Yesterday would’ve been my Mom’s 97th birthday. She’s been gone 26 years, but nowhere does does she seem closer than here at the cabin. From the ‘silver’ platter hanging on the wall – a wedding present back in 1947 –
to the reminder on our ancient refrigerator about what settings to use when,
to the “please remove spike shoes’ sign (from a short stint working at a country club) to the handmade Indian doll sitting on the neighboring shelf –
my Mom’s remembrances are all around us.
Earlier this year I wrote a bit about Mom for the Storyworth project our kids gave us for Christmas. (Yes, as Gary said – a Christmas present with homework!).
“What was your Mom like when you were a child?”
My goodness, what a BIG question!
In some ways, Mom was a superhero. When I was not quite two and she was pregnant with my brother, my oldest sister was diagnosed with Polio. Elna was whisked away to spend months and months in the hospital while the rest of the household was placed in strict quarantine. I was too young to remember any of that of course, but when I became a Mom and would become overwhelmed with my life, I would think of her managing the two of us girls at home, getting ready to deliver baby #4, all the while her first precious daughter was in the hospital. Somehow that always managed to help me get my life back in perspective.
She was a Musician. One of my favorite childhood memories is falling asleep while she practiced her cello down in her music studio (aka the dining room!). She loved her cello, played in several area orchestras and ensembles, and even began taking lessons (again!) when she was in her 60’s. While cello was her first love, she was also an accomplished pianist. Most afternoons neighborhood kids would come to our house for their lessons, and while I don’t recall her actually giving me lessons, somehow I learned how to read music and play sorta-kinda. She would come and help, but never insisted that I learn. She taught piano and played her cello right up until her death in 1996.
She was a Seamstress.
I think she made most of our clothes growing up – I especially remember one Christmas when I got the softest furry bathrobe that she had secretly worked on while we were in school. There were many a photo of the three of us girls in matching outfits, and sometimes ones that even matched hers. She made wedding dresses for my sisters, along with the bridesmaid dresses too! When I wanted to learn how to sew and my home ec teacher wanted me to start with an A-line skirt, I remember saying to Mom – “Can I make a lined cape instead ?” “Sure” was her easy reply!
She was Athletic. She loved to ski (she was the Snow Queen for one of the Snow Festivals in Vermont during her college days) and play tennis. I think she would often outplay my Dad on the courts! I know she always beat me! She had a degree in both Music and PE from Ithaca College in NY so I guess I shouldn’t be surprised.
She was a Great Cook. Although my dad took over the gourmet cooking in the 60’s, Mom was always ready with a good home cooked meal. Her mac and cheese was legendary and I think my favorite was the classic 1960 chuck roast in foil with onion soup and cream of mushroom. She did hold to the logic that having liver once in a while was beneficial (all that iron, I guess), but I still loved her (and her cooking) regardless!
She was Fun and Funny!
She’d take us ice skating at a local lake ( we even had a small rink in our back yard when we lived in Willow Grove), she’d help us build snow tunnels when the drifts in the driveway were too high to even shovel, and she had a great sense of humor. We laughed a lot around the dinner table.
She was an Encourager. I don’t recall ever hearing her say – “Don’t try that, it’s too hard.” When I wanted to sew my wedding gown – she helped me shop for fabric. She was always on my side.
Maybe this question was geared more to my younger childhood. And the memories I shared above are from when I was a bit older. I honestly don’t remember lots of warm and fuzzy moments with Mom when I was younger – but I certainly don’t have any cold and harsh memories either. Did she tuck me in each night when I was younger? I’m sure she did. Do I remember those moments? I do not. She was always there for us. Strong and steady, putting her family first and encouraging each of us to be the best that we could be.
And sending us off to dreamland with Pachelbel’s Canon in D.
Miss you especially these days, Mom! So thankful for the promise of eternity in heaven with you!