Remembrances of Mother, A Year Later

This week our family remembers the fourth week of July 2014.

Last year Mother observed her 96th birthday on July 23. She died unexpectedly on July 28, five days later. This post will commemorate this milestone in two ways: cards sent to me along with images of Mom’s intimate space upstairs.

Two Cards

A vintage baby card, sent to my parents when I was born

1941_Marian_Baby Card_outside+inside

Card from Dick and Ruth Sauder. Richard was one of the Florida bunch that stayed in close contact even after his bachelor trip with Daddy. They wished me a long and happy life, bless their hearts!

 

MomBirthdayCard2014

I was born the day after Mother’s birthday. Her last birthday card to me, 2014.

 

Some Images

At the top of the stairs to the left, there was a little room Mom called the hallway, which seems a misnomer because it was square rather than long and narrow as hallways usually are. It connected the upstairs landing to the family clothes’ closet whose door had a crystal knob. I always thought it was one of the prettiest things about the room because it showered rainbows on the walls when the sun shone in at a perfect slant.

A dressing room of sorts, this small area was a repository for Mother’s own nostalgia: a framed family photograph, old books, the odd china piece on top of the Sheridan chest of drawers.

At right angles to the closet door stood this chest of drawers with a photo of my great-grandmother Sadie Landis’ family before she became a Metzler and a mother. And there’s that ceramic green vase. It’s perfect for displaying iris or gladiolus, but I didn’t grab it when we cleared out Mom’s house. How to take it on the plane? Where would I put it?

GreenFanVase

 

And under the chest, Mother’s slippers

SlippersMom

Beside the chest, her Compact vintage vacuum cleaner, a blue bullet of an animal easy to pull around the house even at her age. Her old Singer treadle sewing used to sit in the opposite corner under a window.

VacuumCleaner

On the closet door what remained of her shoes

MomShoes

Then below hooks with nightgowns and robes. A girdle with stays used to stand stiffly in the corner below the lingerie to air out. Sometimes a few cleaning products were stored there too. . .

Mom'sNightgown

The house has been sold. These images exist only in memory now and in our e-files on my desktop. Powerful images – how they linger . . .

Web_EmilyDickinsonHouse

Remembrance also has a side, where other memories sneak in . . . .

HouseWindowTree

Is there a room in your childhood home that holds special memories? A secret niche you called your own?

Coming next: Do you Like to Color?

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54 thoughts on “Remembrances of Mother, A Year Later

  1. Good morning, Marian! What a lovely post. I love the photos of your childhood home tied together with your memories–the Dickinson poem is perfect.
    I love old houses that have unique features like that “hallway” room. I know exactly what you mean by the crystal door knobs, too. I’ve been in homes that have had them. I can’t remember if they were any places I’ve lived in though! 🙂
    When I was a teenager, I had the attic room in our big, old house (with its own bathroom). It was definitely a bit of a hideaway.

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      1. It was a big, old house. It was a great place to get away from family drama when I was a teen–and I did read and do homework there. When I was home alone though, I sometimes sat downstairs to read or to watch TV in “the den.”

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  2. Thanks for putting last year’s timetable together–I didn’t know your birthday was the day after hers, and came right between her birthday celebration and then her passing. Wow, a lot of memories for sure, a year later. How wonderful to have these photos of “Mother’s things in place” and I’m sure seeing the robes especially evoke even her scent and touch and softness/fragility of elderly skin. You are fortunate to have good memories, though they produce an ache, I’m sure.

    You mentioned an unusual name for that space as a hall. In our upstairs farmhouse, in order to have four bedrooms, Mom and Dad designated a bedroom in the “hall” which was actually a large room with the stairway opening into it, and all three real bedrooms (with closed doors) on 2 sides. Thus for a time, the hall was my room, but I hated it, absolutely no privacy or special feel of “my room.” Eventually I got to share a better room with a sister, and finally, my own room as Mom and Dad took over the bedroom where Grandpa and Grandma lived.

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    1. Thank you for adding some sensory details to my vision of the room here. The room you describe in your childhood home sounds like what some would call a loft. The lack of privacy was probably the worst feature of this space. There was a lot of sharing of bedrooms as the home place had three bedrooms for four children and our parents. None of us ever had a bedroom to ourselves until the older ones went to college.

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  3. Has it been a year already? What a wonderful post in remembrance of your dear mother. Did another family member take the green vase home? The cards are precious. It´s so good you have photos and fond memories. Thanks for sharing them with us.

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    1. The green vase has been sold, but now I’m having second thoughts about it. Sometimes I wonder about all of this sharing, but my readers seem to appreciate it, for it often compels them to reach back in time too. In addition, all of our reminiscences online (for example, the reunion with your Canadian family) serve as historical markers for future generations.

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      1. I, for one, really enjoy the reminiscences. Your posts will often trigger a memory for me. I don´t live in the past but I want it to be remembered. I am sure the green vase has found a perfect home. (and you have a picture of it!)

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        1. In anticipation of moving to a smaller space in our elder years, Cliff and I are trying to down-size. Our mantra is: If we have a digital image (especially of photographs), we can recycle or pass on some photos. Mementos of the past, like the green vase, are a different story though. Thank you for consoling me with the idea that the vase has found a perfect home. . . maybe with a young person who has eclectic taste and likes nostalgia – ha!

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  4. I’m also amazed that a year has passed since your Mother’s death Marian. How lovely to have these nostalgic memories of time and place. I’ll be thinking of you and her on her anniversary tomorrow and your birthday on Friday. Many flashes are passing by as I think of all the places I’ve lived in. Right now I’m remembering my lovely study in our old home, such a lovely space leading out into the garden – but, if truth be told, (and I’m telling it only because you asked) the loo in one of our homes when I was a teenager was a refuge for me, away from doing the dishes in the kitchen …

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    1. My study leads to a garden too, and I disappear there for fresh air and change of scenery.

      Your last comment tickled my funny bone. One of my sisters used to dash off directly from the kitchen table to the bathroom and try to stay there until she was discovered missing in action.

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  5. Marian — I love the beautiful tapestry you wove here with the photos and your memories. I especially enjoyed, “…whose door had a crystal knob. I always thought it was one of the prettiest things about the room because it showered rainbows on the walls when the sun shone in at a perfect slant.”

    Where has the year gone? It seems like only months. Yet how easily we can reach back in time. My favorite spot as a child was two giant spools (my dad worked at a gas and electric company so they were easy for him to get) stacked on top of each other. He made a little “door” in the floor-level one, and the top one (my tower) had a “look-out hole” from which I could spy on people (my hero at the time was Harriet the Spy!).

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    1. Harriet the Spy! And now as grownups, we willingly spy on each other regularly each week.

      I have to think the giant spools is a metaphor for the imagination your dad was igniting in you. Simple things were great for play back in the day. I remember our own kids liked manipulating big cardboard boxes or even playing with pots and pans. To this day, plastic toys seem a little fake to me.

      Thank you for commenting here and sending a sweet tweet too!

      Liked by 1 person

  6. Oh Marian, I am thinking of you on this first anniversary of your sweet mother’s death. Clearly, you are keeping her spirit alive through this beautiful and loving tribute to her and all her treasures. Such lovely photos and precious memories preserved for all time. You are leaving a treasure chest for your grandchildren and generations to come. Thank you for sharing it all with us.

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    1. A treasure chest! No one has used that phrase before, but so it is. It will be hard to drive by our family home next week and see the house with new residents — and no Mother!

      Yes, Kathy, I do realize that my tapping the keys here is helping to keep her spirit alive. Your thoughts are a great comfort to me now. Thank you, heaps!

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  7. Your poignant post arrived after I just spent three days in Lancaster County last weekend. I slept in my own childhood bedroom, now newly renovated (and much improved!) in Forgotten Seasons Bed and Breakfast. I love the Emily Dickinson poem above. You found one I did not remember, and it fits perfectly.

    When I’m with Mother I hope she lives as long as yours did. I dread the day when I too see all the things she left behind without her presence.

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    1. I just visited your website and left a comment there. Well, 4-5 suggestions actually. Cliff and I both think the lovely plum bedspread in the photo file could play a role in the new look of your website. Of course, that is your decision.

      One year later: We don’t have Mother’s presence, but her spirit remains with us, a thought your comment and others have pressed home to me today. Such comfort!

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  8. I know she’s smiling down from heaven in awe of the wonderful daughter and family she has. We became close to her, too, through your posts. Such treasures you have in all these reminders, but mostly in the lifetime of cherished memories.

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  9. Beautiful post, Marian. A touching tribute to your relationship, your memories, and paying homage to the heart of your mother. The last picture especially struck a chord with me. My grandmother’s house was not that large, but the attic was a clean, unfinished space where twin beds, cots and sleeping bags could sleep a dozen of us at a time and still have room for board games and coloring on butcher block paper while we took turns reading aloud from children’s poetry books.
    Thank you for both the picture and this post.

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    1. How wonderful that there is so much gold to mine from our childhood experiences. The setting you describe reminds me of the C. S. Lewis storybook children (x 4). And the “coloring on butcher block paper” reminds me of your recent post, which so inspired me I plan to use the theme in my post Saturday. Don’t you just love it when sparks fly like this!

      Again, thanks for your comment here and for sharing your inspiration always.

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  10. I love every tiny section of jigsaw you place that gives us the wonderful imagery of you lovely mum . I feel I could draw up a chair , share a cuppa and let her invite me into her world and I have never met her .
    I am an outdoor person , so for me it’s to be a tree house my dad built for me when I was ten ish . Now please don’t imagine anything grand , it was anything but . Just a brace with the tr

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    1. A cliche, but it’s the thought that counts: your dad thought enough of you to follow through with the idea at just the right time in your girlish experience. It doesn’t have to be grand to be wonderful!

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  11. You have me in two parts again sorry . Just a base , half sides and the branches did the rest. I loved it and it attracted all my friends . We had many a tea party there I can tell . It wasn’t high off the ground , just a few steps up …but it was my world . I am actually planning a writing hut in my garden for next year …nothing grand , just my space , and I ll dedicate it to my dad .
    Cherryx

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    1. A writing hut! Oh, my goodness. You MUST send us a photo of it. When it’s done, let me know and you could email me a photo which I could post. Online bloggers are always asking for pictures of writers’ creative spaces. Yours would top all!

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  12. The pictures you put on your blog add a special touch to your words. My how long have you saved that birth announcement?? That is special 🙂 Your mother lived a long and full life..
    I enjoy your posts……..is it hot in Florida?? It is very hot here in South Alabama. So grateful for air conditioners 🙂

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  13. I’m glad you enjoy the photo journal, which is what my blog is coming to be. The birth announcement? It was tucked into my baby book, which I’ve kept all these years.

    Yes, it’s very hot in Florida. I’m sure the heat index is way above 100 degrees today. Even with the sea breeze, it’s usually hot and humid in Jacksonville until early October. Yes, it would be hard to adjust to no AC, which seems to be a necessity, not a luxury these days.

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  14. Beautiful memories and photos, Marian. Each photo does trigger beautiful memories.

    My favorite room was in my parents’ first home – a two-story, plus attic and cellar. It was the dining room. Not because I loved to eat – even though I did. It was because it had a window seat by windows that overlooked a lot next to ours. I remember once that neighborhood kids came up to it to talk to me when I was down with a cold or the flu. (When I think of that spot now, the movie “Arsenic and Old Lace” pops up and I just have to laugh.) 😉

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  15. Lovely to have the memories and keepsakes to keep our memories alive Marian. I can’t believe it’s been a year already that you lost your dear mom. A beautiful tribute. 🙂

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    1. Yes, on Tuesday, it will have been a year since Mother passed away. Yet her sweet spirit is still with us, and for that we are thankful. Thanks for marking this anniversary with your caring comment, Debby.

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  16. What a lovely tribute to your mother. My mother has one of those vases, like your green one, but it is blue.

    My favorite place was the bedroom I shared with my sister, Petronia. It faced out to the east side of the house so we always had the sun coming in in the morning. We had those old thick white pull down shades on a roller with the dangle loop to pull it up and down, and over them we had sheer curtains for which we made crocheted tie -backs. When it got colder my mother put up a second layer of heavier drapes to keep out the cold.

    It still was never that warm in winter though, when it became really cold. We would put our next days clothes under the covers in a bundle at our feet and then wiggle into them, still trying to stay covered up when morning came.

    We shared a double bed all the way through high school. Our quilt was made by our maternal great-grandmother for my mother. We could have had our own rooms as the house had plenty of space, but we liked it the way it was. We also shared a dresser and there was a small walk in closet for clothes, toys, books, etc. We each had a small cedar chest made by our maternal grandfather, and we each had our own drop leaf desk given to us by our parents.

    The bed and dresser and mirror are still in the room; we each have our desk and chest at our houses now. My daughter and her family live there now and it is used as a guest room. The bed is now covered with a yarn-tied patch quilt, the first quilt my oldest girl made. We don’t use that other quilt anymore. My mother took it to the museum one day to be examined and they dated it and identified the pattern and sewed a little label on it and entered it into their record book. For now it is rolled and wrapped in tissue paper and in the back of the linen closet.

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    1. Your descriptions are so vivid I can picture it all in my mind’s eye. Since your house had plenty of room for separate bedrooms for you and your sister, I’m guessing you chose companionship with your sister over privacy. And I’m sure the extra body heat in the winter didn’t hurt either.

      Thank you for this lovely bit of nostalgia, Athanasia.

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  17. This is filled with love and poignant images. Thank you, Marian. I didn’t have a childhood home because my mother loved to move–at least every two years. But I think of my Grandparent’s home in rural Missouri with the kitchen piled high with fresh baked pies and breads and the small bedroom with a low slanting ceiling, a chamber pot in a bedside cabinet, and a creaky old bed where I slept with Grandma when I spent the night.

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