Saturday, May 11, 2013

My Mom's and My Man's Mutual Memories by Margo Hoornstra

They were separated in age by more than thirty years, an entire generation, yet many of their childhood experiences were, for the most part, identical. I'm talking about my mother and my husband. She was born in the early nineteen hundreds, he was born in the middle of that century. She was born at home near Detroit, he was born at a hospital in the upper peninsula of Michigan. That appears to be the major difference in their lives. The locations where they first came into this world, 400 miles and three decades apart.

My mother was raised on a family farm north of Detroit, my husband on a family farm south of Sault Ste. Marie. As they talked about those early days in each of their lives, parallels I found fascinating began to emerge.

She recalled when electricity was installed out to their farm. He had memories of the same event. The communal dipper in the water bucket in the kitchen, cooking on a wood stove, lighting by kerosene lantern, using a chambermaid in lieu of a midnight trek to the outhouse. Helping to bring in the cows at night and collect eggs from the hen house in the morning.

Maybe I'm easily amused, but it enthralled me as I listened to them compare such highly similar notes about two childhoods that took place, one in the twenties and thirties and one in the fifties and sixties.

In locations that were a mere 400 miles apart.

As others have shared in this space, I'd like to add a few thoughts about my mother, since tomorrow is her day too and I plan to take her some flowers. It's been over twenty-five years since I lost my mom, but not a day goes by that I don't think about her, wish I could talk to her, introduce her to my grandchildren. In my own way, I do talk to her now and then. I'm also sure she's seen and loves the grandkids I'm so proud of.

Like many other mothers, each and every day of my childhood, she told me how beautiful and intelligent and special I was. (Her opinion, I know, but I actually began to believe her.) Each and every day, she also insisted I could do anything in life I sought to do. Hopefully, I've done the same for the children I was fortunate to have.

With such a great example to follow, how could I not?

My blog dates here at the Roses of Prose are the 11th and 23rd.

Visit me at:

Face Book and Twitter


Jannine Gallant said...

Great post, Margo. My mom's early years were spent on a farm with an outhouse - in Oregon. Guess they were everywhere! This was in the 40's. Happy Mother's Day to all the moms out there - especially mine!

Margo Hoornstra said...

Amazing how different life is now. I remember an outhouse at my uncle's cabin. Happy Mother's Day for sure. To yours too, Jannine.

Colleen Connally said...

Touching! I know how you feel. I'm fortunate my mom is still here, but my grandmother was like a second mother. Thank you for reminding me. Happy Mother's Day to you tomorrow!

Margo Hoornstra said...


Thank you. My mother's mother was the same for me. Glad I could help you remember.

Melissa Keir said...

Those positive words from a mom are priceless. It is wonderful to see the similarities between two people you love.


Lucy Naylor Kubash said...

Love those "farm memories," some of which are similar to my own. I guess anyone who grew up on a farm in the middle of the 20th century remembers things like outhouses and collecting eggs. I never had to actually use the outhouse, thank goodness!

Margo Hoornstra said...

Moms are pretty special, aren't they, Melissa? For some reason this story fascinates me. You're right, between two people I love.

Margo Hoornstra said...

You're right, Lucy. Those memories draw us together. Never used an outhouse? You really missed something!