Saturday, August 15, 2009
Ode to Mommy and Daddy
Happy 79th birthday to my mother (tomorrow, August 16). It also happens to be my parents' wedding anniversary (the 62nd). My mother was just turning 17 when my parents married. That is amazing to me. She was born in 1930 and my father in 1927.
Those were the years of The Great Depression. I'm not sure they had a sense of the economic situation in the country at the time because they were born into it. I think that has a lot to do with what they instilled in me. I think that is why it was natural in our family not to focus on things, but instead using the imagination, and spending lots of time reading.
Neither one of them is well educated in the conventional sense. They did not go to college. My father did not complete high school, although a few years ago the Salem Indiana School Board issued him an honorary degree because of his service to the country.
He joined the Navy during WWII. He didn't see action but was on a ship, and I've heard some amazing stories about what goes on with sailors on those ships, e.g. the ceremony that takes place when a sailor crosses the equator for the first time.
Not being educated didn't mean a whole lot in their lives. My father was skilled and worked for a radio/television place, then in civil service at Ft. Harrison, and then part time again in an appliance store up until a few years ago. He used his hands. And he is smart. He should have been an engineer. He's one of those naturally handy guys who could fix anything.
My mother was born in Salem, Indiana. My father was born nearby in a town you usually can't find on an Indiana map, Fredericksburg. Both were born at home. My father first spotted my mother at the Salem roller skating rink. He was a sailor on leave and was too shy to ask her to skate, so a friend asked her for him. He was a sailor in uniform. Need I say more? My mother wasn't too shy to say yes.
So they were married on my mother's 17th birthday. My sister was born less than a year later, followed by my older brother, me, and my younger brother...girl, boy, girl, boy...that's us.
My mother stayed at home, my father worked....sometimes two jobs. She did kid duty. Dad came home, ate dinner, and rested. He had the boys involved in community sports. There weren't community sports for girls back then, so we girls hung out with mom. Even if they weren't formally educated, they saw that we were. They let the school and teachers do their job. There weren't helicopter parents in those days. If we caused problems in school, we'd answer for it. I don't think any of us ever had to answer because we behaved. It's just what you did. My mother was friends with other mothers, and they were in the PTA. We came home to eat lunch and went back to school in the afternoon. We attended the neighborhood school and walked there and back home.
I mentioned my father should have been an engineer. Well my mother should have been a nurse. Dad has had some pretty major health problems for around 27 years off and on. We call him the Everready Bunny. We thank God he's gotten through it all so far and has been around to see all of his grandchildren born, and many of them all the way through high school and into college. My mother continues to take care of all of his needs. He's spoiled, and he knows it I think.
So today (actually it is tomorrow but I'll be celebrating with the family, not blogging) I honor them both for all they have done for me, for my brothers and sister, and for our children. I love them both more than I can express. Happy 79th birthday mom, and happy 62nd anniversary mom and dad!