The mother of Lil Mouse

Harriet May O’Neal Andrews. Stay at home mom for many years. Stay at home didn’t mean lay on the couch. She only took time to watch “Days of our Lives” on television around noon. She ate and folded laundry or did something else productive while she watched. Lil Mouse remembers the OLD tv that had a few channels you had to get up to change. No remote controls – no cable, satellite, or digital tv – oh and to watch a different channel, you had to turn the tv antenna on the roof. Stay at home also meant: baked cookies and bread. A snack waiting for you after school. A clean house with laundry always running. Always stocked the freezer with popsicles. Taught Lil Mouse to eat lumps of brown sugar. Shopping at the discount stores once a month to stock up on canned food, boxed pasta, and frozen essentials. Always looked for deals and bought what was on sale for dinner that week. Hard worker, always. Put 100% effort into things. Mowed the grass, by herself. With a push mower. You actually had to push. Grew a garden, HUGE at times, growing things like potatoes, strawberries, asparagus, spinach, radishes, turnips, carrots and melon on occasion. She ALWAYS canned green beans and tomatoes. In pint and quart mason jars, including tomato juice and whole tomatoes. She grew cucumbers for Lil Mouse’s father and made cucumbers and onions. Even though she hated them. She even made pickles a few times and drove the kids out of the house with the pickle-y smell. She encouraged the children to talk, to share, to learn how to cook, to help around the house, pick up after themselves. To be kind to others. Everyone had chores. She helped with the animals. She did a LOT with the animals. She fed birds, and squirrels when they had them. She enjoyed her bird feeders and bird bath. She also liked getting outside to walk, to burn the trees and branches that had fallen during the winter and toast marshmellows over that fire and the gas stove in the kitchen. Eventually she went back to work and she’d set something up for dinner with instructions or she’d come home and hurry to get dinner on the table. She’d be tired, but she’d still do everything she’d done before. There weren’t as many cookies or fresh baked bread, but the garden, canning, and love and sharing would still get done. Her grandchildren arrived. Soon there were seven. Then she took a break as Lil Mouse was getting married and did a major clean of the house, getting rid of things that weren’t necessary, and making a nice place for Lil Mouse to get married. Shortly after that, she went back to work part time in a less stressful job. The cookies came back. The grandchildren took advantage of that. She couldn’t do as much in a day as back when Lil Mouse was truly little, but she still outworked Lil Mouse every day.

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