Friends we're all here dealing with the sad slow slipping of loved ones who used to be so different. I had to serve communion today at the funeral of a church acquaintance, a quiet dignified gentleman who has attended our small church for 13 years. Many of us had no clue he was a retired vice-admiral who served in Vietnam and on the Joint Chiefs of Staff. I imagine our now failing loved ones have extraordinary events in their past that no one would guess. Perhaps it might help and cheer us to share those stories with each other.
My mother lived in Washington State and met my Virginia born father on the beach there in the middle of WW2. After her family agreed, she rode the train cross-country at the age of 15 and married my dad. Two weeks later he left to fight and mom lived with his family til he came back. That takes, I don't know, courage?, optimism?, love? In any event, I find it amazing. If y'all think it's a good idea, please let's take a moment and tell who they were in better days.
What a beautiful love story! Thanks for telling it.
I have spoken about Mom here before but just a short version - born poor in Germany, immigrated to America alone by ship in 1924 at age 16. Worked hard all her life and was happy to have enough to eat, which she loved. Retired at age 62 and went to college! learned to drive at 65. Graduated at 67. Widowed at 69, she started a whole new life volunteering to teach fitness exercises 5 days a week at a senior center. Brought up 3 children; all have academic degrees. Loved and cared all her life and was a useful member of society until Dementia stole her mind.
Lived to be 99. Independent, feisty, loving, nurturing, positive, optimistic and a joy to be with. I miss her.
Okay talking about my Dad first: Born in PA in a small, mining town. Literally and truly walked miles to get to a one-room schoolhouse that was heated by coal so each month another child was assigned the responsibility to get their first and start up the coal stove for heat. We actually got to see this one-room schoolhouse becuse its still standing. My father was also taught to swim in a place called Harvey's Creek. Harvey's Creek when it froze over was used by ice companies to provide the large blocks of ice used in the old ice-driven cold storage (now known as refrigerators).
Well it was a very deep creek overtime and when my father was taught to swim there, he was brought out to the middle in a small row-boat by his uncle with a rope tied around his waist and he was told to jump in. His uncle then held the rope going back to shore. he was told he had two choices, swim to shore or drown (lmao). My father actually took us to swim at Harvey's Creek numerous times. the story goes that one day, when the creek was very, very deep; one of the ice wagons and horses cracked through and went down, never to be found. Another thing was when times were tough, the story was that my grandparents saw a 12 year old boy walking around in bare feet and ragged clothes, took him into their home and raised him as a son along with my father and his three other siblings. That man stayed with my grandfather and my one aunt until he died in his 70's and for most of my life, I didn't realize he wasn't a true blood relative, he was always my Uncle Leonard.
My mother is one of ten children and 1 half=brother. But the interesting part of her story was her mother -- My grandmother (who I never met) had 4 children, 1 boy and 3 girls and was pregnant with her fifth. She gave birth to that child on the day they buried her husband. he was killed by a bus while on his way to work by bicycle. Anyway. Their church refused to let this Italian woman raise these children alone so they performed an arranged marriage with a widower who had one son -- as a result of that second marriage, this woman had 5 more children, all boys -- so there was 8 boys and 3 girls and most of their lives they lived in 4 room houses; not 4 bedrooms but 4 rooms. They ate pasta and vegetable soups most days and had meat reserved for Sunday dinners and Wednesday.
I was raised with having 27 first cousins and our Christmas's were filled with lots of food, laughter and fun. We still get together (those that are left) but we lost a lot of them in the short years i was married. There's only 4 children left and that 1 half-brother. My aunts house was the gathering place and she always managed to find someone who didn't have anyone and invite them to our dinners. We were always told to invite our in-law families if we wanted and in fact, one Christmas, my aunt called a polish freighter that she knew was in port in NYC for fleet week and invited anyone who wanted a home-cooked meal to come. 3 of the soldiers, came and shared our meals.
Those memories sustain me. Unfortunately while my family made it seem like fun and laughter -- my mother always saw the glass half-full and the wow is me stories on how she always had hand-me down clothes and didn't get to do alot. etc.
i know one thing, she broke traditions and became the first daughter in her family to marry because the other two sisters (especially the oldest) was afraid to tell their step-father that they were dating non-Italians. My mother married a welsh-english guy who was presbyterian and my aunts both married someone who was german and someone who was polish.
My mother did have a good life while she wouldn't admit it. She got to travel, she was a stay-at-home mom for how long she wanted to be. She got to have homes in her name as well. So I feel that its okay for her to join my Dad -- he's been waiting for her for so long.
Last edited by caringsister54; 01-25-2009 at 06:41 AM.
My Dad was one of 9 children raised on a farm in NC. According to him they had all they needed.... most of it raised by them on the farm. After Mom and Dad were married he put the first bathroom in my grandmother's house. Mom took her shopping at a real grocery store after granddad died.... and she bought her first piece of beef from a store. She was so very proud. My grandmother lived to be 98 years old and lived at home in relative good health until she feel an broke her hip. She died less than a week later.
My Mom had one full sister and 7 half brothers and sisters, and they were also raised on a farm. My grandfather was the feisty one. He was kicked out of the baptist church because of his love of home made wine but was ask back because they needed his support. His black horse would bring him back home no matter where he wondered off too. Mom was valdictorian of her class and the first in her family to persue education beyond high school.
What I remember most about Mom and Dad was how they could stretch a dollar and have plent to give to those in need. Dad worked for the state and Mom worked for a local business. Neither made much salary. Mom's boss knew she was worth more than he paid her so he gave her things from the business. That is how we ended up with the cabin. Most of what went into that house was given to her by her boss, carried up the mountain, and put together by the family. It was a true labor of love and my Dad's dream realized.
Mom and Dad put 4 girls through college for a total of 20 years of higher education. They did this over a span of 9 years and we never had a loan. Dad was a believer in pay as you go. They never had a loan on the house or any vehicles they own either. During this time Mom was working with abused children. She is still in contact with several that she helped. Dad was O Negative blood type and I remember him going to the hospital repeatedly to give blood for someone that needed it. Mom also administered the needy fund at the church and worked with social services to provide christmas for those that would not otherwise have one. Beyond that she was very active in the red cross, opening disaster shelters for each hurricane that blew through. Mom and Dad were both elders and decons in their church and both attended national conferences as representatives. Mom served on the national word missions board for years and traveled over other the country.
Our dinner table was open to everybody. We had the govenor of the state, foreign dignitaries, the church sexton, or one of Mom's abused children on any given day. It was the gathering place for the neighborhood and all of our friends. I even had to endure several of my teachers eating cross the table.
My parents were selfless, caring, and giving. That is what I hang on to. It is what gives me what I need to do what I need to do now
My mother was a beautician by trade but she didn't work at it. She kept her license up so that if anything happen to daddy she could manage a shop. She didn't work outside of the home when I was growing up, but she did do demo work for a dairy on the weekend...you know give samples of cottage cheese or ice cream cones..and if you bought the product, Mom would give you a dime and a coupon.
When I was in college, that gig led her to working with Nash Finch, which is the forth largest food broker in the country. Here is my mother, quiet and home body that she is, who was asked to start up the in store baking program for Nash Finches stores. Mom talked it over with Dad and they decided that it would be a good job for her to try.
Mom would head out on Monday mornings. Dad would drop her off at the airport and she would be gone until either Thursday or Friday morning. She would train the staff at the store and teach them how to proof the product, bake it, packedge it, sell it, clean the equiptment, service it, the whole ball of wax. She would spend Friday in at the office. On Monday the routine would start over again.
When she would leave for work, ther would be 5 dinners on plates for daddy to heat and eat. Full meals I might add. There would be lunches packed for him to take to work. Cookies in the jar. Laundry was done. Ironing was done. The house was clean, bathrooms done...and there was NO cleaning lady. And daddy didn't help in the house. He made his tea for his thermos and he did his toast for breakfast... To this day I don't know how she did it. She traveled over an 11 state area and ran 161 bakeries. Perhaps she was the original superwoman. She never complained. And she baked all of our baked goods. There was never store bought stuff in the house...including bread.
She did give up ironing dad's underwear, though, when she started all the traveling...And they were taking care of the parakeet that we couldn't take with us. So that was one more thing to deal with.
Mom also visited the Old folks at the nusing home from church and she helped at the bazar that the church had every year. Her and Daddy would work the set up and the selling. But more important was the fact that she would back for the bazaar. And everyone knew that Mom would be baking and her Swedish rye bread was always spoken for before the bazaar was even open.
I miss my mother for so many reasons. and I'm proud of her for so many more.
There are some pretty terrific stories here. Keep up the good work.
PS -- can you imagine the stories our children would say about us? I know my kids would tell someone -- my mother use to dance on a box in a club and in this day of age, they'd probably immediately think "oh, she was a pole dancer!' but that's not true. We were one of many identified as a 'go-go' dancer doing the jerk, slide, and other dances. And we've have to dance with the guys who came to the club alone when the numbers were slow-dance numbers. That was the worse. Thank God I didn't do that for long.
I met my husband in a 'blind-date' that we made up together to do. You see he was my inside-sales vendor for stuff we purchased. I spoke to him for 7 years. met him on the blind-date night and didn't like him, went out a second time and hated him even worse-- talked to him about it, decided to give him another chance and fell head over heels in love with him and married him 1 1/2 years later to the day we met. There I was all of 88 lbs and this 'boy' came into my life at 250 having just loss 100 lbs just a few months prior to meeting him. Gosh how i loved that man and still do, he'll always be a part of my life and I was blessed that God found me worthy of granting me his love.
I like this thread. My Mimi was an only child, and grew up in a very rural community, graduated high school at 16, and moved to the "big city" ( compared to her hometown) to become a Registered Nurse----for over 30 years until she was forced to retire due to Rheumatoid Arthritis ---her little hands were just too gnarled to take care of patients any longer. She was married to my Grandfather, a train engineer, for almost if not a little longer than 40 years. He passed away in 1999 of cancer. They raised 3 children, 2 boys and a girl, the girl being my mom.
I am one of Mimi's 4 grandchildren, and the oldest. The others are my sister and 2 male cousins---she took such pride in us. She helped raise my sister and I, b/c my Mom was a single mother. There was nothing i enjoyed more than spending weekends at my grandparents home.
Now as an adult, there is nothing I miss more, than spending weekends at their home! I miss being able to call her, literally at all hours----she was such a night owl! I would call her to fuss, to tell her something funny, to remind her of a program coming on TV......heck--anything to just to call her sometimes!
I used to love to hear her stories of growing up on the farm---and her Daddy had a service station that worked on cars---and you could get your hair cut--he was a Barber too----how funny is that?!
Every now and then I see a twinkle in her eye---and I think---"aahh it's Mimi!"--and then she stares off again and I know she is gone----but I have the memories in my heart---I know she's always there.
tracie, go to bed.its late.hahah this is disney. lost my hubby on Nov 8 2008 with lung cancer. we met and i wanted his friend. first date was set up by me. wanted to go to a party and didnt have a ride.so I ask him if he would take me and I could fine a way home. but ended up we stayed together. i got drunk which I didnt drink. but he was 5 years older and everyone was. so my curfew was 11;00 at 19 years old. but he couldnt take me home. so my girlfriend call us at his apart. and said my parents where about to call the police. before cell phones. so I got home at 4:00 and yes parents was mad. then we dated on our 13 date and he ask me to marry him before he said he loved me. hahah we got marreid 6 months later on Valentines Day. next month would have been our 40 th annivarsay. every one thought he was so good looking and I didnt even think of that. I loved the inside of me so much. but then I did realize. damn he is good looking. he look just like the young Robert Redford and on his dealth bed at 65. he still look handsome. I could go on and on. but its late. hahah. another good story tomorrow. good night to all. disney world, faye