I interrupt this day of absolute leisure to thank my “Moms”. I’d like to think I have the best of their qualities, but even if I don’t, I can honestly say I have always admired and loved them for these qualities. I’ll just have to work harder on mine….
Mom (Fran). My Mom.
She has only been gone for a few years, and I miss her every day. You couldn’t meet her without falling in love with her. She was funny, positive, strong-willed, smart (and silly – really, Lucille Ball hysterical) and loved all of her family fiercely (possibly the original Mama Grizzly). She was the most honest person I have ever known. On a trip to Kentucky, we had stopped to make a call at a pay-phone (remember pay phones?). For some reason, when Dad hung up the phone, all of the change from the phone came tumbling out. Mom insisted that we drive to the nearest town (several miles away) and give the change to the police department. It think it was around $8.00.
Mom could also be a bit vain (who could blame her?) When Mom knew she was going to be in a picture, she always looked up to my Dad. There is no doubt that she loved him, but she looked up so that her chin and neck would be taut.
As for food…Mom was not the greatest cook, but the recipe I think of when I think of Mom is what we now call “What Mom Calls Spaghetti“. You can click on the link to get the recipe, but I warn you, it ends with a brick of velvet cheese…
Aunt Marianna. My Mom’s sister (with Grandma W in top picture)
When I think of Aunt Marianna, the word that comes to mind is gracious. and fun. and optimistic. and sweet (okay, a lot of words come to mind). To know her is to love her. Even now, a visit to see Aunt Marianna is full of smiles and giggles and lots of songs. When my Mom and Aunt Marianna were together, parties were more fun, songs were more boisterous, everyone danced, all the women wore pearls, adorned themselves with sparkly jewelry and there was laughter….so much laughter. Always stylish and still beautiful, Aunt Marianna remains the fun, energetic, gracious center of any group.
Grandma S (Isalene). My Dad’s Mom.
I can’t think of Grandma without smiling. So many of my favorite memories were spent in her company. She and Grandpa lived on a farm and we visited as often as we could. I loved helping her cook (Grandma would give us bits of biscuit dough to create with). She made every little thing seem like fun. A jar of pennies became a kingdom, the sand in the ruts created by tractors became Egyptian tombs. She taught me to crochet, to can, to cook and to love. She was my partner in crime in allowing our dog, Flicka, to sleep in my bed and was very, very wise (maybe not about Flicka in the bed, but about many other things). In the summer, she would make several batches of Lemon Glop and we would fill up. Of course, every single thing she cooked was mouth-watering and wonderful. Not sure why I picked this picture of Grandma, but somehow it tickled me.
Grandma W (Vera). My Mom’s Mom.
This picture just cracks me up. I love the attitude. You go, Grandma. She had the smoothest skin of anyone I have ever met. It was almost like you were touching silk! She loved People magazine, the National Enquirer and wrestling (she just LOVED Leaping Larry Shane) and she always smelled like Listerine and Roses. As the story goes, Grandma loved her dolls and brought them to her home when she married my Grandpa. Grandpa got fed up one day and threw them all into the tree! (I’ll just bet she climbed up later and got them down). I remember visiting their home and having cooked Spinach with eggs and vinegar. Oh, it may not sound good now, but I still love that combination.
Betts. Mr. H’s Mom.
When Mr. H and I married, I hadn’t yet met his family. Betts and Fred lived in another state, so we knew it would be awhile before we actually met. That didn’t stop us from getting to know each other on the phone and I fell in love. Strong, strong-minded, strong-willed and a hoot!! She was the Pearl Mesta of any event. Creative and fun, argumentative and passionate. She was also a fantastic cook (she was a fantastic everything she put her mind to kind of a gal). One visit, she simply whipped up a cream cheese, chutney and toasted pine nut appetizer that was to die for, Betts may not be with us in life, but she sure is with us in spirit.
Talley. Mr. H’s Step-Mom.
Simply. Elegant. She was a Texas girl at heart, but was always stylish and the picture of perfection. She was the toast of New York when Mr. H’s Dad met her and brought style, flash and … her amazing hats…into his life. She loved to entertain, travel and celebrate. When Mr. H. and I were going to take the kids camping, she asked if I could stop by so she could give me something for the trip. We met for lunch and she gave me a contraption she thought I could use for camping. It was for drying panty hose!! I still have that pink contraption….for absolutely no reason at all, except it makes me smile.
Nana “Pete”. My ex-husband’s Grandma.
We had so much fun together. Nana and Papa had a pool (uncommon for the times) so we spent a lot of time bobbing around in the pool, eating fabulous food (with the exception noted below) and swapping stories. Nana was strong and funny and quite modern. She still liked tradition, though, and insisted on making Ludefisk every year. She somehow thought I’d enjoy helping (she was wrong, but I did help anyway). Good grief, what a smell and good grief, what a taste. This event was saved by her equally amazing, but incredible tasting Potato Sausage. Something I plan to make this summer (my summer of sausage).
Granny. My ex-husband’s Grandma.
An indominatable woman. Going to visit Granny and Papa in Tennessee was a summer highlight. Memories include dinner of home-made biscuits and country ham. home-made jellies and jams…eating ice cream on the porch. Granny had a crackling sense of humor and was sharp until the end of a very long well-lived life. Granny played piano and I know my kids’ memories of Granny are centered around that piano and sharing the bench with her.
Mom P (Glo). My ex-husband’s Mom.
This is a picture of Mom P as a teenager, but she really didn’t change much over the years. Good Swedish genes. Mom was a secretary at an elementary school, and I would often go visit her when Kendra was just a baby (those were the days you could pop into a school without anyone worrying). She was fun and funny and always ready to have a good time. She was very crafty (even before it became cool), played Bingo and made the best Snickerdoodles!! She had three boys, and was SO excited when Kendra was born. Finally, a girl! To top it off, Kendra looks very much like her Grandma P. Lucky Kendra.
Mom R (Ruby). My ex-husband’s Step-Mom.
Mom is still with us and still just as sweet as she was when I was young. I don’t know how she has done it, but she still looks the same! (I need some of that special age-defying water she must be drinking). She absolutely loved spending time with the kids when they were little. She would spend hours just reading to them. It was very sweet. If she loved you, you were her “Dear Heart”. I still love hearing her say that. Pictured below is Aunt Jeri and Mom Roscoe (Aunt Jeri is Mom’s sister). What a treasure these two women are and how lucky that they are still gracing us with their presence. I am proud to say I am still a “dear heart” and tickled that Dad has his two girls to take care of.
Thank you to all the Moms who influenced my life.