Mom’s Birthday and Spring

 

Today I enjoyed working outside on this warm, sunny beautiful day raking up more leaves. There are woods that surround our property and it seems to be an endless task of raking leaves and picking up twigs and branches that have fallen throughout the winter.

Today was a good day to start the spring cleaning. I find working in the yard to be therapeutic and it is special to me because I feel close to my mom when I am working outside because she enjoyed it.

She has been gone from us for ten years now and today she would have turned 91 years old.

Mom enjoyed getting her hands dirty digging in the dirt and planting flowers. She was diligent in getting on her knees to pull weeds and dig up dandelions. Before Dad retired she was always willing to use hedge clippers to trim the bushes and push the lawn mower and work as hard as him.

Every morning in the spring and summer Mom and Dad would sit outside in the comfort of their backyard enjoying their morning coffee planning their day and surveying the yard. I cherish that memory.

What hobby did your parents have that they thoroughly enjoyed? Preserving the legacies of your parents will prevent them from ever being forgotten and future descendants will be able to read these life stories and understand their family heritage. Pull out your laptop or grab paper and pen and start Keeping Your Memories of your parents starting with the following questions:

• In what ways are you like your parent(s)? And not like your parent(s)?
• What did you enjoy doing with your parent(s)?
• What was your proudest moment of your parent(s)?
• What was the most valuable lesson you learned from your parent(s)?
• What is the one thing you most want people to remember about your parent(s)?

 

 

 

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Mom’s Recipe for Comfort

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I. Feel. Guilty.

Today is the 10th anniversary of my mother’s passing. But for the first time it was not the first thing I thought about today.  When it finally popped into my memory later in the day, I felt guilty. It’s not as this anniversary hadn’t been on my thoughts earlier in the week, but today I forgot that it was the anniversary of January 20, 2009 – the day my mother passed.

However, there is not a day that goes by that I don’t think of her. Today it was because I had a taste for her gingerbread cake that she would often make, and so I pulled out her recipe box to find her recipe and baked it this morning for me.  While smelling the sweet aroma of that molasses baking in the oven, I recalled one specific memory I have of her gingerbread cake.

I was perhaps twelve years old and had walked home from middle school one afternoon on a snowy and frigid day in which could have been any time between January and March in Northwest Indiana.  We only had one car and Dad needed it to drive to work so Mom never picked us up from school no matter what the weather.  We always walked.

But I specifically remember that afternoon when I walked into our warm home I could smell the delicious gingerbread cake she had just pulled out of the oven.  After taking off my winter coat, gloves and boots I went into the kitchen and slid into my seat at the kitchen table and she served me a warm slice of gingerbread with butter on top to melt.  It was warm and delicious!

When I served myself the same way, I felt very close to her.  Perhaps it was good that I didn’t concentrate on her passing but instead on the warm memories that I have, and I don’t need to feel guilty.  She would be happy that I baked this today.

Truth be told…I still wish that she could be sitting here at the table with me eating a portion for herself.

If you have a loved one that you have lost, grab your laptop or paper and pen and start Keeping Your Memories of that loved one.  It is a helpful therapy while you are grieving.

  • What legacy did he / she leave with you?
  • What special moments did you share with him / her?

 

 

 

 

A Glimpse of Chicago in 1969/2018

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Dad developed and printed this picture that he snapped with his latest up-to-date Kodak 126 instamatic camera of one of the day trips that Mom planned for Dad’s day off in August 1969.

Mom and I are standing on Wacker Avenue overlooking the Chicago River with the Chicago Sun Times building (built in 1958) in the background and just to the left of the building are the rounded Marina City Towers (built in 1964) barely depicted in the picture.

Fast forward 49 years later on this August 2018 morning and see the view taken from approximately the same place. On the way to work I stopped in the same area and snapped numerous pictures with my iPhone camera until I found the right angle. I filtered through, deleted the unnecessary pictures and then emailed to me the one I needed.

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The concrete fencing and Marina City Towers are the only two items in the picture that remain the same. Sadly Mom and Dad have both passed. I’m not the child anymore and, in fact, today am 17 years older than Mom was in this picture.

In 1973 an additional building with 52 floors, originally referred to as the IBM Building was built behind the Marina Towers. The Sun Times Building was razed in 2004 and replaced with the Trump Tower with 98 floors completed in 2009.

I have preserved these memories and perhaps one day my grandson will take his child to the same location in another 49 years… 2067 … and record additional changes to this area on Wacker Drive.

Pull out your family album and look for a picture of a location that you could go back to today and take another picture of the same location to see what changes have occurred years later. Then pull out your laptop or take paper and pen and start Keeping Your Memories of that special moment.

 

 

Hail to the Queen Family Historian

Marie Sullivan

May is Personal History Awareness Month and what better time to be reminded of recording your family stories before you say, “IF ONLY I HAD DONE THIS SOONER!” So often those words are spoken when it is too late to remedy the situation. In my case I deeply regret waiting too long to videotape the life story of my dear 98 year old cousin, Marie, officially my “second cousin once removed.” Six years ago I traveled to Ohio to visit with her in a nursing home where she was cared for and was only able to share minimal stories with us. She passed away two weeks later.

Marie had been the “Queen Family Historian” in this branch of my family tree. Fortunately, I met her a little over twenty years ago, and she gave me a vast amount of information and stories of my ancestors who settled in a small town in Ohio in the early 1800’s. She loved being the family storyteller of the Roquet, Roquette, and Rockey clan.

I have another cousin, officially my third cousin, who also knows the importance of Keeping Your Memories, and she has records that she has shared with me also. Marie’s crown as Queen Family Historian has been passed on down to us. My hope is that there will be someone in our next generation to be in line that will continue the interest of our ancestors as to where they came from, what they experienced and where we are headed.

If you have a family member who is the King or Queen Family Historian of your family and has endlessly told the same family stories at every family gathering, NOW is the time to get them recorded and begin Keeping Your Memories because one day when you are finally interested in those stories, IT WILL BE TOO LATE. If you are unable to find the time to do this, check out my website www.keepingyourmemories.com, and I will be able to assist you in preventing what I experienced.

Preserving Memories of My Dear Father

Sifting through a box of pictures I found a few that best depicted my dad in honor of his 92nd birthday today. He simply was a provider, encourager and loving father.

A picture he took of their backyard in 1970. He was a hard worker and loved working in his yard and took pride in it. He also enjoyed taking pictures and often tried different angles.

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Dad bowling at Stardust in Hammond, Indiana wearing his typical attire in 1996. Dad and Mom both enjoyed bowling and often had the grandkids bowling with them.

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Dad at the kitchen table eating lunch and watching TV with a grandson while Mom is at her traditional location at the kitchen sink in 1997. This is another traditional picture that each of my dad’s grandchildren can place himself or herself in as they remember sitting at the table eating with Papa. It also shows the cabinets that he refinished and the light over the kitchen table that he installed. On the counter is the coffee pot and food processor that my mother used daily.

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Mom and Dad at Indiana Dunes in 1998 with Dad taping his grandkids on the beach with his video camera. They frequented the Dunes in every season warm or cold. They loved hiking and enjoyed the tranquility of nature.

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Dad in their basement blowing at the candles on his 76th birthday cakes. This picture is a true depiction of what was constant in their life. Mom by his side as usual. Dad’s pen in his pocket. And the traditional style that Mom always used when hosting her family dinners: a white table covering unrolled and cut for the long tables, the traditional white paper plates for cake and the same clear glasses that she always filled with ice for pop.

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Dad has physically been gone from us for eleven years but memories flood my heart with the pictures and cherished memories that we have. And with recording these memories for others to read after we are long gone, he will be known for future generations.

What memories of your dad or mom come to mind when you think of them on his or her birthday? Grab a paper and pen or open up your laptop and start Keeping Your Memories of your father or mother.

  • What is your favorite childhood memory of your dad or mom?
  • What is the best advice you got from your dad or mom?
  • What do you remember most about your dad or mom’s appearance?
  • What pleasant smells do you associate with dad or mom?
  • What sounds do you associate with your dad or mom?

http://www.keepingyourmemories.com

 

That The Next Generation Might Know…

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My Grandma and Mom – 1969

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My Grandson – 2018

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

This weekend I have the mixed emotions of sadness and joy. Sadness with missing my mother who passed nine years ago and joy with the birth of my first grandchild who was born nine days ago. Mom would have been 89 years old and Carson is nine days old. Mom died in her home on January 20, 2009 and Carson was born in a hospital on January 12, 2018. Mom would have loved this little guy.

It was amazing to see this tiny 5 pounds, 9 ounces body emerge into my world. Since this precious bundle arrived five weeks early, he was placed in NICU to further develop and be monitored. He is doing well and will be coming home soon.

With not being able to see Carson, I have been concentrating on the time when my daughter and son-in-law bring him home. I am looking forward to holding him and loving him endlessly. As a grandmother now, I think of how my mother and maternal grandmother influenced me.

Grandma listened to me, and I remember her speaking softly. I hope to do the same.

And as Mom let my children retreat to her home for time to themselves, the door will always be open for my grandchildren. I’ll always have popcorn in the cabinets and paint, glitter, glue, crayons, markers, drawing paper, colored paper, felt, and scissors in the closet. He will be free to run through the hallways in the house, and he can help me in the kitchen during the holidays when I’m baking cookies and fruitcake.

I look forward to spending time with this little boy when he helps me pull weeds, plant flowers and rake leaves. We will have endless fun outside tossing a wiffle ball for Carson to hit with his wiffle bat that we will keep on the porch. It will be fun again to have colored chalk and outline his little body on the driveway and let him chalk in facial features, hair, and clothes to it. And when he learns to ride a bike, we will have an extra one here for him.

As he grows, I will share with him the stories of my parents and ancestors. I hope to influence him to start journaling with drawing pictures at a young age and advancing to short sentences when he gets older. Most importantly, I will share with him my endless faith in God.

My mother has physically been gone for nine years but her spirit is with me daily, and I cherish her dearly. She, along with my grandmother, will never be forgotten because as my grandmother and mother loved their grandchildren and taught me by example, it is now my privilege to do the same.

Do you have special memories of your parents and grandparents?  Now is the time to open up your laptop or grab paper and pen and start Keeping Your Memories of them to pass on to the next generation in your family.

  • How close did your grandparents live to you?
  • What kind of home did they live in? Describe the house and rooms.
  • What special food did you look forward to when you were at your grandparents?
  • What one-on-one activity did you do with your grandparents?
  • What chores did you do for your grandparents when you visited?

 

http://www.keepingyourmemories.com

 

In Memory of Delainey Belle

Whenever I see a butterfly, I say hello to Delainey Belle.  My grandniece, Delainey, was born November 15, 2010September Delainey Belle Picture. Sadly, she left us five years ago. Time moves too quickly.

My memories of this beautiful little girl began seven years ago about this time. I was introduced to her in the NICU at the local hospital where she was born. My heart melted when I held this beautiful little girl with ten tiny fingers and ten tiny toes for the first time.

This sweet little girl was born with Trisomy 18, a chromosomal abnormality, and had major obstacles to face. Although Delainey had a physical abnormality, I prefer to focus on her above normal spirit of perseverance, strength and love.

This girl had the will to withstand numerous hospital stays and the strength to endure the poking and prodding from strangers and endless tests.

She magically sprinkled love, togetherness and unity whether in her home or wherever her mom and dad took her.  She brought her Mommy’s and Daddy’s friends and family together.

We felt a wise old soul inside her small body as she communicated her love, joy and understanding through her eyes.

Thankfully Delainey Belle has never totally left us, and she will forever be remembered. My favorite pictures of her are when she is speaking to us through her eyes.