Funny you should ask ... Tim Gamble

What was your Mom like when you were a child?

She tried. I was number three out of five children. As she would say, “After two, you run out of hands.” There seemed to be the right amount of encouragement and discipline, but we grew up “free ranging” the neighborhood.

With five kids, my mother had to be very frugal and resourceful. My sister always had new clothes. My older brother always had new clothes. I got the first of a succession of hand-me-downs that ended with my youngest brother who claims he never had a shirt with matching buttons until he went to college.

We lived in a small house on the road to the airport in Ithaca, New York. I shared a room with two of my brothers. My sister had a room she shared with my baby brother and my folks had a room to themselves. We didn’t have much, but my mother knew how to stretch the budget. She grew up during the war years with food rationing and other shortages and learned from her mother how to make do. In the back yard she planted a substantial garden with corn, tomatoes, potatoes, and other vegetables. She even kept two beehives for honey. Each year, she would harvest her crop and spend weeks canning and preserving the bounty. The basement was full of Ball jars.

Everything would get used up during the year except for the jars of mincemeat. When we moved to Arizona, she left a lot of things behind, but not the mincemeat. In her new kitchen on the top shelves of several cabinets were jars stacked on jars of mincemeat. She would bake two pies a year, one at Thanksgiving and one at Christmas.

Over the years, the pie didn’t disappear as fast. It wasn’t that they tasted bad, it was that nobody was sure what was in those jars after thirty years. When my mother passed away there was still a substantial load of jars left. My sister decided, after a respectful time, to also bury the mincemeat.

What I remember most about my mother is what she must have seen when she looked at her adult children. She could only see those free range, happy kids discovering the world. My brother and I used to joke about her being touched by fairies because she seemed to be stuck in time with her smiles. My mother never told a story about us kids that included anything we’d done past the age of eight or so. These must have been very happy times for her.

Mom and Tim
Nancy (Mom) and Tim

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