Mommy the Riveter

My adventure with The Peterson Garden Project started late in 2009 when I began researching the history of Victory Gardens in Chicago. But, in reality, it started many, many years before. Long before I was born in fact.

My parents are “greatest generation” which means they were alive and active during WW2. My dad was a paratrooper in Occupied Japan. And my mother was a Rosie the Riveter. I grew up hearing their war stories and how everyone fought for freedom on one front or another  – be it the Pacific Theatre, Europe or a street in L.A. (the “home front“) the entire world was engaged in winning the war.

I was always impressed with my parents’ bootstrap attitude and it has influenced me to this day. And ultimately, was the driving force behind my interest in Victory Gardens in the first place.

Here’s a video of my mother, Lorraine, talking about her experiences as a Rosie the Riveter as well as dealing with shortages the war produced. The cutie next to her is my father, Kenneth. And the Beanie Babies, well, that’s the Greek Chorus in this story I guess…

My husband Peter and I were in Rome for our honeymoon many years ago. We went to the Capuchin Monastery which was exceedingly creepy. At the end of a long, unnerving hallway where bones of long-dead monks were arrayed like artworks (The Femur Room!) was a small plaque that said “As you are now, we once were. As we are now, you shall become.” This thought has haunted me. It makes me think of my young parents meeting in 1941 on the eve of war, courting through a conflict, doing everything they could to make a difference and living a long, loving normal life thereafter. Life goes by quickly. JFK said that “One person can make a difference and everyone should try” this too make me think of my parents and how when I’m their age how I want to feel that I did what I could to make a difference just as they did.

That’s the small Victory I strive for with The Peterson Garden Project. And it brings me great joy.