Memories of Mom

Joan met Phil in 1962. He saw this striking woman at the alterations shop next door to his flower shop. He was smitten. They were married the next year and combined their families. Both had daughters and unfortunately, they had difficulty getting along. They were so different, and the parents tried a little too hard to make them friends causing more friction.

What I came to realize some years ago was that 1. They did the best they could and 2. they loved each other deeply.

Phil and Joan did everything together. They were part of clubs and fundraisers for charitable causes. There were parties, ceremonies, and pranks they shared. They loved to dance and get dressed up and have fun. They were both people persons and loved each other.

Mom was a secretary for a small insurance office. I remember her boss at that time had a small plane and took us, girls, for our first ride in the sky.

Mom went to work for a large tech company as receptionist and HR support. She knew everyone and their stories and she was well-liked. I hear she was quite the prankster and solicited help to carry out her mischief from adventurous friends. She planned company events and knew how to throw a party. Over the years the company was bought and sold, changing the name four or five times. This is the nature of the technology business.

When Mom retired they threw a huge party. She had made some life long friends and was a surrogate mother to a few. She cared. She listened.

When I left home at the age of eighteen, Mom and I became friends. The older we both got, the easier our relationship.

Things I remember: Mom had purses that matched her heels. There was one dress I’ll never forget, it was red silk, Asian style, Naru collar, roses embroidered down the front with silk cords and french knotted closures. She was stunning with her black hair in a French bun.

One thing about my Mom, she dressed classy. Her make-up was always done up. Her skin was smooth and still is, except around her mouth. Mom was a smoker when it was cool and never quit until her stroke.

I have so many memories of my folks dancing and laughing. They moved well together.

When fashions went casual Mom still coordinated shoes and costume jewelry, and of course, make-up. You wouldn’t catch my Mom with bed head. No way.

I went to my first dance as a high school junior and had nothing to wear. I hadn’t worn a dress since we were allowed to wear slacks and jeans in school. Mom loaned me a sparkly pantsuit and I felt so glamourous.

Dad and Mom loved to travel with friends. They took us on a Caribbean Cruise in the ’80s. I didn’t have nice enough clothes, but one of Mom’s friends was my size and let me borrow several nice dresses to wear to dinner. I don’t think I shamed her, I even wore make-up.

Dad was in the military and looked really sharp in his dress uniform with his medals. He and Mom often attended dinners, ceremonies, retirement parties and always wore formal wear. They looked wonderful together.

Mom loved fresh flowers and early in their marriage, they arranged flowers together at Dad’s shop. The smell in the floral refrigerator smelled heavenly. Mom and Dad had a flashy sense of color and design. We always had flowers at home.

She loved nice clothes, fancy cars, pretty things, and small dogs. But there were always flowers in pink, red, and yellow. She loved red Geraniums and pink roses.

Mom used to make the best homemade biscuits with sausage gravy. And I didn’t even like gravy, but hers made the difference. She also made a mean fresh apple pie.

She loved music, especially country. Dad, on the other hand, preferred jazz. One of the few things that they diverged on.

We always had a dog growing up. The first I recall was a white and brown spotted stray, Posey, who had three puppies (Prince, Princess, and Ace). We girls named them. Then there was a miniature poodle named Pierre and after him, I believe Cotton came to live with them. The folks loved to watch TV with the fur babies in their lap, so many puppies followed over the years.

My family loved to gamble and play cards. We had a reunion in the ’80s and Mom lost some cash to my husband and was totally irritated with him for beating her. We had another reunion in 2014 and what I remember most was the laughter. Our family knows how to laugh and have a good time.

When my youngest grandson was sixteen he came to visit. We took Mom out for lunch and I was so proud of that boy. He was engaging, polite, funny and my Mom was so impressed she called me later to tell me. I was so proud.

My folks lived their lives to the fullest.