Friday, August 5, 2011

A True Story: And a Special Day With My Mother

This is my mother, Shirley. I had a very special day with her yesterday. First I took her to lunch.
She had fish and chips and I had chicken fried steak. I also had ice tea mixed with lemonade, which is called an Arnold Palmer.  As we talked I told Mom that I'd love to go on a trip down "memory lane." I wanted to visit the home she grew up in and other places, which I could see through her eyes. We did visit her home, but we took no photos, as it was so dilapidated we wanted to forget what we saw.
There is a mysterious place I've always wondered about. This place is the burial site of my mom's mother who died when my mom was only four years old. The reason it is somewhat of a mystery is that in view of the circumstances my dear mother was not encouraged to speak of her mother's death or to visit her mother's grave. Her father was so broken hearted over the sudden death of his young bride that he did not talk of her. At the funeral my darling mother, at the tender age of four, mentioned to a lady, "You have a coat like my mother's." The woman scowled at little Shirley and said, "Be quiet," in a harsh ton. All things about the young mother, Josephine, who died at age 31,  were hushed up and forgotten. The grieving father of two little girls, remarried a beautiful kind woman, who loved those little girls as her own. The family went on and enjoyed a normal happy life, but Josephine  was forgotten....
When you are a tiny child, you believe what you are told and you obey your elders, at least you did in the 1940's. For my mother, the memory of her own beloved mother, Josephine, was discouraged. It would have been "wrong" for Shirley even to ask her dad if she could visit the grave site. So, Shirley did not ask anymore and went about her happy life with her new mother, Margaret. That is why, in all these years, my mother has not visited her mother's grave. On a whim, Mom and I drove up the hill to the cemetery. The grounds were beautiful. The office was helpful and gave us a map
The inside was like no place I've ever been; so beautiful. It made me want to cry. The sun streamed into these marble rooms. We were quite and reverent in this place.
The lady helping us showed us the actual piece of paper, the bill of sale for having Josephine buried here in 1942.
After about ten minutes of searching while following our map, a man came along and helped us find Josephine's grave. I was so glad for that and that he could photograph Mom and me together.
After all these years, my mother got to see the marker where her mother was buried. I'm thankful for this and that I got to live these moments with my mom.
Another place I have been so wanting to see is Great Grandma Bessie's little house. Grandpa Irving owned this duplex and placed his mother on one side of it. She lived here and I remember visiting her. Years later, Grandpa sold his investment to the Euphoria Chocolate company.
Mom said that this had been Grandma Bessie's living room and dining room.
These were her front windows from her kitchen.
This day, I will remember. It was so sweet to me, because I got to spend it with my mother and heard her tell things about her life that I did not know. She showed me her little grade school and talked about walking home along main street. Traffic was to thick for me to photograph her school.  I thank God for this special day with Mom. I love you Mom. "For I will pour water upon him that is thirsty, and floods upon the dry ground: I will pour my spirit upon thy seed, and my blessing upon thine offspring" Isaiah 44:3


Marydon said...

Oh, Kathi, what an awesome time for you both to share. I got chills & tears from sharing in your story. A blessing for you both.

Yes, things were certainly different back in those days ... you just didn't ask, be seen not heard. Pictures of moments to treasure.

Being a genealogist I so encourage everyone to talk NOW to their elders, gather those stories to carry on down for many more generations, salvage every photo you can & document on the back the information & dates.

Happy PS weekend ~

Happy@Home said...

A beautiful post, Kathi. How nice for you and your mom to spend this special time together. You are a sweet daughter and you will always be glad you were able to take this walk down memory lane with your mom and hear her tell about life when she was growing up.
My mom is gone now and I often think of things I wish I would have asked her about her younger days.

onlymehere said...

You will never regret this day and will certainly cherish it always. I had my mom show me her cedar chest and explain to me about the contents one time. We labeled everything bz I knew one day she wouldn't be here to tell us and I might forget. It was so special bz she told me her special memories too. I asked about an old ratty robe in there (assuming it was one of my dad's). She told me that it belonged to her grandpa and she could still see him rocking on the porch in it. He apparently suffered greatly from asthma and arthritis and just loved curling up in this robe. Sadly, I went up to my mother's house the day after she died and my sisters had rifled through the cedar chest and all the papers were thrown all over. I'll never know for sure know which pair of glasses belong to which ancestor or other things. I'll never know what happened to my little sister's clothes that mom saved for so many, many years (like 35 or 40). At least I have the memory. My sister's threw out a slip my great grandmother had done some beautiful tatting on. They said they were in there looking for burial clothes for mom. I just kept my mouth shut and tried to remember the good time mom and I had when we looked through it.

Elena said...

What an awesome time. That is so great that you were able to find your grandma's grave.

Rose of Sharon said...

I love this story! It looks like you and Mom had such a fun afternoon. I want to relive it all with her just like you did.

Love you,


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