Tag Archives: memories

Memories Of My Mom

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Memories Of My Mom

It’s getting close to Mother’s Day so I thought I’d reminisce about my mom. In June it will be twenty-six years since she passed away. I spent days by her bedside in the weeks she lay in ICU fighting for her life. And I also made sure my kids had the opportunity to say goodbye, something I never had experienced when my grandparents died in hospitals.

I do not own a dress. Why not? Don’t all women love to wear dresses. Not this one! My mother always made me wear dresses, and I can still feel those scratchy crinolines more than six decades later.

My mother was an amazing seamstress. She was also talented when it came to knitting and crocheting. Somehow those genes were never passed down to me. And since the Brownie pack I belonged to focused on the above, I can’t say I have great memories of those days.

My mom was an artist when it came to baking. Not only did the cakes and cookies taste amazing; the decorating was astounding as well. Her shortbread and chocolate torte were famous and were always in demand. I have memories of birthday cakes that were envied by all my friends.

I learned the importance of volunteering from my mother. She served as president of the sisterhood at her synagogue and volunteered in other charitable organizations.

At her winter home in Port Charlotte, she persuaded a group of women to do water aerobics. Now that gene she passed down to me as I was certified as an instructor and taught classes at the YMCA in Winnipeg.

Other memorable feats were getting a driver’s license for the first time at age sixty-seven and winning the award for erasing the most movies by accident when she learned to use a VCR.

I know very little about her childhood and teenage years. She once told me she’d had a dog that had been run over by a car and that’s why I’d never been allowed to have a dog when I was growing up. She had also belonged to a group called Sunshine Girls, but I don’t know if that was when she lived in Boston or Winnipeg. I honestly don’t even know how she met my dad, although I have heard different stories from family members.

My mom adored her grandchildren. She was blessed to not only live in the same city as her children and grandchildren, but we all lived merely blocks away from each other. She proudly came to her grandchildren’s concerts plays, dance recitals, bowling tournaments and graduations.

We used to talk on the phone at least twice a day and twenty-six years later I still miss those conversations. We always had so much to talk about. If she were still here today I can literally think of a million questions I’d like to ask her. There is so much more I would like to know about her.

Happy Mother’s Day to all the moms out there, and especially to my mom in heaven.

Closed That Door Long Ago

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Closed That Door Long Ago

Can you ever truly leave the past behind without it coming back to haunt you? It was a distant memory until….wham! It hit me in the face again.

Joanne and I were talking about that just the other day. I confided a teenage memory to her, something that at the time drove me up the wall. It was unbelievable how just as the situation had settled down in my life, something happened to revive it. But that was decades ago.

I actually hadn’t thought about that time in ages. The memory was triggered by something one of my friends is currently going through. And I can so identify with it.

I came home and was checking out my Facebook groups. OMG!!!! There’s a whole article in one of them dealing with that exact memory I had shared with Joanne. Now there are literally shivers running up and down my spine.

Sorry readers. I’m not sharing the memory with you. It borders on the illegal. But I needed to vent so this blog is as good a place as any. I mean, what are the chances of all this resurfacing in 2022?

At least geographically I’m thousands of miles away and I haven’t been in contact with the others involved since 1971. That’s a lot of years ago. But honestly, at this minute it feels like yesterday.

So I wonder, do you ever really close the door on the past?

A Christmas Memory

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A Christmas Memory

I’ve spent Christmas with a variety of different people in numerous places in Mexico and the USA. But one of my favorite memories dates back to the 90s, when I lived in Canada and my kids were still young and living at home. And Koal was still with us too.

My friend Lesley had invited us over on Christmas Eve. When I had a thyroidectomy, my vocal folds were nicked during surgery. Lesley was my speech therapist who worked with me to get my voice back, and we became good friends as the months went by. My kids were delighted to meet other kids at this Christmas Eve gathering, and it was a most enjoyable evening.

On Christmas Day I prepared my usual bacon and eggs breakfast, and then took my coffee into the living room where we opened presents. Of course Koal got the most gifts. That dog was spoiled rotten by all of us, and was always given way too many treats, toys and t-shirts to add to his wardrobe.

A lazy afternoon included card games and siestas, although I did spend a fair amount of time in the kitchen preparing a traditional turkey dinner.

After dinner we watched Christmas Vacation and laughed ourselves silly at the antics of Chevy Chase. I also remember the first time we saw that movie. We were in Phoenix, Arizona.

The last time I had Christmas dinner with my kids was in 2009. And I often wonder if we’ll ever do it again. We live in different countries. With the world crazy with Covid, nothing is certain anymore.

Now, more than ever before, it’s important to practice mindfulness. If you are fortunate to have family and good friends, celebrate with them NOW. A year from now, we may not all be around to get together. Nothing is promised.

Merry Christmas to all my readers and followers. May you and your families enjoy great times together, in good health, over this holiday season.

Dads And Daughters

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Dads And Daughters

Today is November 17th and it’s also my Dad’s birthday. The last time I celebrated this day with him was in 1976, a few months before he died.

My dad was my hero, my best friend, my rock. There has never been anyone in my life who has ever been able to provide the unconditional love and security that I felt when my dad was alive.

Among many other things, my dad taught me to ride a bike and to drive a car. But what I remember most was the hours we spent together just talking. He was always there to listen and offer advice. Precious memories I cherish in my heart.

Back in 1980 I was pregnant with Kyle and was hoping he would be born on my dad’s birthday. But that didn’t happen. Instead he was born a week later on my parents’ anniversary, November 24th. And that made that date special again.

Happy Birthday Daddy in heaven!

Again

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Again

I lost another friend the other day. We met when I lived in San Ciro for three months, a small town with a population just under 200, in San Luis Potosi.

That’s the real danger in living the nomadic life I do. I meet a lot of interesting people and friendships become very intense very quickly, albeit often short-lived as well. I never know whether our paths will cross again in this lifetime.

We celebrate holidays and birthdays together. We reminisce about our past and share memories. We travel, we volunteer and in some cases have worked together.

We attempt to maintain relationships by using social media and video calls when possible as many have left Mexico and returned to their home countries.

But the years pass by all too quickly and we aren’t getting any younger. Our bodies are not quite as limber as they once were, a definite concern when determining what comes next.

However there is a fascinating world out there just waiting to be explored. There are amazing people out there who we haven’t yet met. There are new memories to be made and, health permitting, our age doesn’t matter.

I’m not quite certain that I’m still living my dream by practicing this lifestyle. But what I am sure of is that the people I’ve met along the way have had an important impact on my life, whether or not we ever see each other again in person. And I will always cherish the memories stored safely in my heart.

Always A Mom

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I worked remotely from home decades before Covid arrived. I wanted to be with my kids when they spoke that first word and took that first step.

I was an active volunteer in their schools and also in their extracurricular activities. Akela of a Cub pack, music librarian for ASYC and organizer of buses for a YBC provincial bowling tournament were some of the more memorable times.

The time flew by and my daughter moved to Ontario and I moved to Mexico, leaving only my son behind in Winnipeg. Then I started dividing my time between Mexico and Washington and my daughter moved to Kelowna.

When Covid arrived in March of 2020, I was in Mexico and was interviewed by a Winnipeg Free Press reporter. One of the more pointed questions he asked was how I felt about my decision not to return to Canada although my family was there.

While I’ve enjoyed the last ten plus years of traveling and living in other countries, it is hard living far away from my kids, and it has been even more so during the pandemic.

I still feel the sadness when I phoned my son from Culiacan on his birthday in 2010. He turned thirty and it was the first time in his life I wasn’t with him on his birthday. Over the years, the pain lessens, but there’s always a tugging at the heartstrings.

I did come back for their university convocations and I went to Punta Cana for my daughter’s wedding. And I do go back to visit as neither of my kids come to Mexico or Washington. And I have a three-year-old granddaughter who thinks I live in a phone.

Earlier in the week my daughter was evacuated due to wildfires. Last night she told me that they are able to return home but they are still on alert. I always have a TO GO bag packed in my closet due to all the fires around here. But I felt so helpless when she called me the night they were evacuated as she hurriedly packed up my granddaughter and the three cats.

Texts and video calls are great. But what I want more than anything are REAL hugs, not virtual ones. That day can’t come soon enough for this mom.

Musical Memories

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My housemate Clairesse is a very talented violinist and vocalist. She also comes from a very musical family where jam sessions were common.

Tonight she was playing a variety of music that triggered some memories. I’ll begin with the ones pertaining to the violin.

I had an uncle who played in The Winnipeg Symphony Orchestra back when I was really young. Then there was the other extreme. I had an older brother who attempted to play but I used to run outside to play when he practiced because I couldn’t stand the screeching sound. And I put my foot down when it was suggested that I learn to play the violin. No way!

Clairesse played everything from Home On The Range to The Battle Hymn Of The Republic to the Wabash Cannonball. She plays jigs, waltzes and hymns.

Home On The Range reminded me of a high school boyfriend who played guitar. We used to hang out with friends at a park and this song was always a favorite.

Battle Hymn reminds me of attending 9/11 memorial services. And then a swarm of other songs such as The Marine’s Hymn and God Bless America filled my head.

It’s interesting how I seem to associate music with the events in my life. My teenage years in the 60s were filled with the British Invasion. I attended tons of concerts back then. Some of the most memorable were The Rolling Stones, Herman’s Hermits, The Who, The Hollies, Peter and Gordon, Chad and Jeremy and The Dave Clark Five. Unfortunately The Beatles never came to Winnipeg.

Lots of American talent came to Winnipeg too. Other memorable concerts I attended included The Beach Boys, Paul Revere And The Raiders, Sonny and Cher, Carly Simon, Neil Diamond, and The Monkees.

Yes, the 60s was one of my favorite decades. Was it one of yours?

Reflections

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Reflections

July marks five years since I retired from teaching ESL in Mexico and first came to Leavenworth. The routine of six months in Mexico and six months in Leavenworth with side trips to Canada to see my kids was comfortable. Until the advent of Covid. Eleven months in Mexico has been followed by eight months in Leavenworth with no side trips to Canada.

When I first arrived in Washington State, I was overwhelmed by the beauty of the mountains. I still am. Names such as Peshastin and Wenatchee roll off my tongue easily now, as do expressions such as “the other side” and “up the Icicle.” Maifest, Apple Blossom, Autumn Leaf and Octoberfest are just a few of the many festivals I’ve celebrated here when there is no Covid.

I have memories of attending a homecoming football game and racing at the oval track. Events at Snowy Owl Theater as well as Leavenworth Summer Theater productions were most enjoyable. I dressed up in pioneer costume to volunteer at Apple Days in Cashmere. And the 9/11 memorial services at Spirit of America always bring tears to my eyes.

I have memories of volunteering at the senior center, having lunch with friends, craft afternoons and music nights. I miss the entertainment at the gazebo on the weekends. While I did enjoy seeing the colorful trees this year, there was no tree lighting ceremony or ice festival.

While the library has reopened, book club has not yet resumed and neither have the craft activities. There is still some speculation as to whether the pool will open. And just this past week we were given the go ahead to start teaching fitness classes again.

It’s Faith Promise weekend at Leavenworth Church of the Nazarene (LCN). On Friday night we headed out to the orchards at McDivitt’s and had dinner with some eighty other people. I remember the first time I went out there almost five years ago for another church barbecue. I didn’t know a soul back then. And now I know so many people.

Five years ago today, May 23rd, I was living and teaching ESL in Mazatlan. Retiring and becoming a snowbird were never on the radar. Yet now I can’t imagine any other way of life.

Mother’s Day Memories

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Mother’s Day Memories

My earliest memories of Mother’s Day date back to my childhood in the form of handcrafted cards created in the classroom. Friday afternoon after recess out came brightly colored craft paper and crayons. Of course there was the obligatory verse to copy from the blackboard.

I also recall getting together throughout the years with grandparents and other extended family members to celebrate this special day. But then things got complicated. I got married and now there were two sides to the family. Naturally I wound up hosting these holiday dinners to keep the peace in the family.

I never really felt special on Mother’s Day until my son Kyle was born. He was just over five months old and I was now actually a mother. Here is a four generation photo taken with Kyle, my mother and my grandmother.

In 2021 I had hoped to be with one of my kids on Mother’s Day. But somehow plans just never seem to work out, which is why I despise making long range plans.

I’ve spent Mother’s Day in several different places in the last decade……Culiacan, Tlaquepaque, Tototlan, Mazatlan, Puerta Vallarta, Aguascalientes, Winnipeg, Leavenworth, Cashmere and Wenatchee. This year I’ll add Dryden to the list.

Four years ago I was still in Mexico and had this really deep gut feeling that I should go back to Winnipeg and be with my son on Mother’s Day. And I’m glad I did. I haven’t seen him since then and I am long overdue for a visit. My alternating visits to my kids were thrown out of sync when my daughter had a baby. But even now with Covid it’s been almost two years since I’ve seen them either.

My laptop packed it in last spring in Mexico and I still haven’t replaced it, but thankfully I do have access to some of my photos on my phone. Here is one of my daughter and I on her wedding day.

Here is my favorite photo of my mom and I on my wedding day.

The featured photo on this post is my kids on Mother’s Day in 2016. They were at a Blue Jays game in Toronto and texted it to me in Mexico. It was a beautiful gift knowing that they were together that day. My son lives in Winnipeg and my daughter lives in Kelowna so it’s quite difficult to get us all together. But I can always hope that maybe next year we may have a family reunion. Maybe it won’t be on Mother’s Day……but it will certainly make this mother’s day.

Happy Mother’s Day everyone! Enjoy your day!

Thanks For The Memories

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Thanks For The Memories

Every day on Facebook I check out the Memories section. And I reflect on my life and all the different places I’ve been. I also can’t believe how fast the time has gone by and how much I’ve changed throughout the years.

Two years ago I was volunteering at Camp Heartbeat in Peshastin. It was the beginning of my annual children’s ministry experience at LCN.

Three years ago I was in Toronto visiting my friend Deborah. I recall long walks along the lake and the beautiful view of the water from her backyard.

Four years ago I was in Puerto Vallarta enjoying walks along the malecon and gazing out at the ocean from my lounger on the beach.

I found another memory where I was actually in Winnipeg at this time six years ago. That was a year before I discovered Leavenworth.

And then I found a memory from ten years ago. On my way back from a visit to my friend Rochelle in Los Angeles, I had stopped for some beach time in Mazatlan before returning to Culiacan.

Today I’m moving from Leavenworth to Dryden, a town about 10 minutes away. Not quite as exotic as other places I’ve been, but it will be a memory nonetheless to look back on one day.