Sunday, December 17, 2006

Most remembered X-Mas Gift.

For a short period of time after the big divorce, my mother decided she needed to get out of Eureka. So she moved the 5 of us children (my mother and father had 10 kids between them) to Petaluma in the early 60’s. (We moved 10 times by the time I was 12.) My mother had no real marketable skills, as she was a housewife. She ended up a clerk at Western Auto in downtown Petaluma. The winter of 64’ was slim finances for our family. We lived in front of a chicken farm in a 2 bedroom house. I had an Army cot in the dining room. (I was youngest in the pecking order. My mom slept on the couch. When X-mas rolled around there were really no big expectations. But my mom came through with a stocking of candy and oranges and gifts to boot. She gave me a miniature steam engine. For the life of me, I had no idea what the purpose of the machine was, and I could never get it to work. Everyone received some sort of eclectic gift that my mother had bought out of the stores clearance bin. I am sure it was one of the hardest X-mas she had to endure. God, I loved that woman. She ended up moving us back to Eureka and was able to land a union clerk’s job at Baza’r and ultimately buy a house at 2491 Russ St on the corner of Harrison in Eureka. Her union status changed our life immensely, but to this day, out of all the other gifts I received through the years, I remember that gift most of all.


Heraldo Riviera said...

That's a sweet remembrance, Richard. Thanks for sharing.

Anonymous said...

One of the few times I agree with Heraldo. Brings back good memories of my mom.

Anonymous said...

That sounds a lot like my childhood. There were five kids in my family and we moved around lot, almost once a year. After my parents were divorced my mother supported us (with no help at all from my father) on the wages of a secretary. Never being in a union she was never able to buy a house, but at least we were able to rent actual houses. Up until the mid-seventies, that is.

After that everything got more and more expensive and we were forced to rent smaller places when we moved, until we could only afford a one-bedroom apartment. Her wages could never keep up with rising prices and rents. It's very strange what has happened in this country.

In 1974, in Seattle, an ordinary secretary who was a single-mother with five kids could actually afford to rent a house. Now they'd be lucky not to be homeless.

Hey, there's nothing like progress!

Anonymous said...

I experienced something similar as well. Dad was drinking too much to hold down a job in Eureka so he am-scrayed to So. Cal. Mom had to get a job after not working for 20 years or so. Her first job was a CETA job that paid $700 a month GROSS.

I'm really glad you mentioned Baza'ar. That store was awesome.