Hazel Aileen Largaud Bridges was born in Pt. Roberts, Washington on June 30, 1900. I called her Grandma Bridges. She lived well into her 90’s. She was a wife, mom, sister, tea drinker and a very hard worker. Her husband died just under twenty years of marriage. She was a widow the rest of her life. That meant, she still had three (including a set of twins) of her five children still at home that had to be fed (she baked bread 3 days a week after she came home from working all day) and cared for. She kept a small albeit very neat house. She picked berries and fruit and vegetables and canned everything. She made meals seven days a week for her family.
She needed a job. She went to work at the cannery. She stood on her feet all day long. She took a small boat, The Plover from Blaine over to the cannery every single day. (Side note: our children have taken a trip on the refurbished Plover.) She was an expert in crochet. Every year on our birthdays, a crisp dollar bill would flutter gently out of the card.
When you skim through all the old family history, the main things recorded were name, birthday & place. They don’t mention things like what type of crib she slept in or if she had a crib at all. I am guessing if she slept in a crib it was borrowed & had been passed down through many siblings. The history books don’t record if she was a fussy baby or if she and her sisters, Grace and Flossy were good chums.
Over the weekend, Mr. Right and I took a trip to Babies R Us. Wow. Intense & overwhelming are two good words to describe the store. First, if you have never been, it is huge. It smells like a freshly powdered baby and oodles of stern store workers wearing headsets have their fingers posed ready to type in the name of the parents to be, into their computer data base.
There are young couples, in all stages of pregnant walking around dumbfounded. They each have a glazed look on their faces. Do we need this? Do we really need that? In a sad, strange way, I feel like those young couples are being bullied. That store is an assault on the senses. Gosh, just being there, you start to feel like you won’t be successful if you don’t buy this or that.
The marketers are very, very good at their jobs.
Then there are the grandparents. You can spot them a mile away. Smiling, ready to chat with anyone about their new grand to be. They have the printed registry in hand and are shopping for things on the list. They are old enough to have cash, credit/debit whatever needed to buy everything and anything the new babe will need or ever want. We tried not to look too confused as to what this or that was. Some items I remember using and were a big help with our boys and our other two grands. Some things, I didn’t know I needed.
There was the $95.00 baby spa, bath set. Um, no, I don’t think a new-born baby has enough stress to warrant a spa bath set. I must say those gentle bubbles and soothing music did look inviting. It was pretty small. Looked like the perfect foot spa for Grandma Daleeeeeeen. ha
Then we saw something called the Rockaroo. He figured out how to turn on the computerized machine. Apparently, it is for busy mom’s that don’t have an extra set of hands to rock the baby on their shoulder while stirring pasta for dinner. You put the baby in this seat, then choose a setting: rocking, car motion, up and down etc….. For $249.00 you too, can buy this contraption, which I am sure is very good. I just had visions of our of our youngest son getting car sick, while sitting in a Rockaroo on the kitchen floor.
Actually, I remember a friend wearing a backpack while she cooked. Kevin sat happily looking over her shoulder. Then I remembered an Army wife in Oklahoma. She wore a back pack while she mowed the lawn. I asked her if she would like me to watch her baby while she mowed? Happily, she said, no thanks. Good exercise and she was “teaching” him how to mow a lawn. ha
I want to tell our son and daughter in law, take a deep breath. You will be amazing parents. It will be okay. We have come a long way in 114 years. However, I think if you have a kind heart (which you do) and a desire to dress your babe, swaddle him in a blanket and rock him on your shoulder….. you will be just fine and dandy. And so will he.
Hazel Aileen Largaud Bridges did not have a spa bath set nor the rockaroo when she was born. Nor did she have it for her five children.
She did fine. She did amazing. She crocheted them each their own blanket with yarn she had to save up for.
She went on to crochet each of her grands and greats a crocheted afghan.
She rocked babies while she canned and made dinner and baked bread.
Grandma Bridges went on to rock 15 grandchildren. Grandma Hazel to some, went on to rock oodles of great grand children.
She wore a silver charm bracelet with the heads of all of her children, grands and greats every single day until the day she passed away.
Happy Birthday, Hazel Aileen Largaud Bridges, you have left behind a beautiful family legacy.