November is the month I lost both of my parents. Granted, it was 18 years apart, but it’s still a different month for me. Last week I tried to tell you about my father, my hero. And I hope I had some success. Now I want to tell you about my mother, also my hero, another member of the greatest generation in America.
Born in Dorchester, Mass., During the Depression in the late 1920s, her father was a salesman and her mother a housewife, like many women of the time. She attended parish schools, like many children in this time in the city, and eventually graduated from Simmons College.
Now, if you read last week’s scribblins, one might wonder how the heck did she find her longtime partner in the country, Maine. Sometimes life takes us down a road where very unexpected things happen, and that’s what happened to my mother on a girls’ weekend in Maine in 1949 to visit her friend’s cousin.
As Saturday night approached, they decided to go dancing at the Lakehurst Dance Hall, because at that time it was the most “passive” place to go. It was there that she first met my father, when he asked her to dance. Being the cautious one she always was, she asked her friend Marie about Frank, and the answer came back: “He’s harmless!” “
She had no idea that 45 years of marriage and five children would follow! Now I always thought they were a bit like a strange couple. Dad might have been a little rough about his upbringing and just came back from being a prisoner in WWII, but mum was a town 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 the world today lacks a bit, determination! There was no giving up in any of them, even when times were tough between them and the atmosphere at home was cool to say the least, they still seem to get it. Both of my parents were incredibly hard workers, as dad was busy outside with gardens and firewood to heat the house, mum was just as busy at home, always cooking big meals for the family, a job that she readily admitted that she knew little as a new wife, but she and Betty Crocker together successfully became exceptional cooks.
Out of the garden, she learned how to can vegetables and filled the storage cupboard at the bottom of the cellar for the winter. Learn to sew clothes for children. Later in life becoming well known for her quilting expertise, and if you ever come to my place, ask me to show you her latest quilt, night sky and nautical theme, it is priceless for me !
Alone at home with young children, as being your servant, she had no problem filling the wood-fired furnace, since daddy was at work, with dry wood that daddy put in the cellar. I always laughed at the thought that as a teenager she probably didn’t even know what a stick of firewood was!
My mom was short, barely five feet tall on a good day, and weighed maybe 110 pounds, but you always knew where you were with my mom, although not mean at all, you always knew that you could be on a slope slide if you cross it!
She also always had a wry sense of humor. Once towards the end of her years, she had to go to Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston because her heart was beating once again, and I remember the doc coming with her students, because it is a teaching hospital. , and told mom there was an experimental surgery using beef or pork to replace a valve in the heart. Without breaking a smile, she looked at him and boldly declared that her preference would be to use pork, because beef was not as good for you!
The doc and his class burst out laughing!
One of my mom’s strongest traits was that she could keep a secret, and unless you died, you couldn’t take it from her. “What a difference does it make” would always be her standard answer when you wanted to know what she knew. My God, that was driving me crazy. I think she was delighted with my dismay!
She was a founding member of the original McDonald’s “Biscuit Babes” which my friend Walter Hilton dubbed them, who get together every morning at our local Micky D’s, and solved every problem in the world with her pals Lorraine, Joyce, Polly , Stan and many others. .
The greatest generation was just that, awesome, they built this country, fought for its freedoms and cherished its heritage. I pray that we keep these values that they passed on to us!
This is Hollywood… Sheepscot Road for this week, enjoy the good weather !!