Obviously they had to leave otherwise their lives would be at danger but I often think… was it really necessary to leave our heritage and culture behind. Couldn’t we just have kept it wherever we went???? Now do I have to carry this task on reclaiming our heritage for my children? Maybe if they did keep their roots, I wouldn’t have to go through difficulty getting in touch with my culture. My Grandmothers father was said to be a Mughal descendant. I don’t know much about him although I do know there is a sad family story. My grandmothers great grandparents were high class Mughuls in Delhi (1850’s). When the Peanuts and Cracker Jack shirt so you should to go to store and get this Indian Mutiny took place they ran and fled because the British would kill any Mughul they could find. They hid in mosques and everything and eventually settled in Rawalpindi. They had a son who then unfortunately died in a market shooting rampage at around 21 years old. He died before my grandmothers father was born. Then my great grandfathers mother passed away when he was a young child. We grew up very poor, but living on a dairy farm, we were never lacking for food. A good year for Christmas might mean getting some socks, underwear, an orange a treat, and maybe a toy. Clothes and other practical items were typical gifts. We were lucky to get a birthday cake – no birthday gifts. Hand-me-down clothing was the norm. Nothing was thrown away until it was used, abused, and destroyed. Then my mother would cut it up and use it to make quilts. I remember a time in the 1960s when muscle shirts were in fashion. Three of my older brothers each got one. I wore those hand-me-down shirts for about 5 years, growing out of one size then moving on to the next size. They looked something like this, but not as stylish. As another person commented, we all learned to eat fast because if you wanted a second helping of anything, you better eat what you have quickly and grab the bowl for seconds. In our case, we also had to finish dinner and get out to the barn to milk the cows and do our chores. The sooner you got the work done, the sooner you could do your homework, and then maybe get an hour or two in front of the black and white TV.
Peanuts and Cracker Jack shirt, hoodie, tank top, sweater and long sleeve t-shirt
We fought frequently. When you have that many people crammed into a house, arguments are inevitable. We slept with 3–4 kids per bedroom. I remember sleeping in the Peanuts and Cracker Jack shirt so you should to go to store and get this same bed with two siblings when I was very young. It was great. When you have single-pane windows with frost on the inside, sleeping between two warm bodies is a luxury. On the other hand, fighting over limited resources was a frequent occurrence. One nice thing about having a large family was always having someone to play games with. With just our own family, we easily could play basketball, tag, other outdoor games, Monopoly, and other board games. And there was always someone old enough to drive so that we could get to school without the bus, get to band/sports practice, and other school events. Both of our parents had jobs outside the home. My father worked in a factory and worked the farm, of course, he had lots of free labor in me and my siblings. My mother worked several jobs – seasonal jobs, factory work, wedding cook, etc. So, in many ways, my older siblings raised me. Two of my sisters eventually became school teachers. They served as my surrogate mother – helping with homework, etc. You learn from older siblings. I always wondered how an only child learned the ropes in many areas of life. As a large family grows they tend to spread out. We now have 99 living members of our family including 12 of the original 17 siblings, their children, spouses, grandchildren, and even great-grandchildren. As you grow apart and grow older, you start to lose touch with each other. Fortunately in this day of social media, email, texting, etc., we still stay in touch even though we are far apart. People get older. People die. We see each other less often and often it is at a major family reunion, a marriage, or a funeral. I get questions from people who hear I am from a big family like – do you know everyone’s name, birth date, etc.? Of course I know all of my siblings birthdays. Admittedly, it gets difficult to keep all of the names straight when it comes to great-nieces and nephews – especially those who I may not see for five years or more. One thing that helps keep us together and connected is our family calendar. We are on the 29th edition of a self-produced calendar that features a picture page each month for each family.