Mom and Uncle Al
Mom was a terrible cook. I still gag at the memory of green beans. There wasn’t much Mom couldn’t ruin. As a toddler, I would drink milk and push the rest of the meal away. Milk didn’t need cooking. But cooking was woman’s work, so Mom did the best she could.
Mom was a quality control inspector at Fisher Body during WWII. She was working as a secretary, noticed all the more interesting jobs other women were doing, and asked her boss about it. It required certification, he told her, and she’d have to go to college to get it. If she got certified, could she have the job? she
Mom and Dad
asked. Sure, he told her, apparently not expecting her to follow through. She did, he kept his promise, and she got the job.
Though Mom had shown her stuff in the workplace during WWII, she and most of the women who had stepped up were laid off, and the crack in the division of labor was hastily repaired to divide women’s work from men’s work once again. Go home, get married, have babies, they were told.
The boys they knew before the war were coming home as men. My parents had met at Collinwood High when Dad was the new “dreamboat” after he was kicked out of Cathedral Latin. I think they dated, one of my sister’s isn’t so sure, but I do know that Mom had been engaged to somebody else for a while and Dad had known about it. When they ran into each other after the war, she held up her ringless left hand. They married soon after.
Mom was a world class tennis player. I realized recently what a bad move it was on my part when I refused to let her teach me how to play. Okay, so tennis was not my passion, but what insights into hers I could have had!
If Mom had had the tiniest chance, she could have gone pro. But even if she’d had the chance, would she have? Like many men of the 50s, Dad forbade Mom from taking a job outside the home.
Mom and me
Like some women of the 60s, Mom did anyway. We three oldest girls took turns babysitting our new baby brothers and sisters as Mom worked part time.
So I’m thinking, yes, if she’d had an opportunity to go pro, she could have, and I’d like to think she would have.
And she would have done very well. Tennis was her passion and tennis was what she was good at. Not cooking.