Friday, January 16, 2009

Life, The Dash Between Two Dates

When you get right down to it life is only the dash between two dates, when you were born and when you die and the time span is really as short as that dash. No morbidity here though just a small glimpse into the dashes of people who have helped put a dot on my dash.

It's difficult to put things in order so let's just go with the hodge podge as things come to mind. I definitely have to start with my parents and their undying love for each other.

You can see the love in their eyes. My mother is 88 now and relives her memories of happy times through all the photos she took over the years. Her short term memory sends everyone into a frenzy because the same question could be asked 50 times within an hour. We've resorted to giving her a sticky pad and putting the answer on there. It's not to be cruel but she becomes very upset because she knows she forgets. This way there is a small bit of independence. We can just give her a cue and she checks the sticky note.

For Christmas I made her, what I thought was going to be one album, of her children from birth to 1960. It turned out to be 3 printed albums that she cherishes each and every day. I didn't realize how much it affected me until I was almost done. I never realized how poor we were materially but we were anything but poor emotionally.

I think it is safe to say we were a Donna Reed type family. It was a good safe feeling. Today I work with children who carry so much baggage and are clueless to the feelings I knew as a child.

I was the fifth generation to be born and raised in our town of Woodbury, New Jersey. My husband hates it when I tell people that but I'm proud of it.

Woodbury has changed though since the days I grew up there. I know for a fact that people who travel on Logan Street and come to the intersection at Morris Street can't read. They never stop at the stop sign. I also know that drugs are prevalent throughout the neighborhoods. That's because the guy in charge of the neighborhood watch told me and on my mother's street there is quite a bit of activity.

So I think I'll stick with the happy memories I have of a great little town that I knew.

This was my mother's second cousin and the owner of the first car in Woodbury. She is parked out front of the original Newton Hotel. It's long gone now. She had a very interesting life as her family was very wealthy. I guess they had to be for her to own the first car. Even better though she married a very prominent doctor in town and they literally traveled the world. Eventually they moved to Philadelphia where we would visit them a couple of times a year.

They were very much in love but her husband learned that he had hardening of the arteries and committed suicide. I was too little to remember any of that. However my Granny Grimes, as we called her, continued to invite us a few times a year for dinner. Oh, what memories!

We had to dress to the nines and be on our best behaviors. Every manner we had been taught was to be used. My mother was better than Emily Post.

North Philadelphia back in the day was a very nice place to live. Across the street from their place was a restaurant called Fishers or it was Fischers; I don't remember. However when we arrived at their eloquent glass front door that had to be at least ten feet tall, we were greeted by their house maid, Anna. I loved her. She had a laugh that made everyone laugh and she took good care of my Granny Grimes.

We would sit and chat for a while and Anna would serve drinks and h'orderves. It always seemed that we just finished everything when Anna would come back in and announce that dinner was ready.

The dining room was gigantic with the largest table I ever saw. Once seated and napkins placed in our laps Anna would enter with the first course. We would no sooner be finished with that then she would come in clear the table and bring the main course. Again once finished she somehow knew when to come back, clear the table and bring dessert.

I don't remember how old I was but this really puzzled me and I must have asked "How do she know?" :) The trick was that my Granny Grimes had a buzzer under the rug by her foot and when we were finished our courses she would buzz Anna. From that time on I was allowed to slide to the floor and push the buzzer.

Isn't it amazing how you remember the little things in life?

I've been really pressing my mother lately to identify and tell us about our pictorial family tree. Fortunately her long term memory is still pretty much in tact. The kids played Continental with her the other night. It took a little bit but she remembered how to play and kicked their butts.

I'm getting ready now to make her birthday gift. The first DVD I ever did was a slideshow of her military years with my father. She always claimed that was the happiest time of her life. Since she doesn't know how to use the DVR I'm going to make her another book.

My father was a bombardier and my mother traveled with him. Below was his best friend. Oh the stories that go with that friendship that lasted forever.

Pipes were the thing back then. I don't recall ever seeing them without their cherry tobacco and pipes.

Time to take a break from this short trip down memory lane. Oh, I did make this card from one of my father's pictures. It was great when the gas prices were so high. Check out the price it was back then.

Gas Pump Thinking of You Card card
Gas Pump Thinking of You Card

Well, have a Firecrackin Great Day!

1 comment:

Richard Rizzo said...

What an excellent post, it brings back memories of my own families past history and I must admit i like looking at nostalgic photographs of all kinds and you have some wonderful ones posted here.