Monday, May 27, 2013

Memorial Day Musings.



Happy Memorial Day just sounds wrong doesn't it? Even so, Happy Memorial Day y'all...

We are Ocean Point Inn in Arch Cape outside of the very touristy Cannon Beach. Yesterday on the beach in front of our place some teenage boys (four of them about 14 or 15 years in age) put together this tribute to Memorial Day. It says on the big rock: In Memoriam ...Thanks.

Pretty cool, huh?

My family and friends who come to mind to honor on Memorial Day are: my grandmother Bop, my sister Kelly, my nephew Joshua, my good pool buddy Dorothy,  my husband's father Bert and my two yaya aunts (my mom's sisters from Morgan City, Louisiana), Judy and Connie.

1. Bop was the first strong woman i ever knew. We lived with her awhile in Morgan City, Louisiana for awhile when my Dad was stationed in France when i was 2 years old. She didn't drive a car but she was fiercely independent in spite of that. She had all kinds of people waiting to do her bid. She was so entertaining, a great cook, an even better housekeeper (a little on the OCD ,  i think i got this from her), she drank Schlitz out of a can and smoked Viceroys and looked like she was 20 years older than she was. She loved to sing but had a terrible overly dramatic singing voice and she had many funny poems that she recited. She kind of looked like Bette Davis. I know i wasn't her only favorite, but she made me feel like i was. She died at the age of 85... and as an insulin diabetic i am not sure how she lived THAT long.

My sister Kelly was only 35 years old and had always struggled with her life. But she was incredibly likable and when you met her you didn't see that she was a person with issues unless you spent a lot of time with her. San Diego will always remind me of her. We had two great vacations together in 1989 and 1990 when she was at her happiest. She was my best friend for awhile and then we lost each other when she married a bad guy who made deposits to her ...what i used to call.... Bank of Angst.

My nephew Josh was only 24 but was unlike my sister in that he always seemed to have it together so we never saw it coming that he really didn't have it together. He was so handsome. (I would refer to him as Josh Gyllenhall.) He is the hardest person on my list to lose. I think about him alot. I can only imagine what this is like for my brother Troy.

The first time i met Dorothy was when i first moved into my condo in 1992. She came to my door to have me sign a petition against the condo board. I knew i had met a comrade. And that's exactly what we became shortly after. Brian and i used to have her over to play Scrabble and drink wine nearly once a week in the last year and a half  before she died. She was an ace Scrabble player. I still have all the scorecards and once i counted over 45 of them. she beat us most of the time until the ending games. to this day i haven't met a person who can tell a story like Dorothy. (except my grandmother Bop comes close.) It's been i think 6 years now, 7 this August since she died. but Brian and i talk about her so often, it's like she's just a few doors away still and we can go knock on her door and tell her to come by for a game.

Brian's father Bert looked like Ben Cartwright and could intimidate the shit out of people.( i can only imagine how the poor guys who dated his daughter Debbie handled meeting him.) But i liked him immediately. He liked talking one on one, like i do. One time at a family reunion we talked so long that my bare feet got sunburned. He had strong opinions when the rest of the family didn't. He was a barber, a professional archer (something i have ALWAYS wanted to do) and quite the fisherman. He used to help me with my fly casting. When he died i gave his eulogy. It was just something i really wanted to do even though like most people, public speaking is terrifying. but i felt like he was up there with me. He was quite a character and i still miss him and that twinkle in his eyes.

My yaya aunts. People just pale in comparison to these two at a party and i suspect it's one of the reasons my mom can be so obnoxious in how she pimps herself for attention. (Such as the time she started dancing by herself during the father/bride dance when my nephew Brian got married last September). It must have been hard for her to have such colorful, lively and wise sisters. Unlike my mom Elodie, Connie and Judy didn't set out to get attention intentionally. but they have presence. I used to live with my Aunt Judy, the oldest sister after my mom's accident. She too could be intimidating and i never wanted to make her mad because i respected her so much. When i think about it sometimes i feel like i am somewhat like my Aunt Judy to my nieces Kylee and Ashley and Kelly was more like Aunt Connie. Connie was more easygoing and laid back and the most fun and carefree.

Who are you missing today? Come and tell us about them.

BTW: Shout Out to the newest #32 follower, Carrie! I just noticed you today. I hope you post. I wondered if anyone from the retreat would make a point of checking in after Sonya mentioned this blog during the social networking part of the training. Welcome Carrie! For the rest of you, Carrie is a public school elementary librarian and if i don't get a real job next year i want to go volunteer in her library. I started my whole education career working in libraries. I loved working in the library, it just didn't pay enough at the time since i was only an assistant so I became a secretary instead.




3 comments:

jojo cucina cucina said...

Ok ok..memorial day musings are not jovial. I will change this soon. What do y'all want to talk about?

susieatl said...

I haven't been online as much and missed this but I want to post.

1. My grandmother...she was simply the most amazing woman ever. Which is why I hate old age, dementia, etc. She was born around 1892 or so. She was born with a bad hip and walked with a cane most of her life. During WWI she worked for the Red Cross in D.C. for a year. She even had pictures of some of the places she went...not sure how she got them - they didn't have portable cameras then. My guess is there were photographers who would take pictures and you could buy them? She met my grandfather who was home from the war there.. she had her teaching degree and they traveled through Montana, Washington, Idaho and Oregon setting up schools. She would teach all 12 grades in a one room school. When she died in 1979, hundreds of her students came from all over the U.S. When she divorced grandpa, she went on to teach, give lectures, etc. She was die hard Democrat which meant she fought with my dad constantly. I just loved her. She was quite old when I came around but she taught me to read, write and memorize all the state capitals. But in the end she lost her mind and it was heartbreaking. She never remarried and apparently before I was born my grandfather would visit her and spend the night. My mother never knew but my sister did. I wish my sister had told her as my mother and grandma had lots of fights over the divorce.

2. My mom. She died when I was 22 and I will never truly get over it. We were nothing alike. She was very logical and quiet. But she was always in my corner. I had Amanda when I was 25 so she never knew her.

3. Dave - he was one of my best friends in college. We tried dating but he came out to me on one of our first dates. Back in the early 80s you didn't come out in the Midwest. So he dated girls all through college with me lecturing him on lying the whole time. He introduced me to Broadway musicals and I could be completely silly with him. We lost touch when I got married (Satan was somewhat homophobic and they hated each other) but I tried to find him a few years ago. I googled him because I knew he was a reporter in Orlando. The last time we spoke I had just been divorced and I told him I would come down to see him (he was out by then and very happy). I never did. He died from a brain aneurysm a year or too later. His mother had died and he was getting headaches after the funeral..he died and then his dad had a heart attack and died the day after he heard about Dave's death. Broke my heart. But on the good side, he was editor of the Orlando gay newspaper and had organized their Gay Pride weekends for several years so I know he finally was at peace with himself.

Great thread..I needed this.

jojo cucina cucina said...

Very nice post susieatl....your grandmother sounds like the Halfbroke Horses woman..i think you read that book.