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Happy Birthday, Mom

June 21, 2011

Mom's birthday would have been today, 06/21/2011.  She would have been 89 years old.  I'm just missing her so badly today.  Mom had a sweet tooth and would have loved a piece of cake and some ice cream.  She would have especially enjoyed the company, and I can't do that for her anymore.  Mom baked a cake or cookies every week while we were growing up.  Her pies were so tasty, and I've never been able to make one as good.  By the time I wanted to ask her how to make decent crust, she couldn't remember.  When I was a teenager, I didn't want to be in the kitchen, and now I wish I knew how to make a good vegetable soup or potato leek soup the way Mom did.  She also knew how to cook pig's feet and sauerkraut, and I have to laugh when I think about how my kids would have turned their noses up at that!  After church on Sundays, Mom would make fried chicken, the very best I have ever had.  She went all out on holidays, turkey with all the trimmings, the good china.  We always ate dinner together, healthy food with portion sizes that were adequate.  Nothing was super sized and neither were we.  What a difference from the world we live in now.  Yeah, I miss my mom and all that she could have taught me had I just asked.


May 7, 2011
01 - Stardust

Mom remembered that as a young person she had two favorite songs.  One was Stardust and one was Deep Purple.  I know Mom liked Tommy Dorsey, but I downloaded the Nat King Cole version.  Here are the lyrics.

And now the purple dusk of twilight time

Steals across the meadows of my heart

High up in the sky the little stars climb

Always reminding me that we are apart.

You wandered down the lane and far away

leaving me a song that will not die

love is now the stardust of yesterday

the music of years gone by.

That is the first verse. I will read the entire song at Mom's burial.

More sewing

May 7, 2011

Oh Betsy, I remember that pink suit with the row of covered buttons that you had for Easter.   I just loved it!  I did not remember that Mom made it or that she was still sewing for us.  I remember the costurme she made for you also for the Pirates of Penzance.  Mom also made me a dress for my 6th grade graduation party.  She was quite a seamstress. 

Mom, Sewing and Embroidery

April 23, 2011

Mom was really a great seamstress.   She made a lot of clothes for my sister and I from the time we were really little.  I remember in particular the plaid jumpers she made for us and a picture of us in them--I think sitting on a piano bench.  She made my first communion dress and used some of that fabric for my wedding veil and part for a very dressy apron after I got married.  When I was in junior high school, she made a pink suit for me to wear on Easter Sunday.  It had a straight skirt and a fitted suit jacket that flared over the hips.  There were a dozen or more covered buttons that fit into loops down the front of the jacket, and it had a sweetheart neckline.  When I had a role in a school performance of Pirates of Penzance, she made a shirtwaist dress in pink gingham with a full-length hoop skirt!  She made many of my ballet costumes.  

After we grew up, embroidery became Mom's passion.  She had many pictures on her walls, some of which I am trying to find a place for in my home.  There were linen towels that she had embroidered as a child.  I thought her work was flawless, that she had a true talent.  

I am sure there are many things I have left out.  Mom had many hobbies that she had to give up as her hands became crooked with age and her mind confused and forgetful.  These "things" she left behind help me remember Mom before Alzheimer's.

MORE about pets

April 20, 2011

Oh yes, Betsy, you have reminded me of much more.  The hamsters were from a litter and even got themselves into the couch, and Mom took it all in stride.  Mom not only tolerated the wild rabbit, Jackie, and the guinea pig too, but she would open the vegetable bin in the refrig. which made the guinea pig come running, squealing the whole time, and mom would give it lettuce.  And then there was the time both rabbit and pig were out and about in the living room and someone from the American Cancer Society dropped in for a visit, and Mom took it all in stride.  This happened while we were in school so guess how the 2 animals got out!? :)  The parakeets got their daily flights around the house and drank off the edge of Dad's before dinner drink, and Mom took that all in stride too.  Our early years were happy and lenient.  But little by little Alzheimer's begins to steal things away.  Before the awareness of what was happening I was missing Mom.  God rest her soul.

Mom and Our Pets

April 20, 2011

Loved that story, Mary Lou.  I remember hiding baby rabbits or mice or something in my desk drawer.  Mom found them when I was at school but took it in stride, never upset about it.  Remember when all the baby hamsters/gerbils got loose in Milwaukee and were found running up the curtains in the living room?  Do you remember the parakeets we had and how they were allowed to fly around the house?  Mom did have a great sense of humor and was extremely lenient.  She even let me raise a wild rabbit in a cage in the kitchen!  We finally had to let it go as it didn't tame and was knocking herself about in the cage.  Thanks for renewing those memories, Mary Lou.  I had forgotten how patient Mom could be with us.  She said she was a tomboy growing up, and maybe she enjoyed those animals as much as we did. 

Memories of Betty

April 18, 2011

I always enjoyed visiting Betty, especially hearing stories of her growing up on the farm in Montana, being a nurse, and meeting Ray.  She had a glimmer in her eye when talking about her youth.  Each visit included a big bowl of butter pecan ice cream (much to Mike's dismay!)  I remember her liking Mexican food, her secret crush on Antonio Banderas, doing crossword puzzles everyday, and living life her way.

I never knew Ray, but I know he meant a lot to Betty.  I'm glad she is at peace and finally back at her husbands side.  Here...we will miss her.

Never a Stranger

April 18, 2011
"She was a good woman", or "he was a good man".  That is how my late father would refer to folks whom he came to admire and appreciate.  Dad never knew Betty...that was to become my privilege.
Betty's daughter, Mary Lou, was my entry into Betty's world and family.  Nearly 10 years ago, her daughter and I began courting, which led to our marriage.  Shortly thereafter, Mary Lou took her new husband home to Wisconsin to meet her Mom, brother Joe, and sister Betsy, and all the rest of Betty's wonderful family.
During that visit Betty, along with her children and grandchildren, opened their homes and hearts in friendship and acceptance of this 'stranger' who came calling.  The kindness and openness in welcoming me is attributed directly to the upbringing at the guiding hands of Betty and her late husband Ray.  Long before that first visit ended my trepidation had been replaced with eagerness for our next trip back home.  It was easy to admire and appreciate Betty, from that first visit alone.  Betty was a good woman. 
May the blessings of God and the warmth of loving memories bring solace to the children, grandchildren, and great grandchildren of Betty and Ray.
Rest in peace.



April 18, 2011

Grandma moved from my city when I was still pretty young so most of my memories are from when I was a child. I remember I always looked forward to the gingerbread cookies she made during the holidays. I remember she had a beautiful collection of birds that I admired and always stared at. She gave me her music box because it played Lara's (close enough to my name) Theme. I still have it, sitting next to me on my desk as I type this, and will always think of her when I hear that tune. She will be missed.

When I was little with Mom

April 18, 2011

I remember wanting to learn the piano like Joe and Mom taking the time to try to teach me.  I remember my Mom holding me on her lap and reading to me.  I remember that it was okay to bring animals into the house and so we could show Mom our snakes and toads and rabbits and birds. And I remember that our wild bunny and Joe's guinea pig ran freely about the house and Mom was okay with that. I remember that Mom left Joe's dog to watch after me when I rode my trike, but that she had to keep Sparky out of the bathroom when I got a spanking. I remember that Mom went to church with us every Sunday, and that school was a place where you behaved when you went and that was it.  I remember being up and outside playing in the dew of the morning, before Mom and Dad were really up, and that was okay.

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