Thursday, September 10, 2015

TBT: Parents, milestones, hugs

My parents' anniversary was August 31, and their birthdays were September 4 and 7. Those days became a significant trinity early in my life, and that hasn't changed. Whatever else is going on at this time of year, I find Mom and Dad on my mind, gently reminding me of family, origins, and home.

Mom, in the dress she made
August 31 this year was the 75th anniversary of their wedding. When Mom was in her 60s, several of her friends celebrated their 40th anniversaries, and she seemed taken with this milestone--almost jealous, and certainly looking forward to getting there as well. She was diagnosed with colon cancer just after their 38th anniversary, so the 40th took on a new significance. But she died a week before, and when August 31 came, just after her funeral, my Dad and I couldn't even bring ourselves to speak of it. I hadn't really kept track of the years until my brother Allen noted that this was the 75th. They were a well matched pair, I think, and they both worked hard to give their six children a good start in life.

September 4 was an even bigger milestone, the 100th anniversary of my dad's birth. He died just five years ago, frankly amazed to have lived so long. His parents and sister had all died quite young, and he seemed to be aging quickly so he retired from work at age 62. He reached a point at which he had been retired for the same number of years (33) he had held his job! When Mom died just a couple of years after he retired, he married a long-time widow he met at a church spaghetti supper. She complicated our lives, and that's all I'm going to say about that.

September 7 was Mom's birthday, and had she lived she would be a feisty 99 this year. For many years Mom and Dad celebrated with a group of friends who also had early September birthdays. It occurs to me that of the 10 or 12 people who gathered (for lutefisk, lefse, and Swedish meatballs) just one is alive today, and she turned 104 on Saturday. She is still alert, happy, and loving, and she credits her longevity to her lifelong habit of walking long distances. I think good Italian genes might also have something to do with it.

Our families spent a lot of time together while I was growing up, and now this lady calls me periodically to catch up and to tell me she loves me, and my siblings. I didn't make it to her birthday party Saturday, but I will drive the hour or so to visit with her in the next few weeks. Her children and grandchildren treasure her and know how lucky they are to still have her with them. And just now I think another hug from her would be a perfect gift from home.


joeh said...

Lovely post.

This line made me think of Forest Gump.

"She complicated our lives, and that's all I'm going to say about that."

I'm guessing you are being extra polite.

Nancy/BLissed-Out Grandma said...

I am. I once wrote a post about her, and about a year later I took it down. Just didn't want it out there, especially while she's still alive. Wow, I guess she's about 99 now.

stephen Hayes said...

I enjoyed reading about your family. Such a tragedy to lose your mother so early. Take care.

DJan said...

Nancy, you have so much longevity in your family that it makes me just a teeny bit jealous. Mama died at 69, Daddy at 62. You have had so much more time, but it's a mixed blessing for some people. I loved this post. Can I have more like it? I'm thinking I need a mentor to teach ME how to write this way. And thank you for being my friend. :-)

Jeanie said...

Wow, Nancy. Your mom was gorgeous and that wedding dress is spectacular. I can see why this trinity of dates resonates -- and this year especially. I notice those things, too. The sadness has diminished (most of the time) but the sense of celebration and poignancy that they aren't about to celebrate with us is certainly strong. (My dad would be 100 in a few weeks and I was planning a post on it, too! I wonder how many of our peers are in the same zone?). How special you are in touch with your mom's friend. I have one of those too -- Fran at the lake -- who will be 98 tomorrow. Can you imagine?

I'm still in awe of that photo... gorgeous.

Far Side of Fifty said...

Yes go get your hug! Your Mothers dress is so beautiful! She looks just like a princess...and I think there might be orchids in her bouquet. How wonderful that she made her own dress.
Step anythings can be real boogers. BUT men don't seem to be able to live alone like women can.
My parents did almost the same thing as yours Wedding Day and Birthdays all within 6 days in October. My parents will be married 65 years this year. I told my brothers to plan a party.
Embrace the good memories and forget the bad ones:)

Unknown said...

It does sound like you could use a hug! Enjoy! I love the old pictures and memories. My Dad would have been 89 this year and I miss him everyday. I was one of the lucky ones -- my step Mom that I got after my parents divorced has always been a better Mom than my own.

Nanette Stearns said...

What a great post. Thanks for the memories and the wonderful pictures.

troutbirder said...

Sweet and bittersweet. Such is life....

Deb Shucka said...

What a poignant piece this is. Your mom's wedding picture is so stunning. I can tell you know how fortunate you were to have these two amazing people for parents, and that you miss them.

Susan Zarzycki said...

Just found your blog and will be stopping by again. I can identify with the parent "thing" and mine are still living...both 88.


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