Mother’s Sky View: The Beautiful City

This week two years ago Mother was snatched from our world just five days after her 96th birthday. Late on a Monday evening, July 28, 2014, she was transported into a new and better land.

Mother lived on a dairy farm in the Manheim – Lititz area of Pennsylvania. When she married my father Ray, she moved about 12 miles west, still in Lancaster County. Like many Mennonite couples in the 1940s, they honeymooned in Niagara Falls, New York, where I most likely was conceived.

Over the years, she visited the Philadelphia Flower Show and strolled through Longwood Gardens exclaiming, “Oh, my, such beautiful flowers we saw!”

When my sisters and I studied at Eastern Mennonite College, she and daddy drove to Harrisonburg, Virginia several times, back then a four-hour drive to the Shenandoah Valley. “My, look at the mountains in the distance – so pretty,” she said.

Mother seemed happy to be a homebody. She never seemed curious about seeing world capitals as her daughters were. Traveling around the United States in five weeks with a friend as I did once would seem incomprehensible to her. “Why would I want to do that?” I can hear her say.

But when her first great grandsons were born seven weeks apart in 2003, I was able to goad her to fly to Chicago where our son and daughter lived.

MomMarianHancock

Viewing the city from the Hancock Building, she sat in awe at the vast expanse of skyscrapers.

MomViewingChicago

These photos recall pleasant memories and now re-confirm in my heart and mind her citizenship in a heavenly world.

In her life on earth, she was confident she would one day live in a Beautiful City full of brilliant light and everlasting joy.

Hebrews 11:10

For s/he looked for a city, which hath foundations, whose builder and maker is God.

Mother often sang about heaven at the top of her lungs in front of the kitchen stove, making breakfast for her children before school. Her voice, always off key, sang about a beautiful city I imagine she could visualize as she scrambled eggs with shakes of pepper and filled cups with cocoa, each with a dollop of butter.

We miss you, Mom!

 

magnoliasCRISTA

July 23, 1918 – July 28, 2014


Mother kissing her great grandson Patrick, held by Grandpa Cliff
Mother embraces her great grandson Patrick, held by Grandpa Cliff, 2004

 

Coming next: Give and Take with Cake

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Once Upon a Time: The Tale of a Snow Globe

Announcing the WINNER of Blush: A Mennonite Girl Meets a Glittering World

And the Winner is (drum roll, please!) Carolyn Stoner! Thank you one and all for participating so heartily by commenting on my review of Shirley Showalter’s memoir BLUSH. Carolyn, you will receive your copy of Shirley’s memoir shortly.

*  *  *  *  *

Once upon a time there was a little boy named Curtis, who lived on Greenfern Lane in a very big city called Jacksonville. His Mommy Sarah and Daddy Joel invited his grandparents to feast on a wonderful meal with them one day.

While they were eating home-made spaghetti and telling stories around the table, his NaNa Marian told a new story, “The Tale of the Snow Globe.” Now when Curtis was new born, his Great Grandmother Longenecker came to visit him in the big city of Chicago. She wanted to see her new grandchild for the very first time. Of course, she had visited towns and villages and the cities of Lancaster and Harrisburg many times. She had even gone as far as Niagara Falls on her honeymoon. But she had never seen a big, big city with dozens of skyscrapers.

And then Great Grandma told how she went up, up, up many, many of stories onto the top of the Hancock building, where she could look out and see the Sears tower, the Amoco building and beyond. For a very long time, she stared and stared at the giant buildings and the miniature cars and buses below. Then she went to the gift shop and bought colorful souvenirs: tile coasters, postcards, and a beautiful snow globe with white flakes drifting down on the skyscrapers of Chicago she had seen. Her special souvenir was the snow globe, of course, which sat on a table by her telephone where she could see it day or night.

One day her special prize disappeared. She looked and looked, and had other people look with her, but the snow globe was nowhere to be found. Who could have taken it? Her cleaning lady? Visitors? Was there a break in she wasn’t aware of? The loss and the scary thoughts made Great Grandma very, very sad, NaNa Marian said.

At that very moment, Curtis said to his Daddy, “May I be excused?” After his Daddy said “Yes,” Curtis hurried into his bedroom and came back with his own Chicago snow globe, a larger version of his Great Grandma’s. “Here,” he said. “She can have this!”

“But, Curtis, you brought this down from Chicago to Jacksonville when you were only two. This is a special thing. Are you sure you don’t want to keep it?”

“Oh, I know, but I want Great Grandma to have it. It will make her feel better. You can take it to Pennsylvania in your suitcase the next time you visit her.” And that is exactly what happened.

Shock and Awe
Shock and Awe

And then tears  . . .

snowglobe3

Appreciation too

snowglobe1

Curtis: Look of Pride
Curtis: Look of Pride

And finally, a grateful Great-Grandmother!

MomSnowGlobe

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