Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Mom's Helping Hand Still Vivid from Fall of 70-Plus Years Ago

Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Mom's Helping Hand Still Vivid from Fall of 70-Plus Years Ago

Article excerpt

Several times a year, my mother, father, younger brother and I would make a pilgrimage from our little house in Indiana, Pa., to my great-Aunt Etta's and Uncle Harry's farm in the countryside near Punxsutawney.

We loved to visit them because it was like going into another world. The house was set at least 100 feet from the road with oak trees scattered around the huge expanse of yard. A front porch with a roof and pillars ran across the front of the house. While it was just an ordinary farmhouse, to my child's eyes it looked like a mansion.

It was no small wonder that our family looked forward to a visit there. Aunt Etta, wearing her constant dustcap, a full length "pioneer woman's" dress and a white, bibbed apron, was truly a sight to behold. By anyone's standards, she was also a world-class cook.

After we stuffed our faces and cleaned up the kitchen one afternoon, my mama suggested that she and I go for a walk, with no little brother tagging along this time. I liked that idea.

As we started down the road that led from Aunt Etta's, my mother held my hand. I was still a little girl, around age 4 or 5.

It was one of those perfect, beautiful days of summer. The sky was a soft baby blue with big poofy clouds floating high above. The only sounds were the music of the twittering birds and the buzzing hum of the bees.

No traffic could be heard because we were so far out in the country. If someone were using that road back in the late 1930s, they were likely doing so to visit Aunt Etta and Uncle Harry.

So my mother and I had the road all to ourselves. It was filled with tire ruts, left from a wicked winter followed by a wet spring. I kept stumbling into the ruts. Mother would pull me up and out.

Pretty soon, it became a game. I would accidentally, on purpose, stumble into the rut. Mother would pull me out, and we would both giggle and laugh. …

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