Roots

Perhaps growing up around superwomen and on Grandma’s farm, influenced me to embrace a nutritious, healthy, lifestyle. As a young married woman, I explored growing my own vegetables, making bread and canning. The amount of energy and mess that followed preparing, sterilizing and filling dozens of jars soon lost its luster. Plus, I obsessed over the possibility that I would poison my family with botulism. Nevertheless, I persevered and had even greater appreciation for Gram and Mom.

Gram’s routine was to go out early in the morning, pick tomato worms off the plants, weed and prune them. So I attempted to follow her lead, with little success. My farming outfit consisted of rubber boots and rubber gloves. It was a bit more difficult to catch those squirmy, fat, green, creatures. I finally succumbed to sharing the bounty with God’s critters.

Aunt Ruth and Uncle Bill were great baymen, as in Great South Bay, Long Island. They supplied us with crabs, clams and fish, every summer. I learned how to shuck the clams, however the first time I attempted to clean and filet a fish, the scales exploded all over the kitchen including the ceiling and I was left with a fish stick. I think glue is made from fish scales.  My superwoman cape was looking pretty ratty but it didn’t stop me.

My relatives often compared me to my fraternal grandmother. I thought that may have left me out of the superwomen gene pool. My other grandmother was pretty special, but I didn’t know enough about her, to put her in the supernatural realm. She lived three hours away, so I didn’t get to spend much time with her. I hoped at least to have inherited her and my father’s sense of humor.  I thought I might be relegated to drinking beer and watching sports with Dad, which if I admitted it to myself, was a lot more appealing as opposed to the non-stop actions of my mother.

Not having much money lent itself to the art of doing many things by hand and from scratch. My attempts at sewing for my daughters and myself often had us looking like we were just off the prairie. It was satisfying, if not attractive. Thankfully, our resources picked up enough to relieve me of my millinery efforts.

Limiting my daughters sugar intake was thwarted by our neighbor, whose kids had whole packages of cookies and candy under their beds. Our house had a “two cookie” rule, that confounds my daughters to this day as being barbarically restrictive.

I forged ahead, exploring ways to create a healthy lifestyle for myself and my family. I began to practice yoga, which was a bit outside our family norms, fifty years ago. Mom always exercised, basically yoga stretches, but yoga was an alien concept at that time. I bought a book, “Richard Hittleman’s Yoga, 28 Day Exercise Plan” and it became a foundation for my lifetime practice. I wasn’t sure where I fit into my family genealogy, but it didn’t stop me from trying to make them proud.

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