Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Family Time

Another great prompt from Miriam over at AnceStories2: Stories of Me for My Descendants!

Did your family have a regularly scheduled family time?

No we didn't. During the week with my mother working full-time it was difficult to have a regularly scheduled time. We did however go grocery shopping on Wednesday nights - since the sales usually started on Wednesday and most stores gave "double coupons" on that day.

What sorts of things did your family do together most often?

Besides watching television, it seemed we had a "circuit" of relatives to visit - we would usually see my mother's brothers and sisters (all 11 of them) and my brother and I could play with our cousins.

Where did you spend your family times? At home or elsewhere?

At my aunts' and uncles' houses.

How important were family meal times?

That is one thing that Mom insisted on. We always ate dinner together. This was before fast food really took off. Also, I had just started cooking dinner each night starting at age 9.

Did you ever go for "Sunday drives"? Where did you go?

We would take my great-grandmother, Therese McGinnis Austin, for Sunday drives usually which would include stopping at Daitch Shopwell or the IGA in Ellenville or Napanoch, New York. Grandma had a large chest freezer that could store most items but certain things like milk she had to buy on a regular basis.

Did your family have a favorite place at which to eat out together? What made it a favorite?

Our favorite still, is Frankie & Johnnies in Hurleyville, New York. This is a typical New York Italian restaurant with great dishes, unbelievably low prices and huge portions.

Was there a favorite television show you liked to watch together (or a radio show to listen to together)? Did you ever read together?

I didn't really have favorite television shows that broadcast regularly. I was, and still am, a big fan of the historical mini-series like Roots, Backstairs At The White House, etc.

What kinds of things did your family talk about when they got together?

Sadly, we really didn't talk much. I was so wrapped up in my studies - my mother always told me that a good education was the key to becoming something and not living in poverty. And she was right.

Were there certain kinds of sports or activities that you participated in as a family?

My mother bowled and played softball so often I was the score keeper for each. Don't ask me if I could still remember how scoring in bowling went. I am sure the lanes these days have computers that keep track!

Did you ever have a family portrait done by a professional photographer? Was this done on a regular basis, or just occasionally?

Only occasionally but I think we have several - in fact I just scanned one at Scanfest on Sunday. But my mother and her 7 sisters always got together each May (Mother's Day weekend to go visit their mother's grave) and in October. They would take pictures each time and I have all of them.

Photos: Anna Heneberg Austin with her 8 daughters, abt 1950; the Austin girls, abt 1995

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