1961 – 62: Relatives and Tupperware Parties

We continue our saga.


 Uncle Jack, Schroeders, Pat, Jack & Diane

(I wish I knew who all these people were.  Don’t know the Schroeders. Jack  Ennis was my Dad’s first cousin, and his wife was Diane. Pat might have been Jack’s sister . OH! So Uncle Jack, then, was their father! This is all making sense now. John (“Jack”) Ennis, brother of Regina Ennis (my paternal  grandmother), was my Dad’s Uncle Jack. Some of the Ennis family history can be found at the St. Columba Cemetery blog. I met the bloggers once; delightful people! Anyway… what did Mom serve this little dinner party? Read on…)

– ham
   angel food & ice cream

(Mom may have been re-creating this from memory, as this very sparse entry is followed by a very large question mark. This also supports my theory that Mom hadn’t yet finalized her decision to record all her menus. If she had, there would have been much more detail about these early menus.)


 – early Dec.
  Gen, Kathleen, Tom, Marilyn, Grandma

(Gen was one of my Dad’s aunts by marriage; she was the widow of Andrew Ennis, my grandmother’s brother; he died at age 43 after an illness leaving Gen with 4 children, ages 10 to 3. Kathleen and Tom were two of those children; in 1961 they would have been 18 and 23. Marilyn was Tom’s wife. I’m guessing that “Grandma” was my Grandma, Regina (Ennis) Mueller.)

 – ham
apple pie (perhaps this was when Mom discovered she was a fantastic pie baker!)


Feb. – Don & Katie (Mom’s first cousin and her husband)
– white Catawba wine
bread sticks – rye rolls
Sunny Fruit Mold
Hershey bar torte
(again! Must have been a hit.)

(I never heard of Catawba wine before; it’s a sweet wine that probably was more popular mid-century than it is now. And that Sunny Fruit Mold: those “gelatin salads” were enormously popular back then, and I know Mom made lots of different versions. Found a blogger who recreates these retro recipes; I think I am going to spend some time on that site! The rye rolls may have been from Pinah’s Bakery, on nearby 39th and Center. I know that Mom and Dad bought rye bread and other baked goods from them for years)

While paging through her well-used Betty Crocker cookbook, I found a note alongside a receipt for Chocolate Vienna Torte:


“Made for Tupperware party, 1962”. Don’t know who the Tupperware Lady was, but I now know where Mom got the Tupperware that she had for the next 52 years.  Maybe her party looked something like this one:

“Tupperware party” by Tupperware Corporation – Prelinger Archives, http://www.archive.org/details/tupperware_3. Licensed under Public Domain via Commons – https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Tupperware_party.jpg#/media/File:Tupperware_party.jpg

And that wraps up 1961 – 62.

By 1962 Mom had three children: a 4 year old girl (yours truly), a 2-1/2 year old boy, and a 1 year old boy. Her fourth child wouldn’t make his appearance until 1964.

She and Dad bought their house on Sherman Boulevard in Milwaukee in 1958 or 59. It was a four bedroom Milwaukee bungalow layout with a Tudor exterior.

So: there was a house to keep up, very young children at home all day long, and possibly a garden (though I suspect the serious gardening didn’t get rolling until a later, in the ’70s.) She was washing cloth diapers – (the disposable diaper was invented in 1948, but I’m pretty sure Mom never used them) – and at this point I think still had an old-fashioned wringer-washer machine (probably something like this). She didn’t have a car during the day as they only had one, so Dad usually did the grocery shopping. There was a little neighborhood grocery store not too far away, however, so maybe she sometimes got out the big old buggy (it looked a lot like the one below)  and took us all along with her.

Photo from https://www.liveauctioneers.com/item/4239760_1940s-1950s-baby-carriage-2792
Photo from https://www.liveauctioneers.com/item/4239760_1940s-1950s-baby-carriage-2792

Mom was busy, for sure – but honestly, those years are some of the best years in any young mother’s life.

Let’s follow along.

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