Helen

Helen was born in 1939  in Schlesien, Germany. She was 14 years old when her family had escaped Germany and ended up in Watertown,Wisconsin. Her story I found fascinating. It is hard to imagine the life and death struggles her parents made in order to bring their family to a country where they didn’t even speak the language.

Everyone has a story; a beginning and a end. Not all of us crossed the great Atlantic to begin a new life, but we all have crossed distances to become who we are today.

As a child we had little choice but to follow our parents. Whether we wanted to move to a new city or start at a new school it really wasn’t up to us. We were children; we didn’t ask why.

When we became adults we are intoxicated by the freedom of our new found adulthood. We soon learn that each choice we made and distance we traveled didn’t always take us where we had expected. We are shaped by these experiences or lack of these experiences.

Some people are afraid to open the door to the possibilities of the unknown, paralyzed by a fear they can’t explain or understand. My mother often told me that she didn’t want me to be afraid of life like she was. She pushed me to be fearless. I think in the end she wished she hadn’t pushed quite so hard. 😜

Like Helen I’m still on an adventure. Helen has often told me that getting old isn’t for sissies. So I will grab hold of this next chapter of my life and squeeze out as much love and fun as I can. I don’t need to know what will happen next. Sometimes not knowing is half the fun.

Helen of Schlesien
I gave Helen a gift of her younger self. She’s still cute.

Ozark Girls

It’s 1940 something and these girls are sent to get the paper. They look a little uncertain about the photographer taking their picture. Makes me remember when I was forced to pose for pictures I didn’t want taken.

My family album is full of photos I wish never existed. There are countless pictures of crooked bangs, greasy hair and clothes that should never have been purchased.

My pictures are now fond memories and no longer an embarrassment to my cool middle age self. Now the grandkids look at these photos and don’t even recognize the girl with the weird clothes. They laugh and I tell them stories. Looking at old photos with the grandkids is now my most favorite thing to do. ❤️

Ozark Girls

Poverty

My uncle use to say “I’ve been broke but never poor”. He died last year and I miss his stories and his wisdom. He was a wealthy man in many ways.

There are many people in this world who are struggling just to make it through a day. They are poor. My mom use to tell me how hard the Depression was. Always wondering about the next meal or how to keep the family together. Everyone worked; everyone contributed if they could. Days were long.

So I look around me and feel blessed for all I have. I’ve heard it said “history repeats itself if we fail to learn life’s lessons”. Are we repeating history now? Is there a lesson we failed to learn? The news today makes me physically ill. It is full of hate and laced with sarcasm. How did we get here?

I’ve started painting pictures of how hard life was back in the 30’s and 40’s. Kids worked and they learned to do without. Even today we know that kids are going to bed hungry, are being sexually assaulted and abused or assuming responsibilities that only adults should have.

I want us to remember how our decisions effect our children. How our words and actions effect our children. We as adults are responsible for our children and their future. I want to remember the past so I can do better with the future.

Doing Chores