Memories on Saturday Morning

Mostly I do very well. I try not to dwell on the accident, and the greatest loss of my life, the death of my six-year-old daughter.

Oh, I miss her like crazy, but in order to go forward in my life, I had to put all those emotions and feelings in a box and place them in a storage unit on a shelf in my mind.

Katie was a sweet and loving child. She was quick with a smile and her laughter put a smile on my face.

She had a kind heart and loved her family deeply, especially Amanda. She was a good friend to many.

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I wasn’t thinking about her, at least not actively, when I was out the other day. I was driving around doing errands and as I slowly drove down Main Street, I saw a little red-haired girl, skipping down the street, laughing and holding the hand of her mother. As she skipped, her red curls bounced around her head.

For just a moment I was taken back in time. I could see Katie in my mind, doing the same thing with me.

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The mist of time was all around me and I could feel Katie with me. I slowed my car, and looked to see if, if, …

This was all for a split second or two and then the feeling left me, as I could quite plainly see,  this was not Katie.

That’s when I recalled that for the first few months, years, I used to search for Katie in large crowds. Part of me not wanting to believe she was really gone.

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This has been on my mind the last few days as I wondered if I should share this story on my Blog. I have only written about Katie on the anniversary of her birth and death. But this does happen occasionally to me and it breaks my heart all over again.

When I lost my dearest friend, Candy, I sat holding her hand and when we talked about the end of her life, I told her that real love never dies. I truly believe this.

I guess for me, for the part of me that still yearns for my little girl, I still feel all that love, and I guess I see her in my mind’s eye.

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One day I know, we will be together again. After all, real love never dies.

 

Traffic Jams

I recall growing up on Cape Cod back in the sixties and being aware of the influx of tourists starting in May. Our otherwise sleepy town would suddenly grow to an almost intolerable size. Jokes were made, that we needed to dismantle the bridges which allowed tourists onto our beloved Cape Cod. Anyone who has been caught in a 6-mile long traffic jam can relate to this.

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So where did I relocate in my grown-up years? To the Lakes Region of New Hampshire. And what did I experience today (Saturday) as I headed home (North) from my daughter’s home? Yes, traffic. Bad traffic! I mean, honestly, I am not sure I have seen it this bad in New Hampshire, ever! In fact, when I got to my exit off of Route 93, I was backed up a half a mile, just to turn onto another highway!

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Now there were people who were stressed, with kids in the backseat feeling the boredom of a long, hot ride, but then there were people like me, who decided that they couldn’t change the situation, so I put on a playlist of my favorite songs and sang out loud, while I was doing the old stop and go on the highway.

It brought me back to those long-ago days on Cape Cod. All these travelers, trying to get to the same spot to have the vacation of their dreams.

And me, growing up, living in that special place! And now living in the lakes and mountains of New Hampshire! How lucky is that?

So, instead of getting upset with the traffic, I smiled and realized that I was a very happy girl living in this beautiful spot.

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TBT: The Beach & Me

I guess you could say I am a beach baby. Since I was 6 months old I have spent part of every Spring, Summer, and Fall at the beach. Listening to the waves lap against the shore, and feeling the sun soak into my bones. I just knew from a very early age that the beach, the ocean was my home.

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I was a bit of a fish, really. My mother was concerned that I would swim away over my head and had a rope on me until she was certain of my abilities. Those came from swimming lessons at Surf Drive Beach, come rain or shine, thick fog or freezing cold water temperatures. I did not care. The ocean was in my blood!

img680Yes, that is me. I am thinking I am perhaps 6 years old. At my beach, Surf Drive Beach. The one place that fills my soul.

Over the years, I have been many places where I felt that same kismet! One such place was Barbados, where the ocean also called my name. This is actually a full-scale picture I am cropping, but I told Jack when I die I want this picture published with my obituary! Even if I am 90!

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I was 29 years old in this picture, and for once in my life skinny! And I remember how much I loved that bikini.

I’m at the beach now. Somewhere. It’s warm and I am happy. Solitary happiness on the beach. My idea of a grand vacation.

Anneliese’s Eyes

In the Harry Potter books and movies, during tough times for Harry, when he meets his parent’s friends, they almost all say the same thing.

“I would have known you anywhere, you have her eyes. You have your mother’s eyes.”

Lately, I have noticed that as Anneliese has aged, I look into her eyes, and I see Greta. Anneliese is so much like her mother in so many ways. She is spunky and feisty, and she is also not afraid of anything!

Greta was a wee bit more affectionate than Anneliese is, but Anneliese has her own way of showing her love for us, her owners.

Here is dearest Anneliese. Looking up at me with love in her eyes.

20190516_053000And here is her Mum, Greta, also looking at me. Oh my, how I miss this little pup. She was so devoted to me and I miss her constant presence.

20180516_111141So, when I look at Anneliese, and I see her mother staring back up at me, it is almost like Greta is soothing my broken heart. What a joy it is to see Greta in her daughter’s eyes.

Now I understand what JK Rowling meant when she wrote: “You have her eyes.” about Harry Potter and his mother Lily. It isn’t all about color or shape, rather it is about the soul and sweetness of the person, (or in this case my pup Greta and her daughter, Anneliese).

Sixty Years & Counting!

Sixty years ago today, at 12:01 PM I made my debut into this world. My mother did not recall anything of my birth, as she chose to sleep through the delivery. In fact, all I have heard about that day was that Mom was hungry when she woke up, and they brought her a turkey sandwich.

November 17 Babies

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I love being sixty! For many reasons. I love that I know so much more than I did in my twenties. I love that my heart is full of love and happiness. I love that I still see the goodness in people. I love that despite experiencing the worst in life, I am not only alive but living a truly wonderful life!

Being sixty means that I’m looking at things I did in my past, that I do not want to repeat. It means I’m being more selective now about my plans and my time, because I understand that time is running on my clock, and I do not want to miss a thing!

I made a short montage of pictures from birth until the present day. I am so grateful to my family and my friends for always being there for me, and always loving me. What a great birthday gift that is!

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Happy 40th Birthday Katie

Many of you know that besides Mandy, I had another daughter, Katie, who was killed at the age of 6 1/2 (click the link to read that story) by an impaired driver. Most days I get along very well, however, there are certain days that I find myself missing her and longing for her. Today is one of those days.

Today Katie would have celebrated her 40th birthday.

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Kathleen Alynne was born at 5:29 AM on November 8th, 1978. She was two weeks late and I had begun to feel as if I were part elephant. In the delivery room, I remember asking the nurse to clean off her head because the blood made it look red. She laughed at me (She also had red hair) and told me that this was it! My child was a redhead!

Katie was a neat kid and we all loved her. She had a wicked sense of humor, yet was also sensitive and empathetic, which was strange in one so young.

Her loss is bothering me a bit more this year probably due to the fact that I have been feeling angry that we were robbed of so much of her life.

Of course, she missed so much of her own life too. I wish she was here to meet her brother and sister, to see her niece and nephew and to be enjoying her life.

I think of what she would be like at 40 years old, where she would be in her life, and how many kids she would have. She once told me she wanted 5 children! That made me laugh. But she did love kids, so who knows.

Here is a montage of some of the pictures that I like the best. She was a real joker in front of the camera, almost always had a smile on her little face.

I know one day Katie and I will be together again, and that we will share an eternity, but for today I miss her something fierce!

Happy Birthday, Sweet Girl!

Calendars

There are times when I will look at a picture of my grandchildren and I think I must be the luckiest woman alive!

Take this new one of Quinn. He was on a Field Trip with his Class at School. They went to a Farm with Pumpkins and Apples and Farm Animals. It was a chilly day and there he was. All dolled up in his Loggers Vest and Hat. Looking absolutely adorable!

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My heart just melted and is continuing to as I look at that sweet face and that wonderful hat!

There is also my sweet Savannah Rose. She is quite toothless right now, but still as beautiful as ever!

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The most wonderful part about these two sweeties is that they are not just beautiful to look at, but they are both really nice kids. I like being around them, I love doing things with them, and I love listening to them tell me all their thoughts and ideas.

What got me thinking about them is that I have started to work on my 2019 Calendar. Every year I use Walgreens to make a large calendar for our family room. I use my favorite pictures, put the important birthdays in it, anniversaries as well, and just have fun doing it. But how does one pare down hundreds of pictures to fit into a 12-month calendar?

One year I think it was 1992, I was in Costco in November. I was in the book section when I saw the 1993 Calendar. On the cover of the calendar was a picture of our farm! It was a New Hampshire Calendar and there was our Farm! I quickly bought a dozen copies to give as Christmas presents!

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I also learned that unless they name your Farm, they do not have to pay you for the right to use it! That’s okay. Not only did I give it as gifts, but I also framed one and have it to this day! Our much loved Farm!

I think the nicest thing about that Calendar was that it gave us a formal memory. We sold the farm shortly after this and so I can look back as much as I want at that beautiful picture.

 

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Another Day

Despite the fact that I did not feel like cooking tonight, I bit the bullet and after I fed the dogs I began the prep work for our meal. This meant chopping onions, peppers, and mushrooms, starting to saute this and then add cut up zucchini and summer squash along with basil, garlic, salt, and pepper.

It’s a dish I make pretty frequently, so I know the recipe by heart. Once that was started I got out the Rice Pilaf and the seasoned bread crumbs for the turkey tenders.

I got everything all on the stove and in the oven and now I have a few minutes before I serve it all up.

Some days I feel like cooking, and some days I don’t. However, this meal should be good and we should have some leftovers too!

We got three air conditioners pulled out of the windows and put to bed for the winter. There are just two left to do and we will probably get that done tomorrow, but Jack and I ran out of steam.

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I had a weird, but wonderful thing happen to me the day before yesterday. I was grocery shopping when I saw a Paramedic shopping for food. I went over and I thanked him for his service to the community. (This is something I have been doing for years.) He asked me why I was thanking him, and I explained that 33 years ago two Paramedics not only saved my life but had a profound impact on it.

We started talking more and he asked if I recalled their names. Of course. I told him both names. One had been his instructor and one was his Boss! I told him that I would be very grateful if he could pass along a message to these two men.

“Please tell them I am happy and that I now have two beautiful grandchildren.”

He promised to and wrote everything down. In many ways, things came full circle in, of all places, the grocery store!

I’ll still keep thanking our First Responders and Paramedics and Military Men and Women. So much of the time, no one notices the real service they provide, and the risks they take to save a life.

But I will never forget.

In Memoriam – September 11, 2001

I think we all can tell you where we were, and what we were doing on that fateful day, in September.

September 11, 2001

It was a beautiful day here in New Hampshire. Sunny, bright, clear with blue skies. I was taking a shower getting ready for a dental appointment, while Jack was working on shingling the house. It was a day like any other here.
Hubby had the TV in our bedroom pointed out the window so he could listen to the morning news.

Suddenly, I felt a hand on my arm and Jack told me I had to get out of the shower now, something was happening. I was a little dazed and confused. I shut the water in the shower off and grabbed my towel.

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Jack and I sat in our family room watching Fox News, ABC, and CNN. A plane had hit one of the Twin Towers at the World Trade Center in downtown New York City. Jack, as a former Airline Pilot knew immediately, that it was no accident.

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While we watched, suddenly another plane came in and hit the other Tower!
We were both in shock. We listened to reports. No one was saying terrorism, not at first. But both Jack and I knew.

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I look at this picture, and I know that none of those innocent people got out alive. That thought brings me to tears each time I see it.

We watched the Tower’s come down, one and then the other. We knew people had died. We just didn’t know how many.

At 12:30 I drove to my dental appointment. There was not another car on the road. Not one. I got to my dental appointment and found that I was the only patient that hadn’t canceled that day.

When I got home we watched the TV all day. I called my family and my close friends. Just to hear their voices.

It doesn’t matter your political affiliations, or how you feel about the war. What matters is on September 11, 2001, innocent people died in New York City, In Washington, DC and in Shanksville, PA.

People like you and like me. Just because they were Americans. That was the day I learned that we are no longer safe here at home.

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I also learned that when our country is attacked in such a manner, we pull together and unify.

God Bless all who lost their lives that day, to their families, who will never be the same, and all who serve this country each and every day to protect and defend us.

September 11, 2001: Basic Facts

Chronology
8:46 AM Plane crashes into the north tower of the World Trade Center.
9:03 AM Plane crashes into the south tower of the World Trade Center.
9:17 AM The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) shuts down all New York City area airports.
9:21 AM The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) halts all flights at U.S. airports. It is the first
time in history that air traffic has been halted nationwide.
9:38 AM Plane crashes into the Pentagon. Evacuation begins immediately.
9:45 AM The White House evacuates.
10:05 AM The south tower of the World Trade Center collapses.
10:10 AM A portion of the Pentagon collapses.
10:10 AM Plane crashes in Somerset County, Pennsylvania.
10:22 AM The State and Justice Departments, as well as the World Bank are evacuated.
10:28 AM The World Trade Center’s north tower collapses.
10:45 AM All federal office buildings in Washington, D.C. are evacuated.
1:44 PM Five warships and two aircraft carriers are ordered to leave the U.S. Naval Station
in Norfolk, Virginia to protect the East Coast.
4:10 PM Building 7 of the World Trade Center collapses.

The Flights
American Airlines Flight 11
From: Boston, Massachusetts (Logan Airport)
To: Los Angeles, California
Lives: 92 people on board
Crashed into North Tower of World Trade Center at 8:46 AM

United Airlines Flight 175
From: Boston, Massachusetts (Logan Airport)
To: Los Angeles, California
Lives: 65 people on board
Crashed into South Tower of the World Trade Center at 9:03 AM

American Airlines Flight 77
From: Washington, D.C. (Dulles Airport)
To: Los Angeles, CA
Lives: 64 people on board
Crashed into the Pentagon at 9:38 AM

United Airlines Flight 93
From: Newark, New Jersey
To: San Francisco, California
Lives: 44 people on board
Crashed into rural Pennsylvania (southeast of Pittsburgh)

Victims
Victims came from more than 90 countries around the world.
The following are the number of people who died at each site:

World Trade Center 2,823 (includes airline passengers)
Pentagon 125 (not including plane victims)
Flight 11 – 92 people on board
Flight 175 – 64 people on board
Flight 77 – 64 people on board
Flight 93 – 44 people on board

The initial numbers are indelible: 8:46 a.m. and 9:02 a.m, the times the Towers were hit. Time the burning towers stood: 56 minutes and 102 minutes. Time they took to fall: 12 seconds. From there, they ripple out.

Fact Sheet
U.S. Department of State
Washington, DC
August 15, 2002

 

My Mom

My Mom passed away five years ago today.

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Rosamond Ruth, my Mom.

In life, ours was a very complicated relationship. However, with her illness and then passing, so much of the bitterness was forgiven, and in the end, there was only love.

Now five years later, I find many moments where I miss my Mom. I wish I could call her, and hear her voice. There were so many times where I would call her and say, “Mom, just say it’s okay” and she would, then she asked what was up.

As a small child, I recall sitting in her lap and holding her hand up to my lips. Not that I was kissing it, but just having her touch me, calmed me down. She was so beautiful, and yet, I do not think she ever knew that. But just look at the picture below, taken when she was maybe 40 years old.

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I remember her sitting and listening to me when I had voice lessons. I was singing in Italian, and she loved that. Me? Not so much. But I sang and she was happy.

Mom loved her family. Her pocketbook weighed a ton. Why? Because she had pictures of each and every one of us in her bag. Not just to show to other people, but more than once I caught her looking them over. She etched the faces of each and every one of us in her memory.

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Me, Mom and Mel.

When Mom was dying of cancer, I got out all of the old slides. I scanned in pictures of all of her loved ones Past and present. I made up a slideshow on my laptop for her, so she could revisit each one of those moments. Mel, Janet and I played it for her at the Hospice. She loved that.

Amanda brought baby Savannah down, and Mom got to see her Great-granddaughter one last time. Oh, how she adored Savi and the thought that another generation of girls in her family would go on.

Mom has two grandchildren that she never got to meet. April and Quinn. No doubt, Mom would have loved them as she loved us all. I’m sorry she didn’t get to see them. They’re such beautiful and happy children.

The last day I was with her, she was mostly drifting in and out. At one point I thought she was asleep, and I told her all the things I wanted to say to her. I had hoped she heard me, where ever she was at that moment. I told her that I loved her so much.

She spoke quietly, slowly, and softly. “I’m here. And I love you too”.

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