When I was ten years old, sixty odd years ago, the world was more calm than now. We went to school, came home, went out to play. Mom was always there when we went in the house; dads did not come home until supper time.
One day early in September I came home from fifth grade, ahead of my brother Walt in the third grade and Mel in kindergarten. I always beat them home; they had too many rocks and sticks to handle, gutters to investigate.
My dad was home! Not Mom. Dad! He said he was waiting for Grandma to come from Cleveland and sent me out to wait for my brothers. Our Grandma worked too, in the baby department of the Higbee Department Store on Public Square in Cleveland.
Grandma had not arrived when three kids gave over playing and trouped back into the house behaving like hungry children. Our dad came into the kitchen and announced he would make supper for us. This was such a novelty we stayed to watch.
Dad found a tall pot and filled it pretty full with water, put it on the stove, put on the lid, lighted the fire and waited for the pot to boil. He took a package of ground beef from the refrigerator, broke it into chunks and put it in the pot.
He looked in the refrigerator for some vegetables to cut up into the pot. All he found was a stalk of celery, so he cut most of that up and put it in. While the meat and celery simmered he opened and closed cupboard doors until he found a package of macaroni. He put that in, and stirred the pot occasionally. Then he told us to set the table for soup, and we did.
That big pot of soup, with milk and bread, was the best soup we ever ate. Then our grandma came and dad left. Grandma cleaned the kitchen, then put us to bed. The next morning we got up for school and Grandma told us we had a baby sister.
One night some time later one of the three of us who could talk asked for soup like Dad made for supper. We had to explain the ingredients. “That’s just depression soup!” Mom sniffed. We out clamored her, and there was Daddy Soup for supper. Of Mom’s meals, Daddy Soup and Swiss steak with mashed potatoes were the meals we requested.
Daddy Soup persists, unchanged, past the Grandpa Soup generation. It was Grandpa Soup, for years and still is; easier to say than Great-Grandpa Soup. It has been experimented with, but returns to the original—ground beef, celery and pasta. We had a big pot of Grandpa Soup on Jan’s birthday this week and told Laura and Emily why it is called Grandpa Soup.
Some of the Grandpa Soup generation, fall 1976. Michelle, Roy, John, Shelly, Beth and Dad.