From My Mother's Notes

 Phyllis Fricker's Memory Book


 Mother's stepmother:
Mabel House

She was a very attractive woman with olive complexion, long black hair and beautiful white teeth and brown eyes. She never had a filling in her teeth all her life. She was a stern woman and a very difficult step-mother. I suppose she was over-anxious to bring me up right. She was a strict disciplinarian and did not spare the rod. She was a nagger. When Aunt Gertie visited us one time in Grand Rapids, Michigan, she said to mother, "Mabel - you nag that child from the time she gets up in the morning until she goes to bed at night. My mother said "I do not!" I don't think she realized. It was just a bad habit.

 Mabel House & Minta Finch

I remember when we lived in Valpo I was coaxing and coaxing her to let me go bare-footed. All my playmates were bare-footed. Finally she said," Oh alright, go bare-footed but you'll be sorry! You'll cut your foot on glass or something and you'll be sorry." I ran down the sidewalk - stubbed my toe, and ripped the toe-nail right off my big toe. Of course she said, "I told you so." which was small comfort to me. It seems I was always falling. Dad used to call me "scurvy knees" or "scabby knees" because I always seemed to have scabs on my knees.

Mabel Brock nee House
She set a beautiful dining-room table with snowy white linen cloth and napkins monogrammed by hand - crystal goblets and Old Colony designed silverware.

She sometimes made a special fruit salad which looked like a candle - she would put a piece of lettuce on each plate, then a slice of pineapple. In the center of the pineapple she would set upright a peeled ½ a banana, on top of this would be a dollop of whipped cream and then a cherry to top it off - very artistic.

She used to make a salad we called "Hot mashed potato salad". She would cook and mash a huge pot of potatoes. She spread this about an inch thick all over a big platter. On the potatoes she spread home-made salad dressing (boiled). Then over all she would put pre-prepared and chilled vegetables - such as celery, radishes, tomatoes, lettuce, onions, etc. It was delicious and we used to clean up the platter.

She also made a lovely casserole of lima beans and pork chops on to for which I don't have a recipe.

Mother was a good seamstress and usually made all of my clothes. When we lived in Cadillac, Michigan, she and my father belonged to a social club called the Tanzer Club, I believe there were about 50 couples. They used to hold a dance once a month and the ladies wore formal gowns and the men wore business suits. She made herself a beautiful red satin gown and did she ever look smashing with her lovely long black hair worn in a chignon at the nape of her neck. Then the era of bobbed hair came in. Dad told mother that if she cut her hair he would leave her. She did and he didn't, but somehow she lost a lot of her charm because her hair was straight and the bob didn't really become her.

Percy Kenneth Brock | Valparaiso, Indiana | Cadillac, Grand Rapids & the Stock Market Crash | 
Mabel Evelyn House
 | Family jokes | Mabel passes | Mary Faulkner | Farm Life | 
The well-equiped kitchen
 | An old-fashioned wash day | Goose feather beds | "I 'ope he don't bust!" | 
In the good old Summertime
 | A daring escape | Black Diphtheria | Frank Faulkner | 
Aunt Clara & Uncle Bill
 | Aunt Hilda |