Saturday, February 13, 2010
Sunday, March 8, 2009
Recently, I had a visit from an old friend named Ruth, it had been many years since I had seen her. When her son learned that his mother had an old friend in Bel Air and he had a daughter living in Abingdon he offered to bring his parents for a visit. I will always appreciate his thoughtfulness.
I met Ruth in 1942 when we were about 15 years old. We were starting to work in Hutzler's department store. It was during the summer and I was going through a bout of teenage depressing. World War II was raging in Europe and in the South Pacific. My cousins, Uncles, and friends were being called up for service. No one knew what this war was going to cost our country in lives and money. My family was still struggling with the effects of the great depression. We lived from week to week and month to month.
An English lady who lived across the street told my mother that Hutzler's department store was hiring girls my age with a working permit. Mom soon took me to get a permit and off to Hutzler's we went. It was exciting to enter a beautiful large store with beautiful clothing and furniture. The job was to serve food in a salad luncheon room on the sixth floor. This was a new style that was copied from a salad room in New York. The room was decorated in green and yellow colored leather chairs. The salad and deserts were well prepared. It looked like heaven to me.
Located next to the Quixie was an elegant tea and dining room and the chairs were covered with white satin with red stripes. There was a beauty parlor on the same floor and the ladies would have their lunch sent over, a lifestyle at fifteen that I had never seen before. The clientele were very courteous, not like at the lunch counter in the basement. Sometimes on Thursday evening there would be a fashion show in the tea room. All of this was like a wonderful awaking and I was learning that there was a brighter side of life. It was a nice solution for a young depressed girl.
I worked with a group of girls my age and we wore cute colorful uniforms. I became friends with some of them. Ruth Filbey and Loraine Schneider were two of them. Sometimes on pay day a few of us would go some where to eat. We also went to the movies or the roller rink together. In time we broke up to search for higher paying jobs. Some of us tried to keep in touch by sending Christmas cards. As the war ended most of the girls were getting married and starting families. Then when I was 50 years old I got word that Lorraine who was the same age as I, had passed away. Now some of my friends were dying off. It was painful, but you have to learn to deal with it the best that you can.
In the spring of 2008, I sent Ruth a memoir story about taking a bus trip to the lovely little town where she lives in Pennsylvania. I was so close and knew I couldn't see her because on a bus trip you have to stay with the group. Ed couldn't drive that distance because he was having health problems. Then I received a call from Ruth that she was going to visit her granddaughter in Abingdon and her son could bring her and her husband for a visit. I was very anxious to see her after all of these years. I waited on the porch as the car pulled up. When Ruth got out of the car I could see the girl that I had remembered. Even though her hair was white, her stature was still the same. She said she has had some replacements, but it didn't show. We both have some heart problems and that didn't show either.
When I started to reminisce about our days at Hutzler's, Ruth had different memories then I did. She didn't seem to be impressed with the beauty of the store and she remembered that we only made 25 cents an hour. It never occurred to me that we worked for such a low wage. I could see that Ruth was more practical then me and that I was a dreamer. All that mattered to me was that I didn't have any money before and with my salary I could pay Mom four dollars board and have some dental work done on a payment plan. I needed one dollar for car fare and there was still some left over to buy a garment on lay away plan. Movies were 25 cents and if the girls ate out it was a cheap meal with no tipping. The experience of working at Hutzler's lifted my spirits, made me happy and taught me to want a better life. I think that was worth more than 25 cents an hour. I was on my way to the future.
Audrey Teal Kaminski
Monday, November 3, 2008
DREAMS October 20, 2008
Waking up from a bad dream can spoil your whole day. I try to shake this feeling by convincing myself that it was only a dream, but that doesn’t always work. When I was a little girl my grandmother taught me that when I had a bad dream to, “Thank God, that it wasn’t true”, then she would say that most of the time your dreams were the opposite of what was really happening . I did find that to be true, but grandmother isn’t here anymore when I need her.
Sometimes I can hear someone speaking to me as I am waking up. It seems very real at the time. The good dreams are about the years I was growing up with my two sisters and Mom is always there like she was at that time. I also enjoy dreams about having young children and the early years of my marriage with Ed. I haven’t had a good flying dream for a long time. It’s like being in a hot air balloon and floating over the earth and enjoying the beautiful scenery. I’m glad I can dream about this because I would never take a hot air balloon ride. I also like the dreams about Europe, except the ones where I get separated from Ed and the tour group. I can’t speak the language and I don’t know how to get back to the hotel. It’s a great relief to wake up.
We don’t have any choice what our mind and memory will put together for a dream. I think of our mind as a computer compiling all of our memory from our past. Then different parts of that memory comes together in odd ways and that’s why it doesn’t make sense. Another repeating dream is I have to be somewhere and I can’t get ready to be on time or I have unexpected company and I don’t have any food in the house to offer them. I have also visited places where I have felt that I may have been there before. I think these places may have appeared in my dreams. That’s a little spooky. I don’t intend to dwell on any of these things because I can’t explain them, so I’ll keep in mind what grandmother said that to be thankful they are not true.
Last night I had a dream about pain in my knee. The doctor had drained some fluid off of my knee and then he gave me three shots one week apart to relieve pain. Yesterday I was thinking that my knee was feeling a lot better and the pain had gone. I go to bed and dream that my knee was hurting. I could feel the pain very vividly and when I got up this morning I realized the pain I was feeling was in my dream. This wasn’t fair to have pain that was not there.
One of my strangest dreams occurred after Ed passed away. I woke up in the middle of the night and I felt someone in my bed hugging me very tightly. I was trying to get away because I knew Ed was not there. I ran into the bath room thinking I must have over night guests and someone has mistakenly gotten into my bed. I looked down to the driveway to see if there were any cars parked there. The driveway was clear. I opened the bathroom door and peeked to see if someone was in my bed, I was afraid to return. The blankets were messed up and I had a problem believing that there was no one there. So I ran out and quickly turned the main light on. That was the strangest dream I have ever had. If I hadn’t been so frighten I would have believed that Ed had paid me a visit. So we have good dreams and bad ones. The next time I feel that someone is in my bed I will say, “Hi Ed, I have been waiting fo you”.
Audrey Teal Kaminski
Tuesday, October 7, 2008
January 13, 08
Once in a while I think about former members of the memoir writing class. During the nine years I have been in the this class I have met many interesting people with great stories. Lately I have been thinking about two in particular, Florio Franetovich and Bob Reiter. Florio has passed away and Bob resides in a retirement community in Catonsville.
The way I remember, they appeared in class about the same time. They knew each other slightly because Bob was once in Florio’s current events class. Bob was exploring the senior center looking for classes that would interest him. He settled on an art and a light exercise class, but his favorite class was our memoir writing class, especially when we went out for lunch.
When Florio entered the class someone whispered that he was a retired lawyer. I thought “Oh My” I had better check the story that I was going to read. It was about my father’s wild young days and his problem with alcohol. I didn’t want to give a bad impression of the kind of stories that were read, so I choose a more slower and dull story. I realized later that was a wrong decision because we shouldn’t hesitate to read about our memories, besides he was a lawyer and I’m sure he has heard everything. Florio loved people and the more people he was around the happier he seemed to be. He had a great understanding of people. I guess that came easy after fathering seven children. He and his wife Katy invited our class to their home for several parties. Needless to say they were wonderful times.
Getting back to the beginning of my story. When we enter the class room new faces stand out and we know we have a new member. When Bob appeared I thought he was a very shy and an unsure man. I don’t know how I could have been so wrong. Anyway, he was being asked many question in a friendly way, like are you married, how many children do you have and where do you live. He looked a little stunned, so I interrupted and suggested that we don’t want to interrogate him. He smiled and choose me as his friend. He was happy to learn that Mary Jo knew his father who was a medical doctor. She remembered him from her nursing days. I’ll never forget Bob’s first story. He wrote about the time he and his wife suspected there was a forth child on the way. After he left the house to go work he would call his wife during the day and ask, “Have you come around yet” and the answer was always. “No”. When Bob finished reading, Florio looked at him and said, “I didn’t think you would write about your wife’s monthly cycle”.
Florio’s stories started out about his immigrant father, how hard he worked and wanted his family to have a better life. Then he wrote about his large and wonderful family. He loved humor and enjoyed bringing in jokes for the class. Florio was the instructor in the current events class. My husband and I joined his class and Ed got to know Florio and liked him. Suddenly things started to change because illness struck Bob’s wife, then Florio and then Ed. Bob was ill when we met him, but he was in remission. It’s sad that when you are in your senior years you meet all of these nice people and then they are gone. We have to remember how wonderful it was to have known them and what we would have missed if it had never happen. At least I had Ed for61 years.
October 6, 08
Recently I had a visit from an old friend named Ruth, it had been many years since I had seen her.When her son learned that his mother had an old friend in Bel Air and he had a daughter living in Abingdon he offered to bring his parents for a visit. I will always appreciate his thoughtfulness.
I met Ruth in 1942 when we were about 15 years old . We were starting to work in Hutzler’s department store. It was during the summer and I was going through a bout of teenage depression. World War II was raging in Europe and in the South Pacific. My cousins, uncles and friends were being called up for the service. No one knew what this war was going to cost our country in lives and money.
My family was still struggling with the effects of the great depression. We lived from week to week and month to month. An English lady who lived across the street told my mother that Hutzler’s Dept. Store was hiring girls my age with a working permit. Mom soon took me to get a permit and off to Hutzler’s we went. It was exciting to enter a beautiful large store with beautiful clothing and furniture. The job was to serve food in a salad luncheon room on the sixth floor. A new style that was copied from a salad room in New York. The room was decorated in green and yellow colored leather chairs. The salad and deserts were well prepared. It looked like heaven to me. Located next to the Quixie was an elegant tea and dinning room and the chairs were covered with white satin with red stripes. There was a beauty Parlor on the same floor and the ladies would have their lunch sent over. A lifestyle at fifteen that I had never seen before.
The clientele were very courteous, not like the customers at the lunch counter in the basement. Sometimes on Thursday evening there would be a fashion show in the tea room. All of this was like a wonderful awaking and I was learning that there was a brighter side of life. It was a nice solution for a young depressed girl. I worked with a group of girls my age and we wore cute colorful uniforms. I became friends with some of them. Ruth Filbey and Loraine Schneider was two of them. Sometimes on pay day a few of us would go some where to eat. We also went to the movies or the roller rink together. In time we broke up to search for higher paying jobs. Some of us tried to keep in touch by sending Christmas cards. As the war ended most of the girls were getting married and starting families. Then when I was 50 years old I got word that Lorraine who was the same age had passed away. Now some of my friends were dying off. It was painful, but you have to learn to deal with it the best that you can.
In the spring of 2008 I sent Ruth a memoir story about taking a bus trip to the lovely little town where she lives in Pennsylvania. I was so close and knew I couldn’t see her because on a bus trip you have to stay with the group. Ed couldn’t drive that distance because he was having health problems. Then I received a call from Ruth that she was going to visit her granddaughter in Abingdon and her son could bring her and her husband for a visit. I was very anxious to see her after all of these years. I waited on the porch as the car pulled up. When Ruth got out of the car I could see the girl I remembered. Even though her hair was white her stature was still the same. She said she had some replacements, but it didn’t show. We both have some heart problems and that didn’t show either.
When I started to reminisce about our days at Hutzler’s Ruth had different memories then I did.. She didn’t seem to be impressed with the beauty of the store she remembered that we only made 25 cents an hour. It never occurred to me that we worked for such a low wage. I could see that Ruth was more practical then me and that I was a dreamer.
All that matter to me was that I didn’t have any money before and with my salary I could pay Mom 4 dollars board and have some dental work done on a payment plan. I needed one dollar for carfare and there was still some left over to buy a garment on lay away. Movies was 25 cents and if the girls ate out it was a cheap meal with no tipping. The experience lifted my spirits, made me happy and taught me to want a better life. I think that was worth more then 25 cents an hour. I was on my way to the future.
Thursday, October 2, 2008
Today you never know what is ahead of you. Life use to be more simple. After growing up most people married young, had children and retired between age 62 and 65 and usually lived in the same house for many years. Ed and I followed this pattern very closely. In the year of 1989 after we retired we were not very happy knowing we had to relocate after thirty three years. Being retired we could live anywhere. Ed looked for the best buy he could find where ever it was. The house that we both liked for the price was located in Bel Air, an area we knew nothing about. I did like knowing it was a little closer to my sisters and later our youngest son and his family moved near by and that made us happy.
I was 62 years old, retired from a job I loved and wondered if the best part of my life was over. At least we could still travel, but that was about once a year with a few short trips in between. I needed something to fill in the rest of the year. That’s how I learned that you never know what’s ahead of you. I thought Bel Air was a lay back remote little town with farmers and hard working no nonsense people. The folks I met were very friendly, but I was surprised to find so many above average interesting people in this small town.
Ed was more out going then me. He checked out the senior center. I wasn’t quite sure if I was ready to join an old age club. I was already having trouble accepting my station in life. Then Ed decided to join a computer class at Harford Community College and later joined an exercise class. He was happy to be a student again. After a few years I gave in and decided to check out the senior center. I chose a ceramic class, then a quilting and craft class.
I learned a lot, but I wasn’t quite satisfied. Each time I saw the memoir writing class listed I would think I don’t know enough about writing to consider it, but then I remembered how much I enjoyed writing letters during the war. If this class didn’t work for me I could quit. On my first visit I knew this was what I was looking for. Many of the stories were about growing up, life experiences and travel. Some of the members were retired nurses, teachers and service people.
At that time I remember there were only two men in the class. One was our instructor Al Morey and the other was Fred Jacobs who was born in Germany long before World War ll. There was a lady who taught school in Egypt and another one who lived in Morocco for a few years and a retired army nurse from the Vietnam War. As time went on more men joined the class. During my time in class I met a retired psychiatrist, lawyer and semi retired judge. Once a new lady arrived and when asked about her deceased husband she said he was an army general. She became so inspired about writing her memoirs that she later wrote a book.
There was a lady from Norway and one from Germany and we heard stories about both countries. Some wrote beautiful poetry. All the stories were interesting even the one about a family kitchen table and how it was the center of gatherings for everything. I learned the more you write the better you get. In time you can see how to improve and be more descriptive, but best of all you are leaving behind a written legacy.
Audrey Teal Kaminski
Famous residents of Belair, Maryland
John Wilkes Booth -- American stage actor and assassin of President Abraham Lincoln.
Edwin Thomas Booth -- Brother of John Wilkes Booth, son of Junius Brutus Booth. Considered one of the greatest Shakespearean actors of the 1800s.
Augustus Bradford -- 32nd Governor of Maryland, 1862 - 1866.
Cigar -- Champion Racehorse
Blaze Foster -- Actor The Brave One, Wifey
Julienne Irwin -- contestant in America's Got Talent, a nationally broadcast talent show
Kimmie Meisner -- Figure Skating Olympian, 2006 World Champion & 2007 U.S. Figure Skating Champion
Jay Witasick -- Pitcher for Tampa Bay Rays
In our neighborhood there are a few walkers and joggers and then there was a man who walked a little white dog. He was very friendly and often stopped to let the children pet the dog. When ever Ed was outside working this man would stop to talk to him. I considered him another one of Ed’s many acquaintances. After Ed became sick and passed away I never noticed what was going on around the neighborhood, I was too busy trying to adjust to a big change in my life.
One day as I was washing my car I saw a lady approaching with this little white dog. She came to greet me. I told her I didn’t remember her, but I knew the dog. She smiled and said, “ Yes I know, my husband use to walk this dog”. Then she told me that her husband had passed away in May. She wanted to tell Ed, but she learned that Ed had passed away also. What a sad moment . We were two women in the same situation. Then she went on to say that she was still working, but was considering retirement. I told her that most people in the neighborhood were acquainted with her husband and the dog and we all thought that he must have loved that little dog very much. She explained that he hated that dog, but because he was retired he offered to walk him. How could we all be so wrong?
He was a man with an unpleasant chore, but turned it into a happy one. We will always remember him as a very nice person and the neighborhood will never be the same.
Thursday, September 4, 2008
Responsibilities August 30, 2008
During our time together Ed and I shared our responsibilities. He took care of our finances and I did the shopping. He handled the repairs and I did the household chores. Ed did the yard work and I planted the flowers and he planned our trips and I did the packing. It was a fun life. Now everything is up to me.
One of your sad responsibilities after losing your spouse is a trip to the Social Security bureau. While my daughter was still visiting, she called to make an appointment then she had to return home to Colorado. It’s important to take someone with you to help remember why you are there. My daughter in-law Carole was kind enough to assist me. With a folder of information off we went. When I was called by an interviewer, I was surprised to hear my maiden name, Audrey Teal. I was also surprised to learn that my social security record was still in my maiden name after being married for 61 years.
The interviewer asked if I was legally married, I answered I hope so because I wouldn’t want to upset the children. I showed her a copy of my marriage licence, but she said she had to see the original. I have never had this problem before and I would return with the original. She read my parents name and asked what is their social security number? I told her that I had no idea. I didn’t even know if they had one. My father would be 108 years old and my mother would be 100. The next question was have I ever been in jail, I told her not yet. I looked at my daughter in-law wondering what she was thinking.
Ed was collecting a small railroad pension about 30 dollars a month and I was collecting 7 dollars a month. He felt that he wanted what ever he was entitled to and that small amount added up after 20 years. This put us in Railroad medicare. I was told that I would be moved into regular medicare and receive a regular social security pension and I would also receive a 255 dollar allowance for burial. Now it was getting interesting because to have a funeral today can cost up to10,000 dollars. As we left the Social Security Bureau the interviewer said she was very impressed with my 61 years of marriage and to please stay out of jail. After this experience I began to wonder what was next. I was now on my own and everything in my life was my responsibility and I didn’t have Ed to advise me. He took very good care of me and I had a fun life.
Through our many years together he was always trying to teach me about life and now I have to remember those things. I wish I had payed more attention. I will work hard to survive and make him proud. He was a good teacher and I miss him very much. I will never be as happy as I was, but with the love and help of my family I will always feel like the luckiest woman in the world .
Sunday, August 24, 2008
My First Job in 1942
Now when I think back I suspect at age 15, I was going through a bout with depression. I was losing weight and my mother was very worried about me. She took me to The Woman’s Hospital for a check up. After a few tests I was told there was nothing wrong with me but I should try to eat food that was easy to digest. They put me on a special diet because I suffered with indigestion!!!
My cousin Esther’s mother-in-law Lottie worked in Hustler’s department store, down town. Lottie told my mother Hustlers was hiring young girls to work in their luncheon tearoom, part time. She said I needed an interest and I could earn some money. The tearoom was named The Quixie, meaning quick little restaurant. When I saw where I was going to work, I was delighted. It was a very attractive room with indirect lighting in the ceiling. The chairs were very colorful in pale yellow and green. Each customer had their own small table grouped for two, four and six people. The waitresses wore striped jumpers with a peasant blouse. It looked very elegant to me. Hustlers held classes for their employees to be trained. They were very strict about giving good service. This was a new concept for a lunchroom. The customer would pay ninety cents before entering and there was no tipping. This was a higher cost then it would be to eat in the Fountain Shop, in the basement.
There was a choice of four salads chicken, seafood, vegetable and fruit. The salads would come with two hot rolls freshly baked in their kitchen, a beverage and desert. The deserts were chosen from one of the two desert carts covering the room. I was impressed with the deserts. They decorated their deserts with real whip cream. I quickly enjoyed food I had never eaten before. I also gained back the weight I had lost. I really enjoyed my job and was as happy as I could be. The customers were very polite and a pleasure to serve. Even though they weren’t supposed to tip they would often do so anyway. Tips were to be turned in. There were two hostesses to seat the people.
These two young women came from upper class families and I always believed their families wanted them to work to get some experience. One of them seemed very spoiled to me. I once heard a rumor that the head supervisor said she would never make a Quixie girl a hostess. So I could see there wasn’t any future in that job. I became very fond of the girls I worked with. On payday we would go to some restaurant down town to eat dinner and then to a movie. I still hear from one of them. After sixty years we still send Christmas cards with a letter.
My job made a big difference in my life. I received praise for my work and I was earning money. There were shoppers working for the store who would come to eat and they would rate the service they received. I always got a good report. Sometimes someone from the Hustler family would visit. Before I left to work elsewhere, my sister Gloria and my cousin Esther obtained a job there also, so we have a lot of memories to talk about.
I have learned from this experience if you become depressed and unhappy, you should seek until you find what will help change things for you. It can be a very simple thing!