Sunday, December 22, 2019

Happy Birthday Bess

Happy birthday, Mom. In a few days you would have been turning 115.

I never expected you to become that old, but when you died a few days after your 57th birthday, I had not had enough time with you. I had two young children at the time, but there were two more to come and I don’t like the fact that you never knew them or any of your dozen great grandkids that they produced. You would have been the ultimate grand and great grandmother.

I remember you:

Because of your joy in life: Whoever said the Brits didn’t have a sense of humor? Yours was the best.  You had a sparkle in your eye, an infectious smile, and you weren’t above fluttering your eyelids. You would have loved laughing with your grandkids and telling them stories of your youthful exploits such as buying a forbidden motorcycle and vacationing in South Africa.

 Because of your life journey: It took you from Harold Wood in Essex County to London for secretarial work where you met an American during his first week in your country and married him less than a year later.  Little did you know that you would follow him to the U.S. even though he had promised to live in England forever. That you would bear him three children, the last one born when you were in your forties and not so happy to redo the infant phase another time and in a strange country.

Because you managed to remain loyal to your homeland: You refused to become an American citizen at the same time embracing the country where you lived and making lifelong friends in the U.S.

Because of your love of sports: When your front teeth were knocked loose with a hockey stick, your mother pressed them back into your mouth and told you to put pressure on them. You always had slightly protruding front teeth but they were your own.

Because you learned to live so many miles away from all your birth family: You welcomed your mother to Seattle for a long stay. She arrived as one of a very few passengers on a freighter that took six weeks to travel through the Panama Canal. She was a welcome addition to our family for those months.

Because you were a loyal friend to so many people: You lighted up their lives. You were a friend in need. You were a talented cook and hostess and always ready for a party.

Because you provided a rudder, a stabilizing influence for your husband: You stuck by him when his itchy feet and issues with authority caused him some workplace  problems that caused moves that were not always welcome.

Enough already. Happy birthday Bess. I remember a little poem you shared:

Here lies a woman who always was tired.
She lived in a house where help wasn’t hired.
Don’t mourn for me now.
Don’t mourn for me never.
I’m going to do nothing forever and ever.

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