Saturday, July 15, 2017

Family Search 52 Stories Week 23

This week's question involves food - school food, to be exact. Some of my memories are fond, others not so much.

What are your memories of school lunch? Did you bring from home or eat at school? How did the food and your experiences change from school to school?

My kindergarten was only half day, so I had lunch at home after the bus dropped me off at the corner. From 1st-7th grades, I attended Holy Trinity Catholic School. They barely had a lunchroom there, much less a cafeteria, so mom packed lunches for my brother and me every day. Once each semester they would have a hot lunch consisting of beef burgers, chips and homemade desserts. The moms would prepare and serve the meal in the gym. It was such a treat to see my mom during the school day, and to have something different to eat for a change.

There are a couple of other things that stand out in my mind. One is that during lent, we could eat meat on Fridays. All those tuna fish sandwiches smelled horrible in the coat closet! No one had insulated lunch boxes in those days. The second was the day my brother and I knew that we had a half day and didn't need a lunch. Mom made us take one anyway, and we ditched our lunches in the shrubs at a neighbor's house. Wouldn't you know the lady would choose that morning to do yard work, found the labeled paper sacks, and called our mom to tattle on us. She was not happy with us, but we ate the lunches when we got home - early, just like we thought.

Meredith Junior High School
The junior high school I switched to in 8th grade must not have left an impression on me, food-wise. I'm guessing it had a cafeteria as it was attached to the high school, but I honestly have no recollection it. I probably continued to pack a lunch for financial reasons.

At the high school I remember going through the food line with my friends. I bought the same thing every day - an orange and two peanut butter cookies. It cost me twenty cents. Once in a blue moon if there was something special on the menu and I had some extra money, I would buy my lunch.

When I got to Iowa State, if you were in their housing program you paid for room and board. I still remember that the cost was $525 per quarter (the university was on the three quarter system at that point) for the room and meals. We received a punch card good for three meals a day, except on Sundays when only two meals were provided. You were assigned a dining hall, and your punch card was only good there. Most of the food was actually pretty good, but I remember being thankful that dining hall duty was not my job in the work-study program I was in. Sunday nights I would eat popcorn or heat up a can of soup in my hot pot.

My senior year I moved off campus into a mobile home with another girl. Cleaning, paying bills, grocery shopping and cooking were all skills that have benefited me throughout my life.


Saturday, July 8, 2017

Family Search 52 Stories Week 22

As I look at the various prompt questions I can select from each week, it makes me sad that I did not ask my parents and grandparents more questions. I know they told stories when I was growing up, but they just didn't interest me at the time. Of course now I wish I had written them down, or even better, recorded them.

Here is this week's prompt:

Do you know the story of how your parents met and fell in love? What about your grandparents?

It was 1941 and my father, Roy Kubler was twenty-four years old, living with his parents and two of his sisters, and working as an assorter for the Railways Express Agency in Cincinnati. The Railways Express Agency delivered freight from the railroad car to the customer, and Roy’s job entailed the routing of packages through the express terminal. 

My mother, Catherine Crusham, was the third oldest of eight children. She had dropped out of high school after completing her junior year in order to help support the family. She worked at a sporting goods manufacturing factory sewing basketballs. In 1941 she was twenty-one and living with her parents and six of her siblings.

They met when Roy was out driving with a friend one pretty spring afternoon in 1941. Catherine was standing on a street corner with her cousin Joan Armstrong when the two young men happened to pass by. As Roy's friend was acquainted with Joan, they stopped the car to chat. Roy was immediately attracted to Catherine's red hair and sparkling green eyes, and she to his tall stature and quick wit. The two began dating and found common interests in their backgrounds, music and dancing.

Joan on the left with Catherine in 1941
But WWII had cast a shadow over the light of their love. Anticipating that he would shortly be required to enter the military, on 10 January1942 Roy and Catherine applied for a marriage license. They married quietly on 17 January 1942 at Resurrection Church in Cincinnati, with only Catherine’s sister Margaret Crusham and their brother-in-law Lawrence Wambaugh in attendance. Two months into their marriage, the Army Air Forces called Roy into service.

While they had a difficult beginning to their marriage, the foundation held for 47 years until my mom was killed in a car accident in 1989. The example they set contributed in part to all of their children having successful, long-term marriages.

The story of how my grandparents met is one I don't know. I will be making a trip back to my birthplace later this year, so it is a question I will ask of my aunts. And this time I will listen, and write it down.

Sunday, July 2, 2017

Family Search 52 Stories Week 21

For this week's question I decided I was going to modify one of the ones from Family Search regarding holidays. It is almost July 4th, so I want to write about that particular holiday.

What is your most memorable 4th of July?

fireworks
My dad went all out for July 4th when we lived in Chicago. He bought a ton of fireworks and shot them off in our back yard. The neighbors would gather to watch, and it was quite a party. One year my brother dropped a firecracker on my left foot. Now, we lived in Chicago from the time I was several months old until I turned 5, so my brother could not have been older than 6 when this happened. How he got his hands on a firecracker, I don't remember. It hurt like the dickens, and I carry a scar on that foot to this day.

snakes
After we moved to Des Moines where the houses were much closer together, dad didn't put on the big display like he had done in the past. But we always had sparklers and snakes that we were allowed to set off each year. That tradition my husband and I carried on when our own children were old enough to be responsible with them.

The last time that I saw my mother alive was over the 4th of July holiday in 1989 when she and my dad stopped here on their way to Colorado to stay with my brother for a couple of weeks. We all sat outside and played with the sparklers and snakes. She was killed in a car accident on their way back from Colorado later in July. So this holiday is always a blend of celebration and sadness for me.