Posts Tagged ‘Dad’

Reimagining Mother’s Day

May 8, 2016

This is the second Mother’s Day since Mom died; in some ways it feels strange she is not here, in other ways it doesn’t feel strange at all.  Maybe because the last 3 or 4 years of her life were dominated by dementia and she wasn’t quite the Mom I have known my whole life.  I am glad I was there for her during the time she was alone after Dad died, he was her whole world and she missed him so much.  She didn’t really say much about how she felt about things, her generation didn’t talk about feelings or were as open as we seem to be today.

When we were kids, we wanted to give her breakfast in bed – that was considered very much a luxury. However, Mom was not a breakfast-in-bed kind of person – I think Dad convinced her to let us do it for her.  Sometimes I think it was hard for her to accept receiving from others, she was such a giver to everyone.  She enjoyed having people come over and she would feed them.  She liked the people we invited over, Mom was very comfortable in her own home rather than out somewhere.

I remember when the three of us girls and Dad went to buy her a black nightgown – what that sales lady thought one can only imagine.  I remember it as  fun and a little out of the ordinary.  It never occurred to us to think in terms of what Mom would like best, Madison Ave always told people what to do or give on any occasion.

Mom was rather dismissive of Mother’s Day, because the idea of honoring mothers and showing how much they are loved on just one particular day was phony.  To her it was an all year round activity and more important for those small things every day.  In some ways I have agreed with her, make up for all the unsaid things, not visiting, etc. on one particular day.

I was living away from Seattle for over 34 years, I was able to come and visit my parents at least 3 times a year, sometimes more.  It was joy to be back in Seattle and be with my parents, we had a lot of fun together.  It was even better when Eddie was with me, the four of us would go on adventures.  Sometimes Eddie came on business trip and I couldn’t go with him, so he had my parents all to himself.  I have often thought he is the son they never had, plus Eddie thought of them as his own parents as well.  Eddie really enjoyed the times he and Dad went out by themselves – a guy’s day.  Dad showed him a lot of back roads around Seattle and Eddie still uses them.

They would come to visit us maybe once a year – I was able to take them around to places I knew and when I was in Atlanta, we drove up to Nashville to visit Candy.  When we lived in LA, we met friends of theirs from when dad was growing up and when they were first married.  Dad showed me places in Rolling Hills and Palos Verdes that were special to him and where he spent his teenage and young adult years.

When we were growing up, Mom was a stay at home mom, she was there when we came home from school – if she wasn’t, we knew she would be back shortly.  Sometimes she would be king cookies or downstairs ironing with the smell of fresh, clean clothes.  It wasn’t until high school, when I went home with a friend, that I realized how blessed I was to have Mom home when I came home.  I took it for granted.  My friend’s father had died in WWII and her mother had to work to support them.  When we went into her house, it felt cold – not just temperature, there was no one there to welcome her with warmth.  That really hit home and I began to value having a stay at home Mom.

As I think about it, home was a place that was safe where I was loved and wanted.   No matter what was going on outside, I would find a retreat at home.  Mom and Dad made it feel that way, Mom was the major component for it.  As I got older, I found more things we had in common, such as the books we liked.  When I was married, I learned to appreciate her more and understand things better.  If I had had children, I would certainly have understood being a mom a lot more.

So now I have to re-imagine Mother’s Day since Mom is not with us any more.  I know she is now much happier because she no longer has dementia and is with Dad.  Maybe it will be a celebration of her life and what she gave to me and my sisters.  I don’t quite see a picture in my mind yet, it may have to simmer on the back burner for a while.  When I think Mother’s Day, I see the lunch we had with her sister Jean and her son and daughter-in-law or the last dinner with Jean before Mom died.  They are happy pictures in my mind and I want it continue that way.

I did another post a while ago with pictures and I want to put those in this one.

Mom and her sister Jean

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Mom as a little toddler

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This is the house she grew up in on Main Street in Glastonbury, Conn

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This is out at the farm in Waterford, Conn near Long Island Sound

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I think this was a camp somewhere

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Mom was a Traveler’s Aid volunteer for more than 34 years – she thoroughly enjoyed doing it.

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Every summer, Mom’s father would rent  house on Clinton Beach in Conn., the family would rent houses near it and spend the summer there.

Dad made an album of pictures of Mom’s life and I used to go through it with her on my visit.  She had Macular Degeneration, so she wasn’t able to see them.  I would describe them to her and she knew exactly what I was describing.  She would tell me stories about growing up – I never knew when she was in a talkative mood.  It would happen all through my childhood, so when I lived in Conn., I went to Glastonbury and saw where she lived and met the relatives that were still alive.  On one of Mom and Dad’s visits to us, I took them there and we also went to Clinton beach to see the rental houses – surprising it looked a lot the same.

Those are the memories and pictures I have of Mom in my mind.

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1st Barbecue of the Season

March 27, 2016

Friday I had to go to Wound Care again – what a lovely day it was.  Eddie left in the morning for work with clouds a bit of rain; when he came home to pick me up, the sun was out.  For the first time in a long time, I had the car window open and it felt quite warm.    More rain today and tomorrow, then they promise the sun for several days – does Mother nature agree?  We will see.

I am back wrapped up again – my legs swelled again – and wouldn’t you know, my compression socks arrived and were sitting in the mailbox as we drove out.  Well, I won’t be wearing them for a couple of weeks, then I will take them with me to have them help me learn how to put them on.  This means spit and duck baths again; so far the hair doesn’t look too bad.  It does tend to stick up a bit when I get up in the morning, I will have to run the shower with my head in to have the steam tame those wonky parts.  I have an appointment on Wednesday afternoon to remove sutures, then I can lean over the shower chair and wash my hair at least.

My forehead has been numb since the first plastic surgery, yet at times I feel it tingling, sometimes as if something is walking on my head.  It is an odd sensation but not unpleasant.  I asked the doc about it last Monday before surgery, he said it will take a long time to  go back to normal.  I expected that answer because I found that with the hip incision.  It was numb and I would get sharp pricks when I least expected it – that was unpleasant.  Seems to be  fairly normal now, four years later.

I am determined to drive again after Wednesday, I don’t like being so dependent – at least I can see a lot better now, that makes a difference.  When Eddie comes back from the Car Museum, he is taking me to Bartell’s – it is sometimes difficult to explain to him what I want.  I think he is very uncomfortable buying “lady things”, but does a pretty good job.

Yesterday was fairly sunny and when Eddie came home from shopping, he had hamburgers with him.  He decided to start the BBQ season and I noticed Eric across the street had his big grill on his deck.  Eddie said he could smell someone else getting ready to BBQ.  We have had such a lot of wind and rain this winter, it feels good to look forward to spring.  Each time I go out, I see new things blooming – I almost feel I am missing out on spring.  The Scillas in the beds have abundant leaves up and it will be fun to see all the lavender flower stems blooming.  The grape hyacinths are blooming, not as many this year and the two clumps of yellow daffodils on the bank are doing well

My sister Ellen on the Jersey Shore has had rain, snow, sun and wind – I’m so glad she sends photos of them.  The last photo I enclosed in the blog is now a painting – she is so talented!  She is able to show the ocean in so many different moods and colors – so amazing.

This was the Nor’easter the other week – she had snow as well as windy.

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This was on March 24th – spring is coming.

I have been so self absorb in myself lately, both my sisters reminded me March 24th would be Dad’s 102nd birthday.  I also thought about September 24th, Mom’s birthday – it will be her 98th.  In 2018, it will be her 100th birthday and that year was as eventful as Dad’s in 1914 – so many historic things happened that changed the world during those years.  Because they met, fell in love and married, my sisters and I are a part of this changing world.  They gave us so many gifts – being loved and wanted, integrity, respect for other people, discipline, manners – so many things that have given me a strong foundation.  (I won’t speak for my sisters)  I am grateful for all of it, they were very loving parents.

A blog wouldn’t be complete without a couple of photos from my sister Candy in Nashville.

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She puts lovely backgrounds in her photos

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She has done a series of Christmas photos with flowers and also ornaments.

I have been sleeping a lot, though I still feel draggy,  I need to walk a bit every day – exercise needs to be part of being rested.  I have hesitated to go outside and walk up and down the sidewalk because I don’t want to trip and fall.  Now that I can wear my glasses better, I am willing to give it a try.  Windy and stormy is conducive to walking outside – I seem to have missed the worst of the weather during my captivity.

My posts have been so “me” centered, it is time to focus on something else for a change.  Wishing you all a very Happy Easter.

The Week Barely Started

September 10, 2014

An interesting 3 days so far – not sure I can take the excitement.   Sorry, that wasn’t what I planned to write.    I was cleaning out on Monday , this time my Mom’s hooking stuff.   I had put on Craig’s List rug hooking magazines and another one with patterns and supplies.  Imagine how amazed I was when I had an email from a lady in Nova Scotia.  She is very interested in everything – though she seems to be thinking in terms of two large boxes to go through the mail.  Hmmm, this may be more than I bargained for.

 I have been figuring out what hooking stuff my Mom has – it is a lot more work than I realized.  I went through two under bed drawers and found some dyed samples of wool ready to hook.  Mom usually dyed them in 6, sometimes 8 values – she always enjoyed the dyeing part.  I’ve been online to see what is there and how I can price things – what Mom paid is a lot less than today, though her money went farther.  I also checked the Post Office, they ship by weight to Canada.  Hmmm, this is going to be an interesting  project.
I pulled out the things I found from when Dad was working before and during the war at aircraft companies, mostly in Southern California.  Eddie checked with the Boeing historian today to see if they are interested.  They were delighted with the items.   It’s lovely to know there is some of my Dad in the Boeing archives.  They are a welcome addition and I know they are in a good home.
 I also went through a box of my Mom’s things – a lot of gift cards for her graduation and I think it was a wedding shower.  There were letters from two hospitals saying she was set to work for them, letters from a couple of young men who had been at a dance when she was in Pratt.  One guy was from Yale.  A little bit different view of my Mom.  Still more places to clear out, no telling what I will find.  I am sending them to Candy so she can decide what to do with them.
Last week  more cleaning out, amazing what my Dad and Mom accumulated over the past 60 some years in this house.  I found 2 more photos in the original North American envelope for the Boeing archives.  Eddie made sure my Dad’s name shows as the donor.  I found books on cars that might go to the library the Car Museum is  creating.   I called the Center For Wooden Boats to see if they  take ship models and if they don’t, who would they recommend.  I think the guy is on holiday this week, I haven’t heard from him.  And paper of all kinds, my Dad kept calendar pictures and so did my Mom – Dad for Scottish history and Mom for flower ideas for her rugs.  It doesn’t look all that different, I just know I made a small difference.

Friday I went to see Mom, she is usually dozy because of meds.  Judy tells me she forgets what’s she’s doing, so she needs to be reminded to continue.  I have noticed that lately.  I give her a piece of chocolate and she is enthusiastic, but doesn’t always finish it unless I ask if she is ready for more.  She doesn’t like anyone to touch, especially when it comes to taking care of her.  I now ask her if I can give her a hug, I mostly get an enthusiastic yes, but not always.  You’re not kidding this is the hardest part.
I had a call from Didi last night – Mom had fallen and hit her head.  She called Providence to let them know, she was going in for her regular day.  I went to visit her this morning, she had a couple of large scabs on her right temple and her upper eyelid was bruised.   Mom was fighting them as they were trying to get her washed and dressed.   I asked Judy if she remembered falling, but Judy doesn’t think so.  Mom was a bit sleepy today, probably not too surprising after her fall.  She ate the cookies while I read to her, but wasn’t interested in the chocolate.  She would have it later.
Eddie and I went out for a bit to have coffee and look around the bookstore.  We came home and I found an email message from the station manager, they wanted my phone number because they needed to talk with me.  so I emailed back and shortly after, they called.  Seems he was a little mixed up on days – 9:30 isn’t open on Tuesday after all.  He does have Monday at the same time and he wanted to know if that would be all right.  Plus, he would air my show twice a week for the month of October as an “I’m sorry”.  It will be a repeat of the Monday show.  I will admit I am disappointed, but I just decided there is a reason why it is working out the way it is – no idea why but I am starting this Monday on the 15th.  Anyway, we’ll see how it goes and maybe when I am ready for an hour show, there will be a different time slot.
My life certainly isn’t dull.

About My Dad

September 7, 2014

I was watching Sunday Morning on CBS earlier and they were talking about the anniversary of the death of Archduke Ferdinand of Austria as the beginning of WWI in 1914.  That made me think of Dad, he would have been 100 last march.  I realized I have a list of things to write about him, especially since my sister wanted to hear things about him she didn’t know.

I remember when his parents came up to visit from California – Grandmother slept in my bed and Grandfather in Candy’s room.  Ellen had her room downstairs in the basement and Candy & I slept in the rec room.  I remember going upstairs to kitchen early in the morning and sharing tea with Grandmother while she told me stories about Dad.   I’ve always wished I could have known her better, but she died when I was 14 – those early mornings were special to me.  I wish I had written down the stories at the time, I’m having trouble remembering them.  I know she talked about the time  the kitchen porch roof caught fire, not sure what started it.

She had a very nice apartment in Buffalo when she and grandfather were married.  Shortly after she had her first baby, Grandfather and her sister Elizabeth went out and bought a farm in Orchard Park – then present it to Grandmother.  The problem was that it has no electricity, running water or any amenities – not the best place to have a new baby.  She was left alone with the handyman during day while my Grandfather went into Buffalo to his Interior Decorating studio.  Eventually they had running water and electricity – by then my Dad’s other sister Emmie was born and then Dad.

In 1926 Grandmother went out to visit her brother in Southern California – he was building houses in Palos Verdes at the time.  There weren’t too many but there was a committee that had to approve the plans.  They wanted only old style Spanish houses, red tile and stucco.   So her brother was building them and Grandmother decided she wanted to move there.  So she wrote Grandfather to come out and see what it was like.  Unfortunately, the day he arrived on the train, it was pouring rain.  However, he agreed to move there and he would help with the interior decoding of the new houses.  He used fine draperies, oriental rugs and antiques in his designs.  He would have his studio in Malaga Cove Center.

So back they went to Buffalo and packed up three kids, Gertie and all they could carry in two cars and drove across country to California.  My Dad was about 12 or 14 at the time, the youngest child.  He remember he was in the car with his dad and sisters and they stopped somewhere. There was a river and one of sisters nearly drown – I doubt they said anything to Grandmother.

They made it to California all in ne piece and Grandfather bought an old Spanish style house near the golf course in Palos Verdes.  My Dad and his sisters went to Palos Verdes High School and Dad had made a lot of friends.  Some were a little shady but Dad was not about to be talked into anything he didn’t want to do.  He couldn’t be shady or do illegal stuff if his life depended on it.  He used to work at the swim club as a lifeguard and in his high school annual, several girls wrote “To the Dancing Sheik” – he had a slow easy way of dancing the girls loved.  How odd he and my Mom were never able to dance together – haven’t figured that out or thought it smart to ask.

He loved cars and dance music, his mother  wondered if he would ever share her love of classical music.  He told me one day that he heard a piece and it clicked with him and he was a classical music lover forever after.   He still enjoyed dance bands and other kinds of music – I’ sure his mom was delighted to see how much he enjoyed classical music.  He used to say that when Grandmother bought a gift for Grandfather, she would buy a piece she loved.

He spent a lot of time with his guy friends and working on cars, he did know a rum runner in those days but I don’t know if he ever went out with Dick or not.  In the late 30’s before he went into the aircraft industry, he worked for Dick building boats in Wilmington, Calif.  It was by the water and one day he dropped a tool into the water.  He didn’t really want to tell Dick he had lost a tool, but he knew he had to anyway.  When told Dick and apologized, Dick told him”I’m so glad you told me, none of the other guys ever tell me”.    That has always stuck with me.

In 1941, Dad went back east to visit with an uncle and ended up getting a job at Pratt & Whitney in East Hartford, Conn.   He rented a room from a woman who lived in Glastonbury and she just happened to live next door to my Mom’s grandmother.  Mom had seen him but hadn’t been introduced, but the families arranged a blind date for them.  Dad once told me neither of them asked the other marry, they just assumed they were getting married.  Three months later, Dad went to her father and said he wanted to marry his daughter.  Grandfather Sherman told him  “Go back to California and establish yourself.  If in three months you still feel the same, I will give my permission.

In Late December of 1941, just after Pearl Harbor, Mom went to California.  her family thought she was crazy, the Japanese were going to invade California.  Only one aunt supported her and Mom often said it took all her courage to fly  to California by herself.

 

To be continued  . . . . . . . . . . .

 

Not A Happy Camper

August 4, 2013

This week has not been the easiest for my husband, he went in to Home Depot to buy something for work, only gone a very short time, and he found a bad scrape on his bumper.  Looked like some big cat had come by and raked its claws across it.   No note, no apology.   It had been a difficult day at work as well, so he was quite cranky when he came home.

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        This is best I can do for photos.

I went to Breakfast Club on Wednesday morning and talked to Vickie, our insurance agent and to Pat who  does collision repair to let them know we would be coming to see them in the early afternoon.  They both know how finicky her is about our cars,  fortunately Pat does work up to his standards.  Plus, Pat made a new door for the old simulator when someone pulled it off its hinges.

We had a nice visit with Vickie, plus found out we have a $300 deductible – that didn’t help his mood.  Not only did the person not leave a note, now we have to put out money to fix it.  So then we went over to Pat’s and while they were out looking at the car and I wouldn’t be surprised if Eddie was venting as well, I visited with Lisa and Wendy.

Looks as though it is going to cost a little over $800 to fix it, so he wants to go ahead and fix it – it will bug him if he doesn’t.  I wonder if he will be like his Dad?

He has told the story of his Dad in Jerusalem and how he felt about his cars.  He had  Opels and Mercedes, I am not sure which car it was that had a dent.  As far as his Dad was concerned, it wasn’t the same car after that, so he sold it and bought another one.  I wonder if that is where Eddie gets his feelings about cars.   His Dad could work on the car, kept it spotless and took excellent care of them.

He told me about the time he and his Dad took his Mom to visit friends and the two of them went off on a mission.  His Dad was very quiet about the whole enterprise until they went to the Opel dealer.  He had arranged to buy the car and trade in his old one.  So they spent time doing the deal and then went to pick up his Mom.  I don’t know how long it was before she finally realized it was a new car.

There are times I feel as if I have a large target painted on my left front bumper – twice people have hit me there.  I was driving one of Eddie’s Volvos a few years back and a guy didn’t stop on the red light and hit the rear panel on the car, spinning me around 180.  Must not have been a big enough impact because none of the air bags deployed.  That was scary.

I am not as finicky as Eddie, though I certainly don’t like anyone hitting my car.  He is out now washing his car, washed my yesterday as well.  He prefers to vacuum them here and of course none of them clean the wheels to his satisfaction.  He tends to bug me about getting the car dirty – as if I have any control over it.  I’d say is less finicky than his Dad but more finicky than I am.  Heck, he could be out doing other stuff, so it isn’t a big deal for me.


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