Sunday, May 3, 2009

"M" is For. . .

No, it's not Mother's Day yet, but this is a followup to my last post about my Mother.

In my last post, I celebrated my Mother's 100th. birthday. Imagine if Sophia Pawlak were still alive! She was born in the first year of the presidency of William Howard Taft. To kids today, you might as well say "during the reign of Charlemagne." It sounds so distant, so foreign.

Look at this photograph, there's a lot to be learned. She was already a grown woman in 1931. She was in St. Paul, Minnesota and I don't know where she was going, but wherever it was - she was walking there. It was the Depression after all.

We also have a reminder of what was once a very common street scene - someone changing a tire. I've changed a few in my day, but not lately. It's not quite so common to see anymore, but even this friendly snapshot caught one.

Check out the sidewalk. Even in these circumstances, her shoes are nice, she knew where to put her money. The closer you look, the more impressive they are, they had soles on them and everything!

So, she had style, that's nice to know. At this point in her life, she was a live-in maid, so she didn't have a ton of money to throw around.

She was very frugal, very careful with money, but I must say, she continuously found 50 cents for comics for my brother and I even though I bet that 50 cents would have come in handy, you know for food and stuff.

Here's a shot of Mom with her brother, my Uncle Richard, when they were working for the von Neida
family on Normandy Isle in Miami. Mom was the housekeeper and part-time nanny for their grandson, Marc Beebe. I've been to the house in the photo (on Normandy Isle) and duplicated the photographs of the property, it's changed but still easily recognizable. I was able to stand in the very spot where they stood in 1937.

Working in the housekeeping industry around all that dust can end up giving you a really dry throat and a tremendous thirst. But Mom was able to identify a remedy for that. Beer. Or the occasional 'high-ball'. Why, I've even had one or two myself after a particularly tough housekeeping day.

I can't really say enough about the photograph below, you're really going to have to look at it in detail. I did, when I was figuring out where this bar was so I could track it down. That's Mom in the foreground and her friend Freddy holding a full sized mannequin on his lap. There must be a great story behind how he came into it's possession. Then there's the guy half standing in the center rear apparently wearing an earring long before they became fashionable. And the South American looking guy giving the side sockets to the drunk. And the prim looking banker's wife type who was probably drunker than all the rest of them. What a great photo. Party down!

Using my incredible detective skills, I was able to identify that this was taken at the Park Avenue Restaurant on Miami Beach, the site of which is currently underneath the Miami City Ballet. I bet they didn't see that coming. I wonder if occasionally some swan will be doing a fouetté rond de jambe en tournant and suddenly the ghost of drunkenness past would smack her and knock her on her ass. She'd look around to see what just happened and somewhere my Mom would be smiling.


Leah Kleylein said...

very good description of the bottom picture! I knew exactly who you were talking about with each person you mentioned!!!

Dave said...

Didn't mom have that picture in your last photo on the wall in the utility room in Opa Locka?