Doris the Resourceress…Mother of Mary Poppins


I just watched an episode of Renovation Raiders on HGTV…and cried. My Mother, Doris, was THE original “renovation raider.” She was a homemaker with five – count ’em – FIVE children within eight years in age. When she got an idea to remodel, add on space, or redecorate…she did it herself, and pulled off the install within hours. She would plan everything out, from moving walls, electrical work, whatever the project called for, to the nth degree.

This was the 1950’s, folks – there was no such thing as a HOME IMPROVEMENT store!!! If you needed an electrical outlet, a window or door, flooring, drywall, etc…you went to the lumber yard and ORDERED it…and often waited weeks for it all to arrive…talk about planning!

My parents were by no means traditional in their roles, but my Dad did control the purse strings, and any home project had to pass his budget approval. This meant that she often pulled off miraculous makeovers with pennies she squirreled together out of her grocery pocketbook…

She once decided to turn an extra bedroom, located next to the kitchen, into a dining room by opening up the wall between the two rooms. Drywall, move electrical outlets, install a chandelier…Piece of cake! What no one (least of all my father!) knew at the time: she had simultaneously planned to knock out the back EXTERIOR (brick!) wall of the new dining room, remove the existing window and install a sliding door-wall out to the patio!

So, she secretly enlisted the help of her sister, had all the material delivery scheduled the morning OF the remodel…and waited for all five kids to leave for school, and my dad to leave for work… and we came home that afternoon to a beautiful new dining room and a yard full of cheering neighbors!

She’d put on her folk or country music (she also played the guitar and sang) and get to work…here’s her favorite song:

Tomorrow I will tell you about how those nicknames in the title came about…stay tuned!


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