She always had the Mom purse. You know the one that had anything you would ever need EVER inside of it. If you had a runny nose, out would come the tissue from the Mom purse. Headache? Out would come the aspirin. Needed gum, a mint, a quarter, a pen, a hug, a Band-Aid, a sandwich; somehow it all fit inside of that mythic purse.
I got lost at Disneyland when I was 7 years old during the light parade. I went in to the bathroom before the parade started and it was normal daylight. When I came out of the bathroom Walt had turned off the sun for full light parade effect and I could not find my sister anywhere, so I found a cop instead. He let me watch the parade and then he took me to the Lost & Found. I did not cry until I finally saw my mother a few hours later. I still remember the way her face looked at that exact moment and I can still feel her strong embrace.
When my brother was 16, he was nominated for home coming king. For some reason he decided not to tell my parents about it. My Mom found out and was hurt that he kept this from her. She decided to exact her revenge. There was a big parade before the homecoming game and all the nominees for king and queen were in the parade. My Mom put on her bathrobe and slippers, put curlers in her hair and armed herself with the video camera. I was 11 at the time, so she put me in the car and we drove to the beginning of the parade. When my brother drove by, she hooted and hollered and ran after him in her pajamas, waving the video camera. After he past by us in pure mortification, we hopped back in the car to meet the parade at the next corner where she resumed her performance at the humiliated expense of my brother. We did this a few more times until the parade was over. I did not really comprehend what she was doing, I thought she was just excited for him and I was thrilled for so many opportunities to get candy thrown at me during the parade. It was not until I found out there was no film in the camera that I realized the true beauty of her act of vengeance.
Every summer I spent a week at camp and I would get a letter or a care package from her everyday. This meant that she would send me a letter the day before I even left, so that I would have it as soon as I got to camp.
She always took our picture on the first day of school.
Every summer we would watch The Wizard of Oz.
She grew up in the 50’s and went to the malt shop after school. She would go to Mel’s drive in with her friends where the waitresses literally wore roller skates like you see in the movies.
She was a senior in high school when she met my Dad, who was 6 years older. There is a story of when they were at a party together and some girl was hitting on my dad. My Mom hauled off and punched this girl in the face in a jealous rage. My dad proposed to her soon after that.
When I was 15, I told her I did not want to go to church anymore. She cried. I felt so bad that I attended for another year.
She later denied this, but whenever I would have a particularly brutal visit with the dentist, she would buy me a candy bar for comfort.
When it was time to get up and go to school, she would sing Rise and Shine at the top of her lungs every morning. She called me names like Snicklefritz & Ducky and would ask: Are you ready, Freddy?
Once when I was suffering from migraines, she wrote my school paper in the 8th grade.
She documented everything with her camera. She left each of her 3 kids a box filled with photos of our childhoods; every Christmas, every birthday, every snow day or just because.
She made the world’s best minestrone soup.
Here is a picture of her in 1950 with her Mom & younger sister.
Here she is in grade school when she went by the name Denny.
This is her with my Dad at her senior prom.
She was the oldest of three girls
She sewed the matching outfits
She loved everyone so much.
Now she travels on the wind.
Today marks the third year and I miss her every day.