Mom told us that she was 13 when her mother went to the hospital and never came home. She had teeth pulled and, as a result, developed leukemia. (I suspect that it was really sepsis, but this is the story my mother's family tells) Mom told us that she regretted saying mean things to her mother before she died and that the hospital would not allow her to visit because she was under age for visitors.
Mom was never a good swimmer. She says that her mother taught her to swim by calling her to wade into water that was over her head. This was one of the few persistent memories she had of her mother. She describes her parents as so in love with each other that they gave their children little attention.
After her mother died her father was overwhelmed with taking care of three girls. He did hire a Mexican girl to help. Mom told us about living in a tent and having squirrel meat for Christmas. Of course that story was also her way of letting us know how ungrateful we kids were for the good fortune we had, just as I disapprove of how spoiled today's kids are.
Another story Mom shared was of being reprimanded in school for chewing Dentyne gum. Dentyne had been advertised as being good for your teeth. Mom did not think of it as chewing gum, but as doing something healthy, so she was highly offended at being told to stop.
She also fascinated us with stories of wearing a horned toad as jewelry. She avoided trouble in school until one day a teacher saw it move.
That reminds me of a story about some relative who had a pet frog that lived decades until it got stepped on on the stairway. I can't remember the source of that one.
Patty passes on this story.
The turkey incident was in New Mexico when they were living in a tent and Mom was sleeping in a food locker. Grandpa was so good with a twenty-two, he could hit a squirrel between the eyes to save the meat. I don’t know what they were going to have for Thanksgiving, but it wasn’t going to be turkey. They woke up in the morning and there was a flock of turkeys in the yard that they had never seen before. Of course Grandpa shot one for dinner and they never saw the flock again. And that was the story. Turkeys around here are pretty common, I guess they just hadn’t seen any.