IMG_6306My mother must have taken this picture which tells me something I never knew, or needed this nudge to figure out. Younger sibs Linda, Jimmy, and Susie were yet to be born, so at this time my mother DID go on beach excursions. It’s ironic: she was probably the most talented swimmer and boater of the family until Linda showed one of her talents as a sailor. We have pictures of the lovely Miriam out in her canoe in what seems to be a revealing woolen one-piece. (I need to find that picture…)  Yet for most of the summer beach outings in my memory she packed the lunches, the towels, the underpants for later, etc. and then stayed home. Um, come to think of it, perhaps being able to have the house to herself and a package of Chocolate Non Pareils might have been the better option for an over-worked, one-baby-every-15 months or so mother.


5 thoughts on “#TBT Did someone say it’s #TBT? This is bathing beauty me in the forefront of fashion back around 1948, sibs Ruth Ann, Barbara, and Bobby are in back while Sumner Low, supervises with his Edgeworth-loaded and lit pipe always at the ready. WAS it lit? I mean, how did he pick us up and such with a hot pipe? Crane’s Beach, Osgood Park, or Devereaux? Who knows.

  1. The babies stretched out at the end. My youngest sister, upon reading a collection of family stories I wrote, commented that they all happened either before she was born or when she was too little to participate. That’s in my head and heart still as a very sad thing because the collection contained just about all the Good Stuff I could recall. And I can’t–yet?–bring myself to write The Other tho’ it influences me. Still.


  2. Her other Time-Off f came after the Sunday church prep routine. After what seemed like hours of hectic ironing, finding matching gloves (socks, shoes, etc.), combing and brushing hair,finding barrettes, finding fedoras, shining shoes, getting breakfast…my mother had an empty house. For a couple of hours.

    She didn’t go to church. We never asked why; it seemed obvious somehow. Her being Jewish isn’t the only reason; her family was Everyman to Every Religion: they started their local synagogue, they supported the local convent; they were friends with the Protestant minister and his family. Yes, some of my uncles were Zionists, with their labor and their monies, but there was a lot of worldly wisdom in those Billauers and Muchelovers.

    So, religious differences can’t account for Miriam staying home while my father parades us in to Tabernacle Congregational–where there was no cross at all, by the way, this being an historic New England Congregational church. We fooled around surreptitiously–or not so–passing shoes and gloves down the pew, drawing pictures on the margins of the program, singing hymns in Pig Latin. In harmony. (7 kids can get up to much mischief.) Afterwards we’d get Chiclets and hand-packed ice-cream next door at Heffernan’s. Dad would, upon occasion, get my mother’s favorite–Butter Brickle–her own pint. But only upon occasion.



    PS There were two other alone times for Miriam: in the dead of night she’d sit in the breakfast nook, drink tea and eat non pariels and/or ice-cream. And then there were hospital stays: having a child, getting a kidney out, and then–finally!!–strokes, which turned out to be a strokes of luck–no kidding. Trust me on this. It made the last 20 years of her life completely different. And better. Yes. Better. We all wish we’d known the mother who emerged once the strokes started coming. I can see now that she must have liked that version of herself better too. I can’t think what my father must have thought, more’s the pity for him on this one.


    1. 7 kids can get up to mischief? Imagine, Miriam’s greatest vice was tea time under cover of darkness. I’m not sure I could have handled you all without something a lot stronger. And relinquishing a kidney? Sounds like a walk in the park for the exhausted Momma.


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