The Knipl

Papa was always short of money, but Mama always had a knipl.  It was during the time of the Great Depression and on our chicken farm times were not good.  Yes, there always was plenty of fresh and canned fruit and vegetables, dairy products, eggs, and chicken but no hard cash.  However, Mama always had her knipl.

At first it was in a slit in the mattress—Papa and we boys knew it, but never dared touch it.  Mama’s bed sheet was tucked so tight that mama could notice even a slight pull.  No hospital or hotel sheet has ever been put on the way Mama did.

When mama went to the hospital to give birth to little Semele she took her knipl—it was at her side the whole time.  When Semele was brought in to be nursed, she had her two most prized possessions—one on either side of her chest.

Mama’s knipl was earned from roomers and boarders who came out from “the city.” Our large farmhouse was always crammed during the summer.  We boys all slept in one room, for every available room meant more for Mama’s knipl.

Although Mama collected cash from the roomers and boarders, she never paid Papa for the chicken, eggs, milk, butter, cream, pot cheese, fruits, and vegetables that we produced.

Mama always had a knipl!