They exemplified the very best of the Greatest Generation, and I was extraordinarily lucky to have had both of them in my life, no question about it. But in terms of kitchen skills and household management know-how, the credit goes mostly to Mom.
I did not fully realize my good fortune until I found myself falling back over and over again on her lessons in domestics while raising and launching my four children.
It took years and decades longer than it should have before I came to truly appreciate her fierce love for her nine children and the incredibly hard work she put into making sure that the transition to independent adulthood was remarkably seamless for all of us.
The thing is, my Mom’s own childhood did not exactly prepare her for the life she ultimately led.
Quite the opposite, in fact.
Raised in great wealth and largely by servants, she never even handled money before the age of eighteen.
And she most definitely was never given the chance to learn how to cook or budget. She always felt that her parents and those around her deemed her too much of the “dumb blonde” to learn.
So when she married my father, a man of modest means, she literally did not know how to boil water.