Peg: My post-war mom. Sixteenth of twenty-six posts in the April 2017 Blogging From A to Z Challenge on the theme “Whispering Chimneys: My Altamont childhood” — where my genealogy journey began. Wish me luck — I’m more than halfway there!
Peg — my postwar mom — was twenty-four when we moved to Whispering Chimneys in 1950. She was a piano major and music education graduate of Potsdam College in Potsdam, N.Y — which is where she met my dad.
Before they married, she taught music at Garfield High School near Atlantic City, N.J. She even made the local paper for leading the children’s chorus at a statewide music association convention.
But after I was born, Mom took a hiatus from teaching that continued throughout our years on the farm. Which is not to say she wasn’t working.
Operating the cabins
Being a mother and housewife was a full-time job — and for a while she also helped run the farm’s three cold-water tourist cabins down by the road. Here’s how Dad described the job in his essay about the farm years (they being my parents).
…they had the overnight cabins to make an income. This simply required that someone had to be home every night to sign in the tourists.
The following day the cabin had to be cleaned, the bedding and towels washed, and the beds made for the next guests. This lasted through one season and the next year the sign came down.
A steady presence
Unlike my dad, who left every day for work, my mom was a steady presence in my early life. She got me up, dressed and fed; spent the day with me; and put me to bed each night.
She was the one I ran to if I hurt myself playing or when I got sick — like the time I woke up with mumps, took one look the mirror and yelled, “Mom, I have no neck!”
My bevy of little girlfriends was also her doing because Mom made sure I socialized with her friends’ children — at our house, at their houses, at dance class, at church, at the public pool or for birthdays.
Mom was also community spirited and joined the local Home Bureau, a New York State-wide homemakers’ organization.
According to an article I found in the May 14, 1952 Schenectady Gazette, she even hosted an electrical cord repair class at the farm for the Home Bureau’s Evergreen unit — where I’ll bet my dad was the presenter!
The heart of our family
If Dad was the head of our family — its planner and project developer — Mom was its heart. And in this way, they balanced one another.
Mom was a trained musician, arranger and composer who had already led choral groups before I was born. And she imparted her artistic talents to us children from an early age. By the time Sound of Music was released in 1965, we were able to quickly learn the score and sing it four-part harmony on car trips.
Mom was a role model for balancing a creative life, a family and a career (which she resumed after we children were older) — and for me, those lessons began in the early 1950s when we lived on the farm.
Up next – Quite impressive: My classmate drives a tractor. Please stop back!
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