|Linda Fishing at the Mississippi River|
Growing up outside of Indianapolis, our family rarely had any fish or seafood on the dinner table. When visiting our grandparents, on the Mississippi River, there would occasionally be fresh water fish that my grandfather or dad caught, but their fishing was more recreational than anything. Jackie and I would "fish" with a bamboo pole and bobber and once in a while a sunfish or tiny perch might grab on, only to be thrown back, which was always a relief.
Maxine had developed a taste for lobster rolls on her honeymoon. Over her life she would occasionally try one at a restaurant and declare it was not nearly as good as the one she had on the east coast with dad those many years ago. The Midwest is not the place to sample lobster rolls.
Every Sunday, after church at Roosevelt Temple, my mom and dad would have Sunday dinner with our cousins, the Halls, Dorothy and Al. In their early married life, there was also Tim and Susan, and following along in 1948, Mark and myself, and then Jackie in '51. Sometimes we would have dinner at home and sometimes eat out at McLaughlin's Cafeteria, where if Mark and I behaved, we were given change to walk down the street and get chocolate cupcakes at the Roselyn Bakery for dessert.
|Linda and Mark Holding Hands, Susie behind them, and I am the baby|
The Clam Chowder story happened before I was old enough to remember it myself, but it was one of my favorite stories about one of Dad's special gifts....sharp eyes! Dad was one of the most observant people I have ever known. He never missed a chance to point out a groundhog peeking up from a culvert along the road, a deer still as a statue at the edge of a grove of trees. In the springtime, he was always bringing home little "gifts" for my mother of silk scarves and cardigan sweaters which had probably flown out of convertibles and fell along the side of the road for him to fine.
This particular Sunday, Al and Dorothy had invited Mort and Max to come over after church and they would all cook up a pot of clam chowder. Dorothy said she would get things going if Mort and Max would just bring the clams. Mort agreed. When they got into the car, Max asked him if he had money to buy the clams. He said he assumed she would still have some grocery money left, as he did not get paid until the end of the week. (Jackie aside...I bet mother had spent some of the grocery money on fabric to make cute little matching outfits for us.)
|Susie on Dorothy's lap, Mark on Earl's, Linda on Dad's, |
Mother and Al
This was in the day before credit cards and ATMs, so they emptied their pockets and purse to count up their resources to finance the clams. They were woefully short. Dad said, "Let me think," and proceeded to drive around in silence. As Maxine told later, after only a few minutes, he braked the car and pulled to the side of the street, opened the door, walked back half a block, leaned over, picked something up and returned to the car. He tossed a beat-up little leather coin purse in her lap and said, "Maybe there is something in this." When she opened the coin purse, there were several bills and coins inside, and YES, 'just enough' to buy the clams. To hear them tell the story, they lost so little time finding the funding that when they arrived at Dot and Al's, it was just time to add the clams.