described it before – like a patchwork quilt, [as] are the books, at best, for there is not enough really ‘quiet’ time in which to carry out a major project.
Mostly, it is a day filled with pleasant interruptions – …the grandchildren dropping by to see us… or a radio station calling and asking me to fill in at the last minute! There are visits from the rest of the family, a phone call from my mother once in a while, when she needs somebody to talk to, and I am always a ready listener.
There are the discussions over how to handle the particular problem with a shipping order, or how a dish should be coming out that doesn’t! Countless things occur in this office (and/or home) that contribute to the overall picture. (p. 94)
THE FIVE CHILDREN are now able to at least recognize good food when they see it, if not be able to prepare it themselves, thanks to all of the help I enlisted from them in the kitchen as they were growing up…so we can always look forward to their being with us for holiday dinners, which is ‘bring-a-dish-to-pass’ style with this family. To have the whole family together is a very special occasion! (p. 116)
My Cup Runneth Over and I Can’t Find My Mop (Secret RecipesTM, St. Clair, MI; Dec. 1989, p. 112)
I applaud the straightforward impulse that says, ‘if someone needs help give it.’ – Gloria Pitzer
IT’S A SAD SITUATION but dealing with the problem and finding a way to solve it, to me, is better than ignoring it so that it can’t interfere with the harmony associated with the other experiences we encounter and even enjoy.
Part of dealing with problems in life is that we never fully understand why life is hard on us when we’re doing our best right along – to be the best we can be to do the best we can do. The shock of being hurt or rejected or deprived, drives us each to seek solace from a sympathetic listener.
Maybe, being a good listener is the best we can offer someone with a problem; and, maybe, that’s why God gave us two ears, but only one mouth, so we would listen twice as much as we talk!
The basic value system of today’s family has change so drastically since the 1940s and 1950s, when my generation was growing up… Today’s value system includes a majority of ‘part-time parents’, idealistic relationships; impersonal… attitude… in the guise of educators, news commentators, journalists and counselors.
All of what I had added to the recipes in my newsletter over the years was leaning in this very direction. I wanted to touch people with real issues about everyday concerns and simple feelings. I still do.
Every family has a story to tell – in fact, many stories. They can be pieced together from old pictures, cards, and letters. You can also find your ancestors and their stories through various online sources. It’s the perfect time to research and write about your family’s stories. It’s a great gift for the next generation to cherish, as well as to add to and pass on.
In honor of Thursday, being National Mousse Day, and Friday, being National Pie Day, here’s Mom’s secret recipe for “Lemon Cream Mousse Pie”; as seen in… Gloria Pitzer’s Cookbook – The Best of the Recipe Detective (Balboa Press; Jan. 2018, p. 240). [A revised reprint of Gloria Pitzer’s Better Cookery Cookbook (Secret RecipesTM, St. Clair, MI; May 1983, 3rd Edition)].
P.S. Food-for-thought until we meet again, next Monday…
November observes, among other things… Banana Pudding Lovers Month, National Diabetes Month, National Fun with Fondue Month, National Gratitude Month, National Inspirational Role Models Month, National Native American Heritage Month, National Novel Writing Month, National Peanut Butter Lovers Month, National Pepper Month, National Pomegranate Month, National Raisin Bread Month, National Roasting Month, Spinach and Squash Month, Sweet Potato Awareness Month (See also February), and National Vegan Month!
Friday kicks off the month of December, which celebrates (among other things)… National Pear Month, National Write A Business Plan Month, Operation Santa Paws (which runs the 1st-24th), Root Vegetables and Exotic Fruits Month, Safe Toys and Gifts Month, Worldwide Food Service Safety Month, National Human Rights Month, and Universal Human Rights Month!
December 1st is also… National Eat a Red Apple Day, National Day With(out) Art Day, and Rosa Parks Day! Plus, as the first Friday in December [for 2023], it’s also… Faux Fur Friday and National Bartender Day!
December 2nd is… National Fritters Day, National Mutt Day, and Special Education Day! Plus, as the first Saturday of the month [for 2023], it’s also… National Rhubarb Vodka Day and National Play Outside Day (which is always the first Saturday of EVERY month)!
…48 down and only 4 more to go!