Monday, June 05, 2006

Different Paths


Harriet stayed at home (mostly). Pat was a career woman (mostly). Of course, things were not that simple, but that's how outsiders would see it looking at the overall picture.

Harriet had a job when she left home thanks in part to her older sister taking her under her wing. She worked for Ma Bell, as a phone operator. She had a short taste of being young, free, and independent. She always said it was a good thing to do, and encouraged all her daughters to at least do the same. She eventually became a homemaker, but always kept busy making money either through growing produce to sell, taking in sewing, selling eggs...or later working for the County as a Homemaker*.

Pat worked for many years in the offices of the J.C. Penney store in downtown Bemidji, Minnesota. The quintessential career woman, she was a bundle of energy with a great sense of humour.

All through their lives, they have been best of friends, not just sisters. Different choices, but their ties as sisters run deep - Mom, the little sister, and Aunt Pat, the big sister...

*A Homemaker was a person who basically travelled all over our very rural northern county to people that were underserved, undereducated, homebound, etc., and taught them about personal finance, how to keep a clean house, and even personal hygiene. I accompanied my Mom sometimes on days off from school during the winter months to see what she did for her work, and witnessed her helping many people, including the disabled and the elderly. She even did simple but much appreciated things like setting ladies' hair to help them look nice. In return, one lady showed her a new type of embroidery that she grew to love and share by making things for the family and giving away. She was very proud of that last job, which helped pay off debts so she and Dad could enjoy their retirement sooner. When they broke up housekeeping in 2001, she still had a few items from her old Homemaker job that I ran across...