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My Mothers Keeper

Susan Olejasz, Maine, USA
November 2002

My mother told this story to me when I was young, years ago, it still shakes her up to this date.

When my mother was young she lived in northern Maine, they had a potato farm and in the Fall the schools closed down so the children could help with the harvest. My grandparents had a large farm house and thirteen children. My mother was one of the youngest, often, because she was so little, she would be left home alone while everyone else worked in the field.

There was an elderly woman that lived across the street and spent most of her day sitting on the front porch. If the children ran into the street, for a ball or such, she would raise her cane and yell at them to get out of the road before they got hurt. Later she would let my grandparents know and the child would be punished.

One certain day my mother was left home alone, as usual, and she was in the front yard, playing ball. The ball went into the road and she ran after it, as usual the neighbor yelled at her and she ran back into the house. At dinner time the family sat and discussed the day, my grandmother asked my grandfather if he had heard from the neighbor next door? At this point my mother began to eat very quickly because she was afraid of the upcoming punishment. My grandfather said that he hadn't heard anything at all. With that my mother relaxed and felt ok that she would not be told on.

Later that evening the phone rang and my grandfather answered. After he spoke for a short time he returned to the living room where the entire family was spending time. He informed my grandmother that their neighbor had passed away the night before and they had needed them to help clean the house.

It seems that she needed to protect my mother one time.

Susan Olejasz, Maine, USA
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