Thankful Thursday: Simple Pastimes of Times Past

Joan Joyce (Schiavon) Huesca
1928 – 1987


In her own words  (Part Nine)



My mother with Santa Claus, about 1931, Chicago
In this final episode from her (unfinished) bookJoan Joyce Schiavon Huesca: an Autobiography, my mother remembers her life as a child of the Great Depression in Chicago, Illinois. The footnote at the end of this passage was written by my father, Gilbert Huesca, who loved my mother deeply all his life.  He used to say that he thought of her “every fraction of a second.” 
“Economy in those days was very sparse, and we spent our time in simple pastimes.  Ice skating in the winter…Two or three blocks away was a large prairie which the firemen would flood every winter, and off we would go with our ice skates slung over our shoulders, plodding through snow-covered sidewalks to our frozen pond.  Along the way, we would cross street-car tracks, where we would place a penny along the top of the tracks, and retrieve it, flattened out after a street car had passed over it.  Then, off to skate, and fall on the ice.
“I remember that one time, I wanted to save some pennies for candy, so when school was over, instead of boarding the street car home (the fare was four cents), I walked home eighteen blocks and froze my ears.  I can still feel how hot my ears felt from frostbite.
“I would play often up in the attic with my ‘horse on wheels,’ a large horse which I would mount and dream of galloping off to adventure.  I had named the horse ‘Mussolini’ after the Italian dictator, since my Daddy and I were the ‘Italians’ in the family.  Years later, my our little horse met with much the same fate as his namesake.  I found him hanging from the telephone wires, where some boys had thrown him.
“Christmas times we would awaken to find oranges, apples and nuts in our stockings hanging over the fireplace.  There usually was one toy for each of us, and of course clothing of one sort or another.  We were very happy with whatever we received.  My Father always decorated the Christmas tree and one by one, hung the silvery icicles on each branch. I would watch him, and dream of the day when I could decorate a tree, too.  Somehow, we managed a big Christmas dinner, which family and many friends (whom I later learned were without employment and couldn’t afford a celebration) would attend.  My Father would cook a big turkey with all the trimmings.  My Mother, so artistically talented, would decorate a beautiful table setting.
My grandmother, Alice (McGinnis) Schiavon, with one of
her beautiful table settings, 8200 South Saint Lawrence,
Chicago, Illinois, sometime between 1948 – 1955.
“I never owned a bicycle.  My Brother Tom had one, and I supposed that my parents couldn’t afford to buy another one, so to this day, I have never ridden a bike.  One time, I remember I was all dressed up in my Sunday best, and as we waited for my Mother, my Brother asked me if I’d like to take a ride on his bike.  I was placed on the handlebars, and off we went — but not far — just across the street where I was dumped into a prairie, and picked myself up, covered with peat-soil, black and sticky.  So went my one and only bike ride!
“Someone gave us a dog, part German shepherd and part wolf.  Of course, we called him ‘Wolf!’  He was very mean, and would dash out the front door, and attack passers-by.  I remember one time, when we were all packed into the old Ford for a trip to our cottage, Wolf was stuffed in the back seat with me, and snapped at me.  I didn’t hesitate, but with two hands, grabbed at his back, and bit him right back.  He never snapped at me again!”
                                                                                 – Joan Huesca
This is only a glimpse of a beautiful passage of her life.
Her wish was to write a complete autobiography up to the day before her departure.  If it could have been accomplished, I am sure that those written volumes would have enriched this world.
Because her mission on Earth may have been completed, the Blessed Mother called her, and she returned to the Heavens from where she left and always has belonged.
Indeed, I was honored to be her husband.
I pray to God to have His blessings to be reunited again.
                                                                                  – Gilbert Huesca
                                                                                     Modesto, California
                                                                                     May 3, 1989
Copyright ©  2011  Linda Huesca Tully

One thought to “Thankful Thursday: Simple Pastimes of Times Past”

  1. Someone gave us a dog like that, too–part wolf–so I know what you mean about the half wild behavior. How funny that your mom bit him back! And that he learned the lesson not to mess with your mom again!

    So sad to not have any more chapters to read. Your mom was really something. Thank you, Linda, for sharing that brief glimpse into a beautiful life!

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