It’s August. It’s hot. It’s the dog days of summer.

Here in the Midwest, it’s been exceptionally hot and humid. At our house, we don’t normally need air conditioning because we live high on a hill, surrounded by breezy trees. But lately, I must admit, it’s been a bit sticky. I haven’t expected many visits from my daughter-in-law, who’s now in her final six weeks of pregnancy.

I wonder what it was like 77 years ago for my grandmother Ruth? She would have been eight months pregnant with her first child—my mother Carol, who was born August 23, 1933. Back then, there certainly wasn’t air conditioning for the common family living in Chicago. I wonder if it was hot, humid and extremely uncomfortable that year like it is now?

Or three years later, in June 1936, when she was pregnant with her daughter Judith? What was life for Ruth like then?

In the video I have of Ruth’s remembrances, she talks about her days of early motherhood. It’s mostly factual things, like where they were living. It’s interesting stuff but I wished I’d thought to also ask more personal, thoughtful questions.

What was it like being pregnant in the 1930s? What was my grandfather like as an expectant father? How hot was the August of 1933, or the June of 1936?

Anyways, here’s what we do have…

“When we decided to have a child, we moved to Blue Island, Ill,” says Ruth to me, in the video. “This is where your mother was born.

“We live there just a year. Then we moved back to Chicago and lived upstairs in an aunt and uncle of mine—their apartment. Then, when Judith was born, when I left for the hospital, I left from that apartment. While I was in the hospital, Grandma and Grandpa Arendt (Emma Hornburg Hooge Arendt and Rudolph Arendt), and an aunt of mine, and George (Ruth’s husband) moved us to a bigger apartment, nearer to church. We lived there until 1940, when we bought the bungalow on (8245 S.) Ada St.”

Stay cool everyone. It’s been hot before. It’ll be hot again.

Four Generations

A four generation gathering: In back, l-r, Emma Arendt and Ruth Larson, holding baby Carol. Seated in front, Wilhemina Hornburg.

Larson, George, Ruth, and baby Judith

George and Ruth Larson, with baby Judith.

George Larson Family

George and Ruth Larson Family, daughters Carol and Judith, circa 1939

My Aunt Judith gave me this picture. She said she remembers feeling conscious of her father holding the corner of her dress. She looks somewhat concerned about it, don’t you think?


Happy Mother’s Day

May 8, 2010

Ruth Larson was a unique and interesting woman. She was a daughter, student, businesswoman, craftswoman, and a Christian.

And she was a mother.

Pictured above are the two little girls who were blessed to have Ruth as a mother—Carol Ruth, born in 1933, and Judith Ann, born in 1936.

Aren’t they precious?

Throughout her life, Ruth was so proud of her girls. She adorned her walls and tables with their pictures. She filled her conversation with news of their lives.

A mother’s love is always there. And Ruth always loved her girls.

Happy Mother’s Day!