My Parents' Generation, by Connie Westreich

My father was born in 1897 and my mother was born in 1900. They were both born in a small town in Russia and migrated to the United States when they were quite young. They met in this country and married when they were in their early twenties.

They lived through hard times! My father started out as a door–to-door insurance salesman and worked himself up to become a high-producing sales agent for the Equitable Life Insurance Co. He would not let my mother work, although she was a talented dress designer. In those years, it was not fashionable for wives to work. My mother was very active in community affairs.

They lived through a long war and a great recession. My father and mother were very conservative in spending money. They shopped very economically. They looked for bargains and special sales. I was taught to save money at an early age. Besides spending money cautiously, I had my own Bank Account when I was 7 years old. I learned about ‘interest’ on money saved in a bank. Plastic charge cards were not used very much, but I remember how excited I was when I went shopping at age 12 in Macy’s, 34th St., NYC and charged my purchase. Of course, my mother accompanied me!

In later years, all the luxuries that my parents had accumulated they had worked hard for – especially my father. Education was high priority on their list of things to have. Although they never talked too much about it they always hoped that my brother and I would attend college and be able to accomplish great things in our lives. My brother (now deceased) was a Physicist with a PhD. I became a teacher with several graduate degrees.

My parents enjoyed radio and television. They did not live to see the cell phone age, ipods and all the other new electronic marvels. My personal feeling is that they were a generation of hard workers. We should not forget the values they lived by.

Connie Westreich
Southbury, CT © 2013

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