My Mother’s Knees

My grandparents, aunt and mother worked the fields up and down California in the 20’s, 30’s and early 40’s. After viewing the movie Adios Amor, listening to Maria Moreno’s story and the harsh poverty they endured it brought to mind old stories, some forgotten, some revived by Maria’s narrative. This time I thought about my mother’s knees.

“Although she had nice legs, her knees were bent together in an odd position at the center. She always preferred to keep them covered.”

When I reached adolescence, I finally asked her why her knees turned inward. She was knock-kneed. She said it was due to Rickets. I can’t begin to imagine how difficult it must have been to endure such poverty and not have enough money to buy milk? Although it wasn’t obvious to me at my young age, I later realized that somewhere near the beginning of her life Mom didn’t get a sufficient amount of calcium or good nutrition in her diet. It just makes me pause and admire my family’s strength and resilience during those difficult times. It’s good to remember to be humble, aware of another’s quiet suffering and to be grateful every day.

Storyteller Ruth writes, “I’m the daughter of a migrant mother who moved away from work in the fields in her late teens, not too long before she eventually married my father and had 3 children of her own. My mother passed away in 1998. I am now retired. I’ve done a variety of things in my life and spent 25 years of my work life as an academic counselor, advisor and teacher at the local state university. I’m a graduate of UC Berkeley and Harvard University. I always loved going to school and doing homework LOL”


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