When my sister and I were in junior high and our mother was teaching school there, a terrible thing happened to one of her students. Her family lost everything in a home fire! Mom knew how hard it would be for a junior high student to change schools in the middle of the year so she arranged for her to move in with us. There was no money involved, just love. My sister and I were used to having extra people stay with us. It might be family members down on their luck, or grandparents who could no longer maintain their homes, or long distant friends who often came to visit. So a young girl moving in with us was a treat. She came from a family with eleven children, and you’d think to loose one for a little while would be a welcomed change. After all, that would be one less mouth to feed, a little less laundry to wash, and one less voice you’d hear arguing with siblings. But it was just the opposite! Even with all those other children around, she was missed terribly. It was the love of her parents that gave them the courage to allow her to stay with us for awhile so she could finish out the school year and start fresh in the fall at her new school. Mother and her teacher friends arranged for clothes to be given to her and, of course, my sister and I were more than happy to share our things as well. Her name was Darlene Adams, and with so many sisters and 2 older brothers, she knew exactly how to get along with all of us without any jealousy. She admired Mom so much and appreciated what she was doing for her that when Saturday’s came and we had our chores to do, she willingly joined in and made it so much fun. The time flew by. She was always laughing about something and had us laughing, too.
Since Darlene is one of my best followers and a dear friend, I wanted to share a couple of her recipes and her own memories with you.
Here’s one of Darlene’s family favorites:
These are delightful memories Darlene shared:
Funny thing about my family and cooking, I grew up in a huge family and my Mom was the youngest of three girls so I’m guessing she didn’t get in on a lot of cooking. And if you’ve ever cooked for a houseful of hungry kids, you can’t be very fancy about it. 🙂 Our main meal growing up was a pot of navy or great northern beans flavored with jowl (looked like a cheap fatty bacon but very flavorful). Sides were fried potatoes, with a lot of browning because the kids all liked the crisp browned ones. And a pan of corn bread baked in an iron skillet. Not sweet because Daddy didn’t want his corn bread to taste like cake. We would cut up some onions and that was an awesome dinner. Mom perfected her bean dinner through many years of practice.
I would sometimes volunteer to cook chili so that we could have something different! But I was the baker of the family and have always enjoyed baking; cooking not so much. I may have shared this before (sorry I don’t remember) — but my parents let us cook whenever we wanted to. Mom made the best vanilla custard and once we were begging for it but she was busy washing clothes (in the old fashioned wringer washer, and hanging the clothes on the clothes line) so she told us we could wait till later or make it ourselves. We had watched her make it so we headed for the kitchen, my brother David (Leon) and I. We poured and mixed and cooked just the way we had seen her pour and mix and stir, but the funny thing is our mixture looked more like scrambled eggs. But it still tasted just like custard, so we happily ate it up.
I remember baking cakes for our Sunday dinner (remember everyone had “Sunday dinner” back then?) when I was around 10. That seems young to me now, even though I used cake mix. I forgot to grease the pans one time and sadly, my cake turned out to be a pile of cake chunks and crumbs on a plate, with chocolate frosting poured over. When I sadly presented my “cake” at the table, expecting ridicule, I remember my Dad looking happy and saying that it will still taste good; that we have to tear it up to eat it. And I remember really enjoying that cake any way.
Also, funny memory about my Mom and her cooking. She cooked most things very well done! When I ate someone else’s pork chops, I was surprised that they were soft and tasted good — not like the “wooden” ones my Mom cooked. And I learned that hamburgers weren’t supposed to be cooked till they were crisp. But I will give her lots of credit for the best meatloaf and the most delicious fried chicken.
And back to the subject of Sunday dinners, I have warm and sweet memories of beautiful dinners with your family at Dunkel Road. In my mind’s eye, I can see that dinette set and every detail of the matching light wood buffet and the nice “company” dishes that your Mom hand washed. Her dinners were impeccable. I mostly remember the roasts and the brussel sprouts. Loved the roast/hated the brussel sprouts. Ate them to be polite. Your parents were always so warm and friendly, and . . . relaxed. Remembering them at those dinners, they were always warm and friendly. And we girls would be all smiley and happy to be together. We were so blessed.
One of my best childhood memories is “cooking” with my sister, Sharon. We would be outside on a summer day, and we’d mix our flour and water (aka dirt and water) together, stirring away with a stick, and then we would pour it into a jar lid and let it bake (dry out in the sun). And then we would take those coffee cakes (mud disks) and pretend to eat them with our coffee (water) with our pinky finger up in the air. We would usually be multi-tasking, holding our baby dolls, wrapped in a blanket, on our laps, as we chatted together. We even named ourselves Mary and May whenever we played house.
I love sharing memories and could go on and on, but other stuff is calling my name. So blessed to have enjoyed living happy memories with you and with your family. And am grateful for that blessing.