The month of November is the month that I lost both of my parents. Granted it was 18 years apart, but it always is kind of a different month for me. Last week, I tried to tell you about my dad, my hero. And I hope, I was somewhat successful. Now, I want to tell you about my mom, my hero, as well, another member of America’s Greatest Generation.
Born in Dorchester, Mass., during the Depression, of the late 1920s, her dad was a salesman, and mom a homemaker, like many women of that time. She went to parochial schools, like many children did at that time in the city, and eventually graduated from Simmons College.
Now, if you read last week’s scribblins, one might wonder, how in the world did she find her life-long partner in the country, up in Maine. Life sometimes leads us down a road that very unexpectable things happen, and this is what happened to my mom on a girls’ weekend trip to Maine in 1949 to visit with her friend’s cousin.
As Saturday night came, they decided to go to the dance at Lakehurst Dance Hall, as at that time it was the most “happening” place to go. This is where she first met my dad, when he asked her for a dance. Being the cautious one that she always was she questioned her friend Marie about Frank, and the reply came back, “He’s harmless!”
Little did she know that 45 years of marriage and five children would follow! Now I always thought that they were kinda like the odd couple. Dad might have been a little rough around the edges due to his upbringing, and just recently back from being a prisoner of World War II, but Mom was a city girl, from a small family, whose parents, although not wealthy, certainly had plenty to eat, and a warm place to call home.
But they both had something that is a little lacking in today’s world, determination! There was no quit in either one of them, even when times were difficult between them, and the atmosphere at home was cool to say the least, they always seem to figure it out. Both of my parents were incredibly hard workers, as Dad was busy outside with gardens and wood to heat the home, Mom was just as busy in the home, always cooking big meals for the family, a trade she readily admitted she knew little about as a new bride, but her and Betty Crocker together successfully became outstanding cooks.
Out of the garden, she learned to can vegetables and filled the storage cabinet down cellar for the winter. Teaching herself to sew clothes for the children. Later in life becoming well known for her quilting expertise, and if you ever come to my home, please ask me to show you her last quilt, of the night sky and nautical theme, it’s priceless to me!
Home alone with small children, that, being yours’ truly, she had no problem keeping the wood furnace filled, as Dad was away at work, with dry seasoned wood that Dad put into the cellar. I always laughed at the thought that as a teen she probably didn’t even know what a stick of firewood was!
My mom was small in stature, standing barely five foot tall on a good day, and maybe a 110 pounds, but you always knew where you stood with my mom, although not mean spirited at all, you always knew you could be on a slippery slope if you crossed her!
She always had a wry sense of humor, too. One time late in her years she had to go to Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston, as her heart was failing yet again, and I remember the doc coming in with his students, as that is a teaching hospital, and telling Mom that there was some experimental surgery using beef or pork material to replace a valve in one’s heart. Without cracking a smile she looked at him and boldly declared that her preference would be to use pork, as beef wasn’t as good for you!
The doc and his class split a gut laughing!
One of the strongest traits with my mom was she could hold a secret, and short of death you couldn’t pry it out of her. “What difference does it make” would always be her standard reply when you wanted to know what she knew. God, that used to drive me crazy. I think she delighted in my consternation!
She was a founding member of the original McDonald’s “Biscuit Babes” that my friend Walter Hilton dubbed them, that assemble each morning at our local Micky D’s, and solved all the world’s problems with her buddies Lorraine, Joyce, Polly, Stan and many more.
The Greatest Generation was just that, great, they built this country, fought for its freedoms, and cherished its heritage. I pray that we hold onto those values that they passed on to us!
That’s it from Hollywood… Sheepscot Road for this week, enjoy the beautiful weather!!