Thursday, May 15, 2008

Lessons Learned

Larwill, Indiana combined 3rd and 4th grades, 1936-37 class. Mom is the 4 child from the left in the top row, she was in the 3rd grade. Two of her classmates are still good friends and they attended the birthday open house for mom's 80th birthday last Saturday.

Larwill, Indiana was (and still is) a small rural community about six miles west of Columbia City. Mom's family had moved there in 1935 and she attended the Larwill School for the rest of her school years. Classes for all grades, 1st through 12th, were held in one building, which was only a few blocks from their home.

Of course, mom learned reading, writing and arithmetic in school, along with history, home economics and social studies, but she was an "average" student, and according to her she didn't excel in anything, except making friends! Mom was the middle of five children and since their home wasn't far from school, it was the natural gathering place for all of their friends.

Along with the book learning, she learned how to do housework and help take care of her younger sister and brother. Life lessons learned through firsthand experience that served her well when she had children of her own after graduating in 1946.

When the time came for her to go to work outside the home, she was more than ready! Her first paying job was working in a factory, Playtime Products, in Warsaw, where they made toy baby buggies. Then my grandmother opened a restaurant in North Webster and mom went to work there. Her social skills came in quite handy while working with the customers and the other employees. In 1964, the restaurant was sold and mom got a job in another factory, North Webster Products. They made electrical wiring harnesses for refrigerators, freezers and other appliances. It wasn't easy work, but she was good at it. The company went through many changes over the years, but mom made it through all the lay-offs and downsizings and retired in 1993 after 29 years of service.

One of the most important lessons I learned from mom and the secret to her success, she says, was flexibility and a willingness to learn. Whenever she was asked if she had ever done a certain task, which she hadn't ever done before, instead of just saying "no" she always said "no, but I can give it a try" and invariably she would do just fine, not always, but most of the time. Many of her co-workers were women and many of them refused to even try a new task but she was always willing. She wasn't a perfectionist, but she always did the best that she could. Another lesson learned.

This post was written for the 48th Carnival of Genealogy whose topic is "Mom, how'd you get so smart?"



I love your mom's picture. She was adorable! I suspect you have inherited your mom's 'sure, I'll try it," attitude.

wendy said...

Becky - love the school picture! I think it's great that your mom still has friends from way back then! She sounds like a real "go-getter"! Thanks for sharing.