Special thanks and blessings for a mom and all women who work diligently as domestics
My mother worked as a housekeeper for Italian families and I hated the fact that she held such employment.
Ella Melba Parker may have left Planet Earth after my 11th birthday but her image on some dirty floor scrubbing life into her family, making money to keep her brood alive, fed, and clothed, came rushing back when Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump referenced former Miss Universe Alicia Machado of Valenzuela as “Miss Housekeeping.”
If Trump meant that first-debate remark as a shaming of Latina domestics then shame on him.
People say that no greater love exists than for a person to lay down their lives for another person but women willing to clean another person’s house to keep afloat a family make an ultimate sacrifice.
Italian mothers did it. And Polish women still perform this means of employment. Plus, many other women from other nationalities and ethnic groups did the same work.
An early-morning ride on New Jersey Transit Bus 606 identifies black, white and Latina women who rise early and ride into Princeton for housekeeping duties.
It’s honorable employment, even as everyday housewives, delivered by women who deserve respect and appreciation. Of course, with such a large pool of undocumented women available and willing to work, some receive less than minimum wage.
Others occasionally may work and not receive payment for months. Some accept verbal abuse and sexual advances but stay on knowing that employment matters. No matter their color or ethnic background, women engaged in this work place family protection way in front of taunts delivered by Trump.
Great respect exists here for any person who rises any morning to work the worst of jobs. The day we started disparaging that American work ethic should be recognized as the beginning of this country’s downfall.
Work remains the crucial ingredient toward keeping alive the American dream. Instead, U.S. citizens look down their noses at women who scrub floors, dust tables, care for pets, run vacuums and essentially, serve as partners in keeping rich houses in order.
If these women were unemployed, collecting welfare and griping then we would have other reasons for verbal putdowns. Successful housekeeping requires an attitude that puts families first, no matter what.
My parents may have endured a difficult marriage but they instilled in their children a work ethic that lasted a lifetime. We picked farm crops in fields wet with morning dew through midday sun and into the afternoon.
Knock off time, that’s what we called the end of the day when the last of the tomato-filled baskets were placed along the road for pickup. Then we had home chores that meant feeding pigs and chickens.
Even as a boy, knowing that my mother worked inside some nearby home, kept most complaints locked inside. My God, what a woman to work, plus, endure physical and emotional abuse from her husband.
Fast-forward fifty years and my personal encounters include women who suffer similar circumstances. I have a love for them and an understanding that their perseverance in the toughest of times encompasses spectacular human traits.
On occasion, a personal housekeeping ritual includes a blue bucket of hot water and a rag.
I get down on my knees to wash the kitchen floor for reflection on a chore performed by my mother and wish that Swiffer products had been invented during her lifetime.
The downward facing dirt position offers a perfect perspective for an understanding of what many women do, what my mother contributed. It’s not quite yoga but inspiration and peace blend for wonderful understanding.
Hundreds of prayers have been offered up from this position that moves me close to the nooks and crannies of life.
Gracious thanks to my mother and all the other women who perform this admirable work in order for their children to reach for their dreams.
Alicia Machado arrives at the Latin American Music Awards at the Dolby Theatre on Thursday Oct. 6, 2016 in Los Angeles.