11/01/2004

Mommy's Place IS at HOME


Yes, a Mommy's Place is at home and so many times I wish I still had mine around to share with her the wonderful family I have and the many times we've had together.

But, alas, mine passed away back in January 1972 from ovarian cancer at the tender age of 45. I was married in 1970 and had one daughter and age 1-1/2 and pregnant with another who was born January 3, of 1972 only days before my mother's passing on the 12th of January, so she never got to see and know my children very much.

My mother, Jeannine had a sad life. She was born in 1926 in Sudbury Ontario Canada when her mother was in her late 30's because her mother had spent the time to nurse her own mother with the same cancer. Right after my mother she also had my Aunt Yvette and I understand my mother and her sister were quite close.

After her mother's passing, her father tried to raise the girls the best he could, but I understand the early 1930's was a tough time for everyone. He had taken on a job as a logger, and had to bring the girls to the logging camp in the summer in order to work. I understand that the girls got lice and generally had a rough life that year. He later worked for the railroad and had to travel a lot out of town to make a living. He died while on one of those trips in Montreal from contracting cerebral Meningitis. Being that it was very contagious, I understand he had to be buried there quickly. That left my mother and her sister orphans at the tender ages of 6 and 5!

I supposed that nobody in the family was able to take in the kids and help raise them at the time, so my mother and her sister went to a Catholic orphanage and lived a very depraved life with no love or hugs or Christmas presents, and very strict catholic nuns running their lives. The only thing my mother ever shared with me about that time was when the orphanage caught fire during their stay, my Mom and her sister hidden in a closet in fright and firemen fortunately found them in time and saved them.

Mom and her sister lived there until they were about 17 and 16, when two Aunts on her Mother's side took them in, each to a different Aunt, but at least still together in the same town.

The Aunt who took my Mom already had several children herself but was kind enough to take one more on. At least she was again surrounded with loving family around her, who saw that she was dressed properly and developed into one beautiful young woman.

She eventually moved with that family to Detroit during War time and left her Sister in Sudbury. She found a job in one of the skyscrapers downtown running an elevator. She was able to get a room of her own from a old family friend who owned an apartment building in River Rouge becoming an independent woman. She called that old family friend Aunty Bert, even though they were not actually related.

Things were looking up for her, and that's when my Mom met my Dad, in a dance hall in Detroit called the Greystone Ballroom. They had what I think of as her great romance and she fell in love with a handsome prince charming who had come into her life and changed it forever for her.

I guess hardships during the War caused her to loose her job downtown, and because she had no money to keep up her rent, Aunty Bert told her she would have to leave her building and find somewhere else to live. That's when my Dad, begged his Mother to take in his future wife in their extra bedroom in the attic of his house in Hamtramck until he could afford to marry her and get their own home.

In August, 1948 they were married and honeymooned in Sudbury, taking her little Sister back home from their wedding. I guess that's when I was made, I was born 9 months from then in May.

During that time my mother studied and got her American citizenship. They eventually moved into and upstairs apartment downtown with me as a baby. Later they got their first house in Madison Heights that they both finished together as they bought it as a shell and had to finish the inside themselves. I was 4 going on 5 then, and I still remember many things from that home.

I remember she always threw me wonderful birthday parties with all my friends, something I know she probably never experienced herself. She was always home for me to make me breakfasts and be there when I came home from school.

But,alas, I was a Daddy's girl, and I loved to help Dad either helping him build his first garage, or wheeling a wheelbarrow and digging for a slab for our patio on our second house in Madison Heights. I was always out with Daddy, helping him and getting my hands dirty with him. Later too, I would even be under the car with him if the car needed work and fetching tools for him and learning how things worked. I even became a fisherman at a very young age, and would go out with him like any son would do. We even went out icefishing in the winter, and he would rent a shanty and watch the fish swimming below us, while nice and cozy inside the heated shanty. He would bring a big thermos of coffee with lots of milk to keep us warm inside and sandwiches to fill our bellies. I guess that's why I am so mechanically inclined, because of all that Dad taught me.

Momma was always at home, ready to make a good, simple meal, and I loved her so, but took her for granted I'm afraid in those days. My mother did work some part time jobs to help out my Dad financially occasionally, but she was either working at night, or weekends, when I was not aware she was gone. She was I understand was a good waitress and could make good tips when she worked. She was liked by whomever she worked with.

My little sister, Nancy was born when I was seven and we all had great summer vacations, either going to Sudbury to see family relations or renting cottages on Lake St. Clair or Lake Huron. Once we took a great trip up North in a rented little trailer camper and we circled Lake Superior. We drove up through the Soo Locks and into Canada following the top of Superior through very thick desolate forests, to the meeting of Canada with Wisconsin, then back through the upper peninsula and back down to the lower. What an unforgettable experience that was.

I didn't become really close to Mom until I was in high school and was old enough to drive. I was working weekends in a Nursing home as a nurse's aid and she was working lunch hours in a bowling alley bar as a waitress. I used to drive her to work and sit with her and talk about many things while she folded cloth napkins into bishop's hats for the tables. She would tell me things and I would talk about myself and my work and I found we really made a bond then as two working women.

When I met my husband at 18 he had been married a few months and had a baby boy with his then wife, but they did not get along and he had moved back in with his mother and was seeking a divorce, because he knew she was not right for him. When we became serious, I spent all my free hours with him after work and weekends, and stayed out all hours of the night. My Dad got furious one evening, he did not like me dating a "married" man, even if he was getting a divorce, and because my Daddy was loosing his little girl.
Dad locked the front and back doors and locked up my car into the garage so I could not take it. He had co-signed for me. My husband, Barlow and I went to a motel for the night, and in the morning I went home and packed some of my belongings and clothes and announced that since I couldn't be free to be with my beloved when I wanted then we would just move out to be together. My Mom tried to talk me out of it, but Dad's move of locking me out of my own house was my last straw.

For a while, we visited, and my mother even planned and threw my entire wedding and party for me, for we didn't have the money to throw one ourselves. And I was 8 months pregnant with my first daughter. Mom insisted on taking us and the entire wedding party including my little sister Nancy, my witnesses, beloved Aunt Sally and Uncle Ed to a restaurant for dinner after saying our vows before a justice of the piece in his St.Clair Shores home.

Mom tried to hold the family together, all the while my Dad was seething about the man I picked and the lost of his daughter he loved so much.

Mom threw a beautiful party in their basement the next night for Barlow's sisters. It was a very small wedding party because nobody got the invitations I sent a week before, and if I hadn't called several of them just before the party and checked if they were coming, nobody would have known. Only 3 of his 6 sisters and their husbands could make it.

Dad kept his distance and we kept ours, not visiting too much, until that frightful day that he called me at work and told me that Mom was operated on and was filled with ovarian cancer and had just had a hysterectomy and was in the hospital. That night I went to see her and she was so little and covered in tubes and so weak. I fainted at the sight! My Mom was never so sick in her life.

I was working and raising a daughter in a Detroit apartment on just my salary and my husband's disability income from and industrial broken arm injury and could not be at my Mom's side like I would have wanted to.

For a while, my Mom seemed to get a little better, and she was back home with my little sister. Dad told me that they didn't tell my Mom that she had such a bad case of cancer, but I'm sure she knew. My Dear Aunt Sally would help take Mom for cancer treatments or doctor appointments when my Dad couldn't miss so much work, because he needed to keep up the medical insurance he got from work.

For Christmas 1971, my Mother insisted on my Dad finding me, which he did by calling my Mother-in-law to find me, and inviting us for Christmas Eve. We came and I was astonished to see my Mother had changed from a portly woman to almost a skeleton of only 98 lbs.! She was very weak and almost a shadow of what she once had been. Little did I know that it was her last Christmas.

Right after I came home from having my second daughter I went over their house to show them both my new baby and when I got there, he told me that she was in the hospital again, for some kind of bleeding ulcer and she needed blood donated to replace the blood that they have given her. He took a Polaroid picture to Mom that night of my baby daughter so she at least saw the pic.

Little did I know that Mom passed away during that hospital stay, and I never got to see her and tell her so many things I would have wanted to say, specially how much I did love her and how sorry I was for hurting her and moving out like I did with no regard for her feelings about it. IF I COULD ONLY HAVE ONE MORE CHANCE TO TELL HER ALL THOSE THINGS I SHOULD HAVE TOLD HER SO MANY TIMES AND YEARS AGO, I CAN'T TELL YOU HOW MUCH I REGRET IT! IF ONLY I HAD ONE MORE TIME WITH HER..........

If you still have your parents, hug them and kiss them today, because your never sure that they'll be there tomorrow, and then it's too late to tell them anything.

(I have spent over 3- 1/2 hours writing this, but it has been needed saying and I've had a great cry while doing it, but it was worth every minute of it. Maybe Mom can read this too wherever she is and cry with me because of it. I feel a little better from telling it.)







3 comments:

caroline said...

your mom would be proud of you...i know i am....and i am sure that she knows all and sees all! love ya mom

Rita Xavier said...

I just read (Nov 13) your comment on my blog about the death of my mother and decided to read your blog. If you read my post about my Aunt Betty, you will see how much our thoughts run along the same lines. It is so sad that people have experiences like this in their lives.

Mallard said...

Thanx for this post about your mum and the struggles you both shared in life. It's a happy/sad feeling to read it - thank you for helping me to remember some of the positive things my parents done with me that'd slipped my mind. When my father passed away 8 1/2 years' ago, I said goodbye to him when he was laying in the casket. I didn't heve any negative things to think or feel about my relationship with him. I loved him, and he loved me the best way he knew how to - and I appreciate that. I miss him terribly sometime, especially during the past 3 years's nightmare of seperation and divorce. But, my memories of him are strengthening and positive ones. Thank you. (Sorry - I didn't mean to blab on so much!)

Cyalayta
Mal :o)