Moving Day, circa 1933
I was entranced by my mother’s stories – all about the dilemmas of the 30s, the Great Depression. Never reluctant was she to retell the travails of Little Charlotte On The Ice Floes:
Come the end of the month, Mom would murmur about rent money. Dad answered by mapping out the next dwelling. Late that night, my senses on high alert for footsteps in the stairwell, I was once again loaded by like a burro: Mom’s shedding fox pelt over all the clothes I could manage to put on. Frying pan in one hand, big can of lard in the other, more cans stuffed under my arms, and a colander for a hat.
Our family would disappear monthly into the dense fog or deep snow or sweltering summer Iowa night, carrying our weary, cumbersome life like a sad caravan. The stray mongrel, Tilly, toddled behind, tail between her legs – even she reflected the shame of poverty.
Dad would eventually stop our mule train to light a Lucky, smoke tailing skyward, ashes flicked onto the cement. He’d whistle. Mom would sigh. My big brother, Tommy, never complained about handling three satchels, as long as his beloved sax could be strapped to his back.
I’d struggle to keep up, a three-foot Five and Dime housewares department wrapped in cheap fur. So to answer your question, Amer…
…that’s why I never had a doll. Who would’ve carried the frypan?
© 2012 Amy Barlow Liberatore/Sharp Little Pencil, photo by the inimitable Dorothea Lange
For The Sunday Whirl: Cement, Cumberson, Answer, Reluctant, Murmur, Senses, Dense, Pelt, Smoke, Map, Entranced, Stray
Also at Poetic Asides, for the Poetry Pantry.