Saturday, September 19, 2015

Saturday Night Genealogy Fun: What Did Your Mother Love To Do?

For this week's Saturday Night Genealogy Fun, Randy Seaver picked another topic that I felt an immediate affinity for:

1) What did your mother really like to do in her work or spare time?  Did she have hobbies, or a workshop, or did she like cooking, or reading, or watching TV?

3)  Tell us about it in your own blog post, in a comment on this post, or in a Facebook or Google+ post.

In her spare time, my mother really enjoyed watching television.  As soon as she walked into the house, on went the TV.  Her favorite programs to watch were sports (just about anything, even golf), game shows, mysteries, and Westerns.  Later, soap operas were added to the list.  She was a big fan of Hollywood.  Well before the age of tabloids, she kept track of celebrities and knew who had been married to whom (how else would I have known when I was a kid that Ken Berry was married to Jackie Joseph?) and even which big-name stars were gay.  She was excellent at recognizing actors by their voices.

My mother also loved to travel.  As often as she was able to, she would visit her parents and other relatives.  We went to Las Vegas on a regular basis because that's where my grandparents lived.  She took her three young children (aged 4, 5, and 6) with her to go to a cousin's wedding in Florida.  Once she visited me in Los Angeles for Thanksgiving, and we went to the big buffet at the Queen Mary in Long Beach.  She told me once that she really wanted to travel around the world without any luggage, just buying new clothes in each place she visited and leaving them behind, to buy new again in the next city.

Kind of part and parcel with travel, my mother loved to go out to eat and to try different foods (except for beets!).  When visiting relatives on her side of the family we often had Chinese food.  Living in Southern California, there was lots of Mexican food.  Going to Vegas meant all the great buffets at the casinos.  In Australia, we learned to appreciate Indian food.  We also had rabbit, mutton, and other things not common at the time in the U.S.  When the area we lived in Florida became home to many Vietnamese refugees, she probably tried Vietnamese food at the restaurants that opened soon after.

My mother, not exactly the epitome of domesticity, enjoyed working outside of the home.  When I was young, for a while she worked a graveyard shift inspecting circuit boards.  When my family lived in Australia, she worked at a delicatessen owned by a nice Greek man.  When we returned to the United States, one summer she worked at a fruit and vegetable stand.  Later she had her own freelance bookkeeping business.  I can't think of a time my mother did not have a job, even if I can't remember all of them.  She did not have a college education (the one semester she attended Florida State University, she flunked all of her classes except physical education; I've gotten the impression she was a party girl), but she was very intelligent.

I can't think of many hobbies my mother enjoyed, although she did crossword puzzles for years.  Painting premade ceramics caught her attention for a while, and everyone in the family received a zodiac wall hanging.  (I think I still have mine.)

Hmm, kind of scattered impressions of a person, not a very cohesive picture.  I obviously need to collect more stories from other relatives.  I can use this as a springboard to have other family members add their memories.  But it's a start!

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