Hey.. Hey…

You know when some event happens and it brings back a flood of memories?   Today (well, technically yesterday as it is after midnight now), such an event happened for me.   I was on Facebook and saw that Peter Tork of the Monkees had passed away.

For a moment, I did not believe my eyes, so off my fingers went to google and sure enough what I had read was correct.   Peter Tork had passed away.  A part of my middle school life was gone.  Sweet memories flooded my mind and also a weird pang in my heart jabbed me.

The teeny-bopper television show was one I loved and I was a faithful fan of the Monkees.   Posters crowded my closet door.  I would save my baby sitting money to buy teen magazines so I could keep up with the latest on the Monkees.   I had their 45’s.  I had their albums.   To this day when I hear a Monkees song on the radio I can sing right along and also know where the needle on our record player would jump or stay put.   Of course, we all know that if you put a penny on the arm the needle would track the record better.

Beyond the usual teeny-bopper craze were the memories of a group of friends I had.  Marlene, Lorraine, Vicki and I spent each lunch hour together.  We were good friends and had spent each lunch hour together as long as I can remember.  We did not go home for lunch as many students at St. Joseph Catholic school did.   No, we ate in the lunch room and then went to the playground for the rest of the lunch hour.  The playground was actually the asphalt parking lot for the church, but, it was what we had.  No swings, no slides, no teeter-totter, just asphalt.   There were the occasional jump ropes and if we truly scored there was a ball to play with, but for the most part, it was conversations as we huddled in the corners between the spires of the church.  It was there that Marlene told us that her mom was going to have a baby and she hoped it was a girl as she only had one sister and five brothers.  It was there that Lorraine told us she was going to be an aunt, and we marveled how she was able to be an aunt in sixth grade even though we knew her brothers were much older than she was.   I know it was also where I could talk about my Mom and how much I missed her.

My Mom died in 1966, the year the Monkees television show started.  Their music and their show distracted me away from the grief I felt most of the time.  When I was with my friends and we were talking about the Monkees, I was no longer that girl whose Mom had died, I was just a normal girl.  Somehow, the Monkees enabled me to be a regular person and one that could carry on conversations.

I actually did not realize until today how much that group meant to me.  I knew I liked them.  I knew I was a fan.   But, it wasn’t until today, some fifty years later, that I realized they helped me move past my grief and back into normalcy.

So, thank you gentlemen for helping me through that season of my life.  Rest in peace, to my favorite Monkee.     Cathi (DAF)

 

Advertisements

In Her Own Words…

I have often talked about and shared my niece’s blog.  Today she posted a rewrite of her autobiography.  I hope you will take the time to read her words.  They will encourage you and lift you up.  Please stop by her blog to share your thoughts on her words.   I am so very proud to be her aunt.

via In my own words

Thoughts on Her Birthday…

 He renews my strength.
He guides me along right paths,

Psalm 23:3a  (New Living Translation)

I have had my blog since 2013.  In the five years writing, I have only written about this woman twice on her birthday.  I just checked to make certain.

I was eleven when she died. Some years her birthday warrants just a short glimpse of a memory.  Other years I am affected by her birthday.

In light of what I have been writing lately, I knew that I would eventually write about her, and since today would have been a celebration of her, why not today?

As the years go on memories of my Mom ebb and flow.  Sometimes there is a clarity to the memories like looking through a window pane. Time seems to be non-existent, like she could be sitting right beside me.  Other times the memories are like an old faded letter.  The edges are worn and the ink is fading.  Time has begun to erase the sharp edges and the clarity of what you are grasping for.

In reality, how many of us truly remember everything from when we were eleven and before?  That is an age of being a child.  A place where things like cancer and death should not exist.  A place where there should not be a bed set up in what was a playroom before. There should not be memories of a table filled with prescription bottles and get well cards.  A child should not know what a bed pan is or how to empty it.  But, this child, along with her sisters knew that.  It was our reality. It was what part of our childhood consisted of for six months.

While thinking of writing this post I wondered what lessons I had gleaned from my Mom.  She taught us the basics, how to eat, wash, take care of ourselves, iron, do some laundry.  We learned by mistakes how to cook, clean, iron things other than handkerchiefs, how to get groceries, how to be strong, independent women.  We learned to take things in stride.  We had learned the hard lessons already,  people get sick and people die and you learn to stand up, dust yourself off and move in a forward direction.

I spent many years in differing situations wondering what my Mom would do, what she would think, what she would say.  I still do that occasionally.  The truth is, I don’t know.  For the woman who I knew and love was young.  I was young.  The truths she would have imparted to me would be the truths you tell a child.  Truths that are not totally complete, for as a child how can you grasp a full concept of things?

The one thing I always remember is her telling me that Psalm 23 was her favorite Bible verse.  Of course, it may have been for that moment it was her favorite, but, I hold that psalm close to me as being her favorite.  I chose this verse today because of her.  Also, this verse reminds me of Whose guiding hand has been ever-present in my life.  He has guided me when I didn’t have a Mom to verbally tell me not to do things.  Did I always listen?  No, just like I would not have listened to my Mom always.

The point is, though, that we are given one mother.  She brings us in to the world.  She nourishes us, holds us, loves us and teaches us as much as she can.  As a mother myself, I know mothers are not perfect creatures.  We tire.  We get discouraged. We sometimes focus on the wrong things.  We don’t always listen with an open mind.  We don’t always agree with what is going on.  But, underneath all of it, at the very core of our hearts, that bond between mother and child is permanently knit into our being.  It is a cord that cannot be severed.  It is our lifeblood.  It is our heartbeat.  It is that voice deep within us that echoes throughout us.

That cord was broken so many years ago, but the song of love still exists for me.  Happy Birthday Mom.  You are still missed.

Mom…

Each year I end up writing something about my Mom.  Today is the anniversary of her death.  She was in her early forties when she lost her battle to pancreatic cancer.

I was eleven at the time, but, I still carry vivid memories of her.  I remember conversations and how she smelled and lots of things that have not been erased by time, fortunately.

I miss her often and each year I remember the day and what all happened, that, I think is a given whenever you lose someone you love.  But, this year, it’s not so much her personally I miss, but how many years it has been since she passed away.  50 years.  50 years she has been gone.  That’s a long time!  I cannot wrap my mind around how long it has been.  I don’t feel like I am old enough to remember 50 years.  But, I do.  When I think of this anniversary, my mind just remembers the 11-year-old and her sisters, all young.  Needless to say, we’re not.

When it occurred to me that she has been gone for fifty years, I started to wonder what she would think about life now.  How would she feel about her daughters being in different states and not seeing each other as much as we would like?  What would she think of our husbands?  I know she would share a beer or two with them, but would she like them?  What would she say and think about our kids, her grandchildren?  I am certain they could have done no wrong in her eyes.   Her great grand children?  Well, there is nothing better than they are, honestly.  So, there is no doubt she would have adored them.

Family is one thing to think about, but, this world has changed so much since 1966.  She once told me that one day we would talk on the phone and see each other.  I thought that was a wild dream.  This morning, I skyped with Little Miss and her Mom.  I got to see my granddaughter walk around, read a book, talk with me, eat a snack and wave to me.  We did ‘cheers’ her, with her sippy cup and me with my coffee cup.  Yes, Mom, we can talk to one another and see each other.  You would have loved that.

What type of phone would she have?  Would she have the latest and greatest?  Would she face time and text?  Would she have a twitter account?  Personally, I couldn’t imagine that. What would she think of television shows?  Who would be her favorite actor?  Would she be appalled that there are no western series on television?  She loved Rawhide and Wagon Train.

What would she think of the political climate? What would be her take on the issues in this country?

These are the thoughts that have run through my mind this past week. This has made me aware of the pace of the world today. Life truly was so much simpler fifty years ago.  Yes, there were riots then.  There were racial issues then.  There were wars going on.  Things were broadcast and it seemed fast then, since no other wars had reports given so quickly.  But, now, there is live streaming.  We are able to see events unfolding, for better or worse.

These are all things I will never know.  They will continue to plague my thinking.  I love the  “what if’s” in this life.   All I can be certain of is this, she left us too soon.  She missed so many of life’s treasured moments.  Three of her granddaughters have her name in some form.  Her fourth granddaughter has some of her fiesty-ness.  Her legacy continues in many ways.

Today I will continue to think of her, and my sisters.  We are strong women, all of us.  We love deeply, we think independently, we argue, we laugh, we cry.   I think she would be proud of us.      DAF (Cathi)