Sunday, April 29, 2012

During the days of Charity Thomas.........

Charity was a huge influence in our families lives when I was growing up. She was the most wonderful, sweet, truly good person I have ever had the pleasure of knowing. She worked for Grandma as the household "maid". That is what they referred a woman who would come and clean the house and take care of the children. Sometimes she would stay overnight but for the most part she went home every night. She even wore an uniform.....things sure were different in those days.

She lived on the south side of Chicago in a pretty scary neighborhood and would take the train to Howard Street and then transfer to the Skokie Swift everyday. It was a huge commute for her, sometimes her husband would come and pick her up.....he was a little scary too...she would tell me stories of him and how he treated her...which was not too great and I remember being afraid for her. When you were born, being the first grandchild in the family you were extremely special to everyone. Charity would babysit for you while I would do my various errands or whatever. We lived so close to Grandma and I was able to stay home and raise you and Chel...I never took that for granted.

Charity was like a member of our family and we all loved her so much. When you were first born, I would come over to Grandmas house with your portable crib.....it was on wheels and had a screen on top that you could zip all the way around. (We would let you sleep outside while we were at the pool at our apartment complex and you would be protected from the bugs.) Sometimes Charity, to get you to fall asleep when it was time for you to take a nap, she would push you around Grandmas house in your crib singing gospel songs until you dozed off. Grandma had a sprawling ranch house with 6 bedrooms..it had been added onto twice, so it was an interesting layout where you could go around and around through the kitchen and living room with a fireplace in between. Charity adored you so much.....

She was in our lives for so many years and then once she left we kind of lost touch, which was really sad. She had a daughter who really didn't like Grandma too much so she never let us know what happened to Charity years later, but I heard she may have a several strokes and finally died. I actually had a dream about her a few years ago. She was ironing at Grandmas house and when I saw her, I yelled,"Charity"!! I ran over to her and gave her a hug in which felt so real. I didn't want to let go...we were both crying in the dream. Then it was over.....


Can you dig those colored cabinets...so 50"s



I do have one negative memory of Charity and that was the day that I offered to take her home after work. I should preface by saying that I always had a fear of getting lost, I would always worry about it...getting lost in a bad neighborhood was terrifying to me. I think the only reason I went was because I felt safe being with Charity and also I knew her husband was a tough guy and he would protect us. I went with you when you were about 4 years old. It was kind of shocking for me to see a man on the street in broad daylight drinking liquor from a paper bag, sitting on the stoop of an apartment building. Our world was truly like living in a bubble thus far.....it was a definite culture shock for me.
During the short time we spent dropping Charity off..... her German Shepard dog ended up biting you in the face. It had just missed your eye and made a scratch just below your eyelid. I was freaking out and got you out of there so fast, insisting Charity drive us to the entrance ramp going towards the suburbs and away from the south side of Chicago....I had been so scared of getting lost in that neighborhood. I haven't been back there since.


DANCE LESSONS:

When you and Chel were younger you both showed an interest in tap dance, so we signed you up at Jane Perry Studios in Arlington Heights. Jane was an "old school" dance instructor who would dance with the little kids and they could mimic what she did in a mirror.  She would have dance recitals at the end of the year that you and Chel really enjoyed. Our family would come to the shows and patiently wait for all of the other kids to go through their dance numbers until it was your turn....Just wanted to share some of the photos we took during those days......you guys were too cute!







I didn't want to leave out Chelsey.......


I really wish we could somehow go back in time, just for a while to be there again!

miss you tremendously........m

1 comment:

  1. Sherri, I can't believe you haven't been back to the south side. I would love to take you around, maybe visit Charitys old house? Charity sounds like a wonderful woman, she reminds me of some of the women at my church.

    Chris

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