Mom told me stories of when she was a girl and a young woman. I wish I would have asked her for more. The following are a few I found on her computer after she died.
When Mom was a girl living in Tulsa, Oklahoma, she had a life-long close friend, Emma Sue. Here is a story she told, from when she first lived in Tulsa when they were very young. (Mom lived in Tulsa 1st – 4th grades, then 7th grade, then 9th grade on)
When Emma Sue and I were playing grown up. We put small rocks in our shoes so we could complain about our feet hurting. Both of our mothers always complained that their feet hurt so I guess we thought that to be grown up our feet had to hurt.
And here is another story Mom told about when they were very young.
Once when Sue’s mother had us with her in the car we all went into the store. When we got back to the car her mother said “oh no, I locked the keys in the car” I had forgotten to lock the door I got out of, but I knew she would really get mad with Sue and me if we hadn’t locked the door, so when she was calling Sue’s brother to bring another set of cars keys, I quickly open the car door and locked it. We had to wait about an hour for the brother, but that was better than getting into trouble about not doing what the mother had told us to do.
This picture shows Mom, David Holman, and Mom’s Aunt Marjorie Holman. It was taken about 1937.
This next picture shows Mom’s grandmother: Clara Haswell; Mom: Miriam Hall; Mom’s cousin: Dave Holman; Mom’s Aunt: Marjorie Holman; and Mom’s cousin: Bruce Holman, in 1939.
Mom’s mother always kept Mom’s hair long and in braids or long curls. Mom hated her long hair. When she was in the ninth grade she visited her Auntie Jewel who let her get her hair cut short. She also got a permanent. Mom wrote:
When I got my hair cut, mother would have nothing to do with it. I also had gotten a permanent. It was very curly and got totally tangled. Never had such a mess in all my life. Grandmother Haswell combed and combed and got it neat again for me.
Mom often talked to me about her first job. She explains it best in this story.
I wanted to go to college so when I graduated from high school I started saving up my money to pay tuition. There weren’t any community colleges then in Tulsa. Mother said I first had to get a job. She wanted me to apply as a waitress at the bus station, but that was a job I knew I didn’t want. So the first day I didn’t have to attend school she took me to the Telephone Company to apply for a job. I filled out all the forms, while mother waited downstairs for me. They asked when I could go to work and I said any time. They put me at the switch board right away and started training me on being a long distance operator. Someone hadn’t showed up for a class that was just starting, so I just happened to luck out being there at the right time. I didn’t even think what mother was doing. After she got tired of waiting on me a long time she asked and found out I was working.
It worked out very good for me, because I had a tiny bit seniority over the other girls from my school that also had gotten jobs there. That meant I had a better pick of the hours I wanted to work. I will never forget getting my first pay check from South Western Bell telephone company. I went to a bank close to where I worked and cashed my first real pay check. I went to the closest book store and bought two books, a bible and a dictionary. I was so proud to have a leather covered bible. Yes, I still have that bible and have read it cover to cover serval times. In fact I keep it by my bed still.
With the next check I opened a savings account.
Since I lived at home, I could save more money. I did walk with Grandmother Haswell every Saturday to the grocery store and pay for the groceries she bought. My first pay check was $35 a week for five days. I really didn’t mind working late at night, but didn’t like working all night long. We all had to work all night from ten to seven for a month, but usually it was only a couple of weeks. After my training I worked from three to eleven. And if we worked after ten at night the company sent us home in a taxi. I also worked some split shifts, but didn’t like them. Also if we worked till eleven we only had to work seven hours, but we would get paid for eight, and if we worked til midnight we only worked from six to twelve. I didn’t like working until midnight, but liked getting off at eleven and only having to work seven hours.
Another thing I liked about my job was that I made more money than my friend that worked in a bank. And I got raises every year.
After working two years and saving for college Mother decided we needed a bigger house because Erica and Parker were coming to live with us. Mother asked me for my college savings to make a down payment on a bigger house, so I let her have it and signed a note to make the rest of the down payment. If I remember right the house cost $4,500. I was 19 then when I helped buy my first house. Erica didn’t stay long with us, so we didn’t move into the bigger house. Instead Mother rented it out and it paid for itself. I think the most interesting thing about that house was…
Cliff hanger! Tune in next week to learn what Mom said about that house. It’s a doozy!
LESSON LEARNED: Sometimes life unexpectedly drops an opportunity into your lap, like finding they need an immediate worker when you think you are only going in for a screening interview.
LESSON LEARNED: Be willing to jump on those opportunities life gives you, like Mom saying, “I can start any time.”
LESSON LEARNED: Stick to your priorities and let the rest take care of itself. Mom forgot all about her mother because she was so focused on succeeding with her new job. But her mother took care of herself by asking and learning Mom already had started work.
LESSON LEARNED: Saving instead of spending is often seen as a restriction, but actually expands your opportunities. Mom originally intended her savings for college. Yet when her mom came to her with the need for the house, Mom’s “frugality” gave her the freedom to be generous.
These two pictures show Mom as a young adult. The painting was done by Mom’s Aunt Marjorie.
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One thought on “Blog Post # 37: My Mom: Miriam Elizabeth Hall Gateley; Part 6 – Young Girl to Young Adult”
Great pictures. Thanks.