Reflections: My Parents’ Day Job

From time to time, I’ll be recording thoughts and events from my childhood. These memories are prompted from the Reflections from a Mother’s Heart – Your Life Story in Your Own Words. I plan on filling this book out one of these days to pass onto my children. I’m sure I’m not the only one who finds the lives of our parents fascinating. It’s weird to think of my parents as children and it’s really fun to hear stories about their past, how they met, etc. If my children read about my past, perhaps they will understand me just a little better.


Where did your father go to work every day and what did he do?

I don’t remember the name of the place my dad used to work, but I remember the building vividly. He was a TV repairman, he worked in electronics and he was quite good at it. He had books with circuit explanations and all kinds of complicated looking equations and mathematical questions and I was quite proud of how smart he was.

The building he worked in was a small, brick building on a corner lot in the middle of town. The shop was not located in a very “good” part of town and I think that’s my really first experience being around African Americans. It never really bothered me, it was just different being around so many people who didn’t look like me. (we didn’t have very many African American students in my schools).

Dad worked for someone, but the name escapes me. It seemed like it was just him and his boss that worked at the shop, but I could be wrong there. I remember walking into the shop and being overwhelmed with the metallic burning smell as they smoldered wires together. The shop was littered with TV, radios and VCRs. I remember there being TVs everywhere. Most of them had been gutted or were in the process of being worked on so tubes and wires were hanging out of many.

It seemed like dad worked ALL the time. But he had to. Mom was a stay-at-home mom, for which I’m most grateful for now, so we didn’t have a lot of money. My parents are money wizards and it didn’t seem as though we really went without too often. I do remember going to garage sales A LOT, but other than that, I didn’t really feel like a “poor” child until I got to middle and high school.

Dad had a shop in the basement of our house, too. He spent quite a bit of time down there working on TVs and various other electronic gadgets. My dad is quite an expert at circuits and electronics. In fact, he has written nearly 20 courses (could be more) for a school in New York. He’s highly intelligent and very logical.

Solder is still a comforting smell to me and every time I smell it, I think of dad.

How did your mother spend her day?

Mom was a stay-at-home mother. She was like the perfect 50’s type mother. She cooked for us, she made us clothes, she cleaned, she ran us places, mom was ALWAYS there. She bailed me out of so many things I can’t even begin to tell you.

I’ll never forget this one time though. It was when I was in the sixth grade. Ms. Roberts, my sixth grade teacher, had assigned a map of the United States. It was the size of two poster boards side-by-side and we had to cut out all of the states, color them different colors, locate their capitals and then glue all of the pieces, like a giant jigsaw puzzle, onto the poster boards. My best friend, Debbie, and I procrastinated and the night before it was due, we panicked. I think that was the time period that Debbie lived with us for a while (she was having domestic problems) and we begged mom to help us with our projects. We literally stayed up all night and worked on them. In fact, I was so tired, that I made a huge mistake and glued some pieces in the wrong places. I was about ready to give up and accept the “F” that I deserved anyway, when mom, being the creative and crafty person she is, came up with a solution. She fixed it. I still, to this day don’t know how she did it, but she cut that sucker in two and pasted it back together again. It wasn’t pretty, but it did the job. I think I ended up getting an “A” on the project, but I knew, even then, I didn’t deserve it. Mom should have let me get an “F.” I think one of the reasons I got the good grade is because Ms. Roberts liked me.

Did she have a job or do volunteer work outside of the home?

The only job I remember mom having was being a telephone operator. She worked evenings and I hated not having her there. In fact, it caused so much stress on the family not having her around that she finally quit – the money simply wasn’t worth the heartache it was causing and I knew mom was terribly unhappy being away from her family.

Mom was HEAVY into PTA. This used to embarrass me to death at the time, but now I really appreciate the fact that she was around the school. There was something cool in hearing other kids call mom, “Karen’s mom” and seeing her face in the hallways. She helped out in the cafeteria, too. When mom was involved we always had the best homeroom parties. Mom always went all out, making all sorts of delicious goodies and making cool stuff for the kids to take home. I was very proud of her for making so many kids happy. I was very fortunate to have a mother who was always there, who had ENDLESS patience with me and who still loves me unconditionally.

1 thought on “Reflections: My Parents’ Day Job”

  1. I vividly remember when I was VERY young (I couldn’t have been more than 4) watching my dad get dressing into fatigues for his military reserve work. For some reason I always got up at like 4am to see him off. The thing I remember most, these little military issue elastics that he wore around the top of his boots to keep the pants above the boot. I wonder if they still use those?

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