Sunday, May 9, 2010

To Honor My Mother

Today is Mothers Day... I want to wish all those Mothers out there... blessings, and warmth and love for today. I recently lost my mom... and I was asked by my family to write some memories to share. What is written below is what I sent to be shared... my memories of growing up with my Mom.

Memories of Mom…
Some of my earliest memories of Mom… was that she was very, very busy… always.
She would spend hours with Nana and Auntie or her sisters… or she would be involved with something at church… and I would spend my time at Nana’s or Auntie’s. I have fond memories of stories in the front bedroom at Nana’s and lots of laughter coming from that room when Mom and Titi and Carolyn would get together to have girl talk… and the sunlight streaming across the hallway as we sat outside the door.

Our house on Douglas Street, was actually quite small for a family of 6… there was really only one bedroom and 1 bathroom… the girls were in a converted garage and Brian was out in the sunroom and I was tucked into a cove between the kitchen and the sunroom. Mom had an old singer sewing machine with a wood cabinet and flip-top table. She kept it tucked into a closet just outside the bathroom and across from her bedroom. She would let me play on the sewing machine while everyone else was getting ready, to keep me out of the way. (I got carried away one day and ran the needle across my thumbnail, she took very good care of me, but would only let me play on her machine when Dad wasn’t around.) That was also the house where I discovered that little kids cannot climb on nightstands like stairs… I was only 5 when I tried it… and broke the globe on her bedside lamp. I don’t remember my punishment… but I felt bad about that a very long time.

When I was a little kid… we went to Hollywood to the Pantages Theatre to see a matinee of “The Sound of Music”. It was a really big deal… and it was even more special since she bought us the soundtrack… and she would play that for me on the stereo on Sunday afternoons, so I could dance and sing in the living room. I was around 6 because we lived on Panorama Drive by then. Robbie told me that recently Linda and Preston had played that soundtrack for Mom and that even as she was in her own world… she still kept time to the music and enjoyed it so much. We did a lot of Disney movies, when we got to go… and we loved to watch Walt Disney every week after we all got baths… and she made popcorn and lemonade for us. (That was a special treat!)

When we moved to Mt. Shasta, she found life was quite different than living in So. California. Mom always took pride in how she dressed for church. It was hard for her to be in a small town in the 60’s where Ladies were supposed to wear nylons and she found “gals” who wore bobby socks and housecoats to church. She had a favorite dress that is still one of my favorites of hers… it was a black sleeveless sheath dress with a rolled collar. It had beautiful bright flowers in the print… yellows, pinks and red geraniums with green leaves and a few little bright blue flowers for accent. She had the most amazing enameled pin and clip earrings that went with that dress and black patent pumps. I can still see it hanging on the door of her closet at that house.

Living in Mt. Shasta, she was involved with the youth group and would spend weeks planning for all the kids in the “district” to come for a weekend of playing in the snow. She would cook and make casseroles so that everyone would get fed well while they were staying at our church. She even ended up playing nurse when one of the kids was injured and they stayed at our house. She also worked, very hard, for many of the wealthy people in that little town. She worked for doctors, dentists, publishers and mill owners. She did what ever she needed to do; to provide the things she felt were needed to keep her family together. She always worked hard. She sacrificed for her family… always putting us first.

Earlier memories:
The dining room on Douglas Street… how the chairs were curve-backed and round seated with little pleated skirts and brass nail heads. They were perfect for making forts and playing racecars… Mom would let us drag them into the living room and play on them all day and into the evening. I also remember Thanksgiving there with Nana and Papa and the Aunts and Uncles gathered around her table with candles and her cornucopia filled with plastic fruit, we all loved to take the grapes and squeeze them.

She also let us drag the cushions off the sofa and lay them on the floor so we could tumble on them. She would let us disassemble her living room after dinner and she always put it all back after we went to bed. We never woke up to a messy house. There was also a huge bookcase in the foyer between the living room and the kitchen. There was a Worldbook encyclopedia set that we all used… I loved to spend hours going through the Atlas and looking at the maps.

The kitchen on Douglas Street seemed huge to me… and I loved sitting at the bar to eat dinner but was always afraid the partition that separated the 2 sides would come crashing down. Mom always seemed to have a woodstove in every house we lived in… and that little dining area was no exception. It had a little woodstove in the corner and during the wintertime… it was the only heat for my little nook or Brian’s area on the sun porch. She would stoke it up at night and sometimes it would still have embers left in the morning to heat up the kitchen while she made breakfast.

I remember breakfasts at the little bar… plain omelets on toast, French toast and applesauce or everyone’s favorite… French pancakes with melted butter and sugar. We would get up on New Years morning and she would make waffles while we were still in our jammies watching the rose parade on black and white TV. And one of my most favorite dinners sitting at that bar was her homemade tostadas. She’d fry the tortillas and put the meat and refried beans on them and place them in the oven to stay warm. She’d place a large brown grocery bag on the oven rack to help absorb the oils from the tortillas… I can still see the bottle of La Victoria taco sauce sitting on the bar and remember how good it tasted with the fresh lettuce, tomatoes and cheese served on her lazy susan so it would reach all of us.

Mom loved pretty clothes when she was younger… and she always loved shoes. One of my first memories of playtime was the huge dress-up box she had for us. There weren’t just girl clothes in there, but also police uniforms, cowboy outfits, farmer clothes… she had lots of great stuff. She also gave me a pair of high heels that I wish I still had. They were stiletto style with an open toe and brass nail heads on the sides. They also had fabulous rhinestones and sequins in a floral pattern across the top. I loved those shoes… and would wear them constantly. I was also fascinated with horses because of Robbie’s friend, Joyce. I learned that if you took those shoes and placed them inside golashes and ran up and down on the street, it sounded just like horse’s hooves. I also found out that if you did too many times, you would put holes in the heels of the golashes. Mom never got too mad… she usually was too busy to be mad long and if she grounded you… it also meant she couldn’t do anything either.

She was an amazing woman with many talents… she was a good mother and a fabulous grandmother… she had a way with each grandchild that made them each feel so special… and nothing made her happier than getting to fix them their favorite breakfast while sitting at her round oak table with the little red lantern lit in the middle. She loved to watch movies with them on Friday nights with a huge bowl of popcorn… that popcorn tradition is still carried on through the generations even now.

As the youngest… I did have some time as the only one left at home… and Mom and I were left to our own devices… and I discovered that she could be very funny. We would spend time sitting on my bed talking and suddenly, we would be laughing and not be able to stop. We would just look at each other and crack up, and start all over again. Mom liked to sing and I remember singing in Christmas Musicals with her… and she would bring warm lemonade for us to sooth our voices in rehearsals. She loved to sing. She loved music and she loved to dance.

Even in her later years… she was always a worker. I recently shared with (DH) that my first Christmas at Leather Loft, we had a big break in… I got a call at 12:30 in the morning to go and oversee the clean up. She came down to the store at 3:00am to check on me and bring me “Charlie-dog” to protect me as I waited for the glass crew to finish up. She worked tirelessly at the Love-Inc clothing bank… in the cold… taking Dottie-dog with her to keep her company and be her second set of ears to alert her if someone was nearby. She was so upset when Dottie-dog ate rat poison that she didn’t know was being put down… and rushed her to the vet. She saved my little dogs life. But we all know… she was just doing what she always did… taking care of all of us.

She really didn’t like a lot of fuss… she really enjoyed the simple things in life. She loved ice cream on cold nights. She loved chocolate and Mexican food. She enjoyed a good shopping trip to Goodwill or Salvation Army… always happy with her “good finds”. She loved her kids… she adored her Grandkids… and was thrilled with her Great-Grandkids. She wanted nothing more than to be in a simple little log cabin in the woods with a wood stove, her round oak table and her family to make good, wholesome food for… everyone feeling loved and happy.

Thanks for reading... be blessed!

I love you, Mom... hope you're having a great time up there with Lizzy's Mom, and Sandy's Mom and Julie's Mom too! I miss you... please come visit in my dreams.


dawdawsmom said...


Anonymous said...

I'm a long time lurker. Beautifully written. Thank you for sharing such wonderful memories about your mom...and such sweet pictures of Nolli and Punkin.

Sandra said...

Thanks for the memories, Suzanne. I miss my Mom too.
Best always, Sandra

April Fiur said...

I just finished reading this absolutely beautiful tribute to your mom. What a lovely legacy and how wonderful for you to have so many treasured memories. We should all be so fortunate to have our family remember us with such love. Hugs and Love, ALF