Sunday, April 8, 2012

What Kind of a Home Did You Live In?

Another idea for you life story:

What kind of a home did you live in?

The home you grew up in is an important part of your memories.  I often have homes I have lived in before show up in my dreams.  Sometimes they are just as I remember them, and sometimes they may be a combination of homes I have lived in.  Our homes are a big part of our lives and describing them in our life stories can be an important part of the story.
Describe what kind of home you lived in when you were young.  Was your home a single family residence or did you live in an apartment, duplex, townhouse or other multi-family building?  What did the home look like?  What material was it made from?  How big was it?  How many bathrooms and bedrooms did it have?  Did you have a yard?  Did you have grass or trees or a garden?  How long did you live in the home?  What was the address of the home?  Was there anything unusual about the home?  
The home I grew up in started out as a two bedroom home without a bathroom.  My dad built our home.  The two bedrooms were in the basement.  The coal-burning furnace divided the two bedrooms.  There was only one closet for both of the bedrooms.  The kitchen and living room were upstairs.  The steps between upstairs and downstairs were on the north side of the house.  I believe there was a door going outside on the landing.  I remember being taken outside one night on the north side of the house and being shown the North Star and the Big Dipper by my parents.  We didn't have a bathroom in the house until I was around nine years old.  There was an outhouse on the south side of the house.
When I was around nine years old, my dad added onto the house.  He added a living room and two bedrooms and a dining area upstairs and turned the old living room into a bathroom and a master bedroom.  Downstairs he added a furnace room and turned the two bedrooms into an area to prepare eggs to be sold.  He put the stairs between upstairs and downstairs on the south side of the house and he built a storage room beside the landing and under the dining room area.  
These are only a few of the memories I have of the home I grew up in.  When I think of that home many memories come flooding back to me.  Try writing about the home you grew up in and see how many memories come back to you.  Add any pictures you can find, and ask other family members about their memories.  You'll have a lot to add your story.

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Unusual Foods

Did your family have unusual foods?  Unusual foods may be different than most people eat.  You probably can't order them at a restaurant.  It is interesting when you talk with someone else who remembers eating the same food you did.
When I was young, my mother baked bread for us each week.  By the end of the week the loaf of bread was getting dried out.  My mother would make french toast and bread pudding from the dried out pieces of bread.  I have eaten those as an adult, and I can find recipes for them.  There was one recipe, though, that I'm not sure I can duplicate.  My mother made Tomatoes and Bread.  I think she heated up canned tomatoes and added the dried out bread to them to soften the bread.  I think she seasoned the tomatoes with salt and pepper and I think she may have added onion to the tomatoes.  We would eat it alongside our eggs for breakfast or with a piece of meat for lunch.  A couple of weeks ago I was talking with a friend and she described a dish that her mother made which sounded a lot like my mother's Tomatoes and Bread.  I haven't talked with someone else who had eaten something like Tomatoes and Bread.  It was interesting to find someone who had eaten a similar food to what I had eaten as a child.
If your mother or grandmother or someone else in your family made a special recipe, ask them for the recipe.  Write it down.  If you wait until they have passed away, you may not be able to duplicate the recipe.  I didn't get the recipe of Tomatoes and Bread from my mother, so I can only guess at the recipe.
Food is definately a big part of your story.  Include some of the different kinds of food you ate throughout your life and why you ate them.  Write down the recipes.  Your family may appreciate having the recipes some day.