Tag Archives: Memories

Found Items: #3 Mom’s Christmas Card for Her Mother

While going through the attic at my mom’s house last fall, we came across a Christmas card mom made for her mother. As you can tell, my mother missed her calling. She could have made greeting cards for a living. (actually she did make many greeting cards for family and friends when I was a kid)

 

My Mother! New York, NY 46
My Mother! York, NY 46 (unless the 46 means 1946 and NY means New Year?)

The address is interesting, mostly because they lived in Elgin, Illinois. Not New York, NY. I love the drawing with the fashionable hairstyle.

 

1940's drawing
My grandma in 1946 as drawn by my mother.

 

 

She works and works in the kitcion like a slave. Sometimes I wonder if she didn't once live in a cave She gits after us and gits after us Till she just desides to pick up after us
She works and works in the kitcion like a slave. Sometimes I wonder if she didn't once live in a cave She gits after us and gits after us Till she just desides to pick up after us

The drawings on this one are too good to miss so here they are in more detail:

Working in the kitchen like a slave.
Here she is working in the kitchen like a slave. Note her leg is shackled to something

 

Cave man
Here she's being dragged by her hair when she lived in a cave
Running after the kids with a belt
Here she's getting after the kids. With a belt.

 

I’m guessing mom was about 10 or 11 when she made this card (which would make 1946 reasonable) because all of her siblings are in the drawing. From left to right, (the kids) is Mom. Then Aunt Ginny, then Aunt Nancy, then Uncle Dick and finally Uncle Bud. In 1946, though, Aunt Ginny would have still been an infant and not running.

 

Bachache
Here she's given up and is picking up after the kids. It gives her a backache.
Page 3 of card
After all that she should think us all rats But I know my mother Beter than all others I know she loves us more in every way She loves us more every day

 

More details below:

 

rats
Here she's chasing the rats away with a flyswatter.
Page 4
To my mother Because I love her May not miss my loving kiss on Christmas Day Merry Christmas and Happy New Year

 

The loving kiss:

 

smack
Here's she's rewarded with a loving kiss.
back of card
Vahish (?) P.0 Box

 

Sometimes I’m annoyed that Mom keeps everything — but often I’m pleased. This was a lot of fun to look at with mom and to share with you.

Found Items: 2. The Nite Owl

For the last decade or so of my father’s life his bedroom was his sanctuary. He spent more time in his room than out of it — and not always asleep. I once asked him what he did when he went to bed at 2 o’clock in the afternoon. He said he usually lay in bed thinking.

Dad’s room was pretty much off-limits to anyone not invited in, but the stench of unwashed old-age was enough to not want to be invited in. Occasionally my dad would ask me into his room to look, for the umpteenth time, at the photograph of the navy ship he’d spent 4 years on or to look at something he’d found among his trinkets. I was never very curious about what was in his room — I couldn’t imagine there was anything of interest I’d not seen many times before.

I couldn’t have been more wrong as I found out after my father’s death in October. I found his father’s wallet, still with the cards and photographs he carried while alive. I found his wedding ring that my mother thought was lost. I also found a ziplock bag of things that belonged to my Uncle Don, my father’s brother-in-law and best friend until Don’s death in 1963.

Some of the things in the bag are bizarre — a hat with a tassel and matching purple satin sash from some honorary Moose Lodge event. Some are historical — correspondence between my Uncle Don and the War Department in 1945. Some possibly valuable — an unopened pack of Milwaukee Road playing cards.

My favorite of the trinkets, however, is the plastic box of key-chains. When I opened the box, the top key-chain was one I recalled from my childhood. Probably not the same key-chain, but I had one just like it.

It is a red and white plastic key-chain shaped like an owl. The red part (the body of the owl) separates from the white part (the eyes and tail) to make two key-chains. The white part also glows in the dark. I think the reason for the two parts is because two keys used to be required for the ignition and trunk, so this way you could keep your car running and get something out of the trunk. The back of the key-chain advertises a store called “Rorry’s: Apparel for women who care”. I vaguely remember Rorry’s — I wonder if there was one in Elgin.

Clare loves owls so, for Christmas, I parted with the Nite Owl key-chain and placed it in her stocking. I feel good that a memory of mine is now a concrete object for her.

Memories in the laundry room

Isn’t it funny how seeing (or smelling or tasting or hearing) certain things makes you always think about certain people, places or events in your life? I’m like that about the most mundane of objects – especially in the laundry room. Folding towels makes me think of my mom. Cleaning lint from the dryer makes me think of my friend Chris. A wooden clothes drying rack makes me think of my friend Marie.

I met Marie in the early 1980’s when her husband, Neal, and my boyfriend, Dean, shared an office at Carnegie Mellon University. She was a nursing student. She was also a birder before it was a popular or even accepted pastime. We did a lot of things with Neal and Marie in Pittsburgh until they moved back to Rhode Island. I was heartbroken. I’d not had a friendship like the one I had with Neal and Marie since — well, probably since forever.

We kept in touch and visited them a lot. We spent Easter with Marie’s boisterous Italian family and met Neil’s brother and his wife. I considered Marie one of my closest friends and asked her to be my matron-of-honor at my wedding. She and Neal flew to Illinois for the wedding and even accompanied us and our friend Paul to Wisconsin for our first honeymoon.

Over the years we’ve visited them probably once a year on average – perhaps a little less. They visited us a few times, but not as much as we did them. We rejoiced at the births of their children and they did the same for ours.

Marie and I had a few differences – I remember that we disagreed on whether or not a teacher who had no children could be as empathetic as those with children. As a child free teacher then, I thought I was as empathetic as one with kids. (Later– after my own daughter was born — I agreed with Marie and told her so.) We also had a bit of a falling out when I suggested she see a movie instead of a play of some play we’d just seen. I didn’t mean anything by it – knowing that their life was so busy with their children. It got her upset though.

The last time I saw Marie was at her Newport Beach beach house when we visited them for a few days. The room Dean and I shared had a collapsible wooden clothes-dryer and I remember Marie coming in the room one day, folding it up and putting it away. I remember thinking that one of those might be handy to have. The day we left I had a monstrous hangover from way too much wine at a party they had the night before.

We planned on visiting them again the next summer but about a month before we were to go Marie emailed us that she and Neal had separated and would probably divorce. She was shocked too, but doing ok. She said we could still visit, but it might be uncomfortable.

I was beyond shocked. I was devastated. It was like a dear friend had died. NealandMarie was dead. It was now Neal or Marie. Not that we needed to make a choice, but it felt like that. We couldn’t make a choice. So we’ve not seen either of them. We’ve both communicated with Marie through email and telephone conversations and I IMed Neal a couple of times. They both say they are friends and we should feel free to go visit — we could see both of them.

Perhaps it is the divorce, or perhaps it is just the busy life we have with two teenagers and aging parents, but New England is no longer somewhere we first think about visiting when we are thinking of vacation plans.

The last I heard from Marie, she said she was seeing someone and was doing well. I’m glad. She is still one of my all-time favorite people and always will be. I’ll always consider her one of my best friends, even if we never see each other again.

So, on days when I have a lot of clothes that cannot go in the dryer, I think about Marie and our friendship and sometimes I cry a little, but usually I smile remembering the good times we had.