A Postcard Essay

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A Postcard Essay

featuring
Girls, Sisters, Mothers, Aunts, Nieces,
Grandmothers, Granddaughters:
Their Times of Life!


In Spring


Young Miss


In Love


Saying, Yes!


Finally alone.


Motherhood


In Summer


At Odds


By his grave


Lessons from Grams

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A challenge: Leave a comment (less than 100 words, please) about a loved or beloved lady. Introduce your fellow readers to a girl you knew, one of your sisters, your mother, an aunt, your favorite niece, your precious grandmother, or that special granddaughter. (Please, no surnames; initials only.)

*   *   *

A memory of your editor’s Great Aunt Elizabeth T.
Aunt Lizzy was one of seven daughters born into a Dutch family whose patriarch owned two southern New Jersey glass factories. Four of the seven lost their sense of hearing because of the Spanish Flu in 1918. When she married at age 42, her new husband, Louis was 54. Yes, that was late in life but they lived like kids on a picnic. My aunt’s potato salad was the best. While my father was in Europe during WWII, my mother and I lived with Aunt Lizzy and Uncle Lou. I don’t remember those years, but I bet they were fun.  

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Margurite, my cousin, came of age during WWII. Like many young girls, she enjoyed sunning herself on the roof, aka “tar beach.” She enjoyed watching the planes landing and taking off from Floyd Bennet Field. She thought the planes looked like fun so took flying lessons and became a pilot. That eventually led to a job working for TWA where she wrote the first Procedures Manual for the tower at LaGuardia Airport. As a TWA employee, she was able to fly around the world. She sent me, her little cousin, postcards from exotic places. My favorite had a message from… Read more »

My Aunt Peg was always so neat and such a good cook. I loved when my parents said we were going to “The Meadows”, as that section of Philly was then called. We’d visit several relatives who lived there. Of all the aunts, tho, my Aunt Peg was my favorite. One very special memory for me was a time when I wanted something. We were in her kitchen. She said “What’s the magic word?” I said “Please?” I don’t know why that particular memory has always stayed with me but I still say Please and Thank You.

My mother passed away in my presence on January 11 of this year, but the memorial service was not held until August 7. Mom was bedridden for the last several years of her life, but “made lemonade out of lemons” by reading extensively and befriending her caregivers, two of whom (including the woman who was brushing Mom’s hair until suddenly crying and announcing “She’s gone”) attended the service. Many people shared their memories of how kind Mom had been to them, and when I’m complimented for being “so nice’, I take pride in knowing that Mom’s legacy lives on.

This is dedicated to all the “real photo” postcard kids I have collected. Most were born around the very beginning of the 20th Century, and they looked forward to very interesting time periods ahead. Now they have departed this life, but they live on in my albums to share with people today.

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My Great Grandmother Ellen Hay Mcleish (Nellie) was born into a working-class family in Springburn, Glasgow in 1886. She was married (twice for love and once for economic necessity) and widowed three times, and was someone who probably never stopped working all her life. By 1945 Nellie had lost 2 husbands and her 4 children to the scourge of the Glasgow poor – TB. As a child in the 1960s I seldom saw Nellie without an apron on and she was always busy washing, cooking, darning, knitting or whitening the doorstep. The poor woman didn’t know how to sit still.

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Donald T. Matter, Jr.

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