Happy Heavenly Birthday, Mom

She was born Rosamond Ruth Prussman, to parents Frederick and Mary on June 28, 1929. She had a much-loved older brother, Robert, and a cousin George (who grew up like a brother). In fact, until the day they passed, they really adored each other.

Mom and Uncle BobRobert & Rosamond

Mom’s brother, Robert, and his wife Cynthia.

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Aunt Betty, Larry, Janet, and Uncle George.

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She met my Dad when she was 13 and she was dancing and my Dad played the piano. I asked Dad once what made him look twice at Mom and he said “It was a bright red sweater that she was wearing! She looked so beautiful in it! I was hooked!”

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A collage of their life together.

They married early on, and Dad finished getting his teaching degree. They moved to Monument Beach,  Massachusetts,

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and lived in a little white cottage in the Burtonwood section, where my brother, Richard, and my sister Melodie were born.

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Then they moved to Falmouth, Massachusetts, and shortly after, Mom had me.

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My parent’s stayed married for well over 60 years.

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Mom was with him until the end of his life, and really until the end of hers too.  She never remarried. I think in her mind and her heart she was always Jimmie’s girl!

Her last days were spent, not in fear of dying, no, Mom knew Jesus Christ and she knew she would see Dad again. She just worried about Mel and me and all of our cousins.

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Me, Mel & Janet with Mom.

This was the last time we were together before Mom was diagnosed with Liver Cancer. It was a wedding. Mom was so happy to be with us all. I almost didn’t go because of my facial surgery, but I am so glad I did now. Seeing her so happy and sharing that day with her, left us all with wonderful memories.

The last time I saw her, at Hospice Care, Mel and I, sat there, with Janet and the four of us were talking quietly. I asked Mom how we would know if she was with us. She smiled and said, “You will see butterflies, and that will be me.” This really surprised me because she always had related to beautiful flowers in the past.

But you know what? We see beautiful butterflies all the time. And we smile!

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Happy Birthday, Mom!

The Days Are Passing

Today has been a day full of thought. The skies remained gray and the air was warm. But after doing a quick grocery shopping, and coming home to make lunch, I found myself thinking back in time.

I remembered people I knew who I was very close to. People who helped teach me a lot about life. Life Lessons. Both are gone now, but the things we talked about, still remain in my mind.

Many years ago when I lost someone close to me, it was a terrible tragedy. They were too young to die! So much life left to live!  Now, with many of my friends being over 65, 70, or 80, when I think of those losses, it is the pain of losing their friendship. But they have had full lives and mostly I think they were ready for leaving this earth.

I’m sixty-two. I look at my life and think, I will see my 70s and 80s, but hopefully I will do this in good health.

I also look back and see all the life I have lived. Places I have gone, things I have done, and the moments, special moments I have shared.

I remember my pregnancy with Amanda. It wasn’t an easy pregnancy, as I nearly lost her early on in the pregnancy. But it was meant to be, and before I knew it, I was a mother.

1That was probably the happiest day of my life!

I was watching The Pioneer Woman’s daughter’s wedding this morning and I thought about my marriage to Jack.

I shopped and shopped for a nice, special, second wedding dress. Nothing in New England, so I went to Florida to visit my friend, Benn. I drove to The Miracle Mile in Fort Lauderdale and went to a Bridal Shop there.

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I found a beautiful cream-colored, lace tea-length dress there. It fit perfectly and needed no alterations. So It was packed up and I headed to Benn’s house where I proceeded to show him.

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He was quite nice about it, as I am sure that most men don’t get excited at the sight of a wedding dress. But Benn was kind and very brotherly to me. After all, in a few weeks, Benn would be the Best Man at our wedding.

I remember being so excited! And on the day of the wedding, I wore that lovely dress and felt like the prettiest of women.

 I remember being on an airplane with my first dackel, Shubi. I was the last to board and I raced to my seat and put Shubi, in her carrier under the seat in front of me. The man sitting next to me told me to put that bag in the overhead. I told him I couldn’t, as that was my dog. He then looked at me and said, “In my country, we eat dogs!”

Feb 16 014Me & Shubi

Yes, the memories flow, and the laughter and the tears. All my loves, all those times shared.  Gone in a second. I think this is what makes me wonder about the future, however long or short it may be.

I guess the best bet is to just enjoy each and every day and love those you are with.

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The Men In My Life

Here are the five men, who shaped my life. In their own ways, they were my father or a father figure to me. They have all passed from this life to the next, but their memory and the love they gave me, lives on in my heart

My Dad. He was an amazingly talented musician and he passed along his love of music to me. Dad was devoted to our community. He played the organ at both the Congregational Church and the Catholic Church in North Falmouth.

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He was the Music Director at Highfield Theater for many years. He also was a summer police officer in our town. And when we went to local parks for cook-outs, Dad was the burger-meister! He has been gone a long time now, but I still think of him often and miss his wry sense of humor.

My Uncle George. He was the father who taught me everything growing up. How to swim, how to dive, how to bowl, how to hike, how to play cards, and how to love unconditionally.

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When I was about 7 years old I cut my toe badly at the beach and he carried me all the way home! And helped drive me to the doctor’s office for stitches. He was not a loud man, but in his quiet loving way, I just knew that I was one of his special kids. In fact, when Jack and I married, Uncle George walked me down the aisle. I miss this sweet, loving, wonderful man!

My Uncle Bob. He was fun to be with. But, he required that I act like a mini adult too. That was fine. I adored him and just wanted to spend time, quiet time, with him.

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I did a lot of things with him and his wife, Auntie Cynthia. I remember being on his boat, or when they took me to their home in Quincy and to museums. And I recall my Uncle once got a monkey. Cute, but it didn’t last for long.

My Papa Fred. Another quiet man, who was quite old when I lived with him and Grandma. But he showed me something important.

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What real love between a man and woman was all about. I would watch Papa and Grandma sitting on their sofa watching Lawrence Welk. Papa would hold Grandma’s feet in his lap and stroke them gently. He simply adored Grandma and had all of his life. When she died, he no longer had the will to live and passed eight months later.

My Papa Sam, my Dad’s Dad. I didn’t know him as well, but I remember him taking me to the Prudential Building in the summer to listen to the Barbershop Quartets sing.

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I remember sitting on his lap and listening to him sing along. He had such a beautiful voice.

 

These 5 men helped to shape the woman I grew up to become. Each special in their own way, and now, each greatly missed.

Happy Father’s Day! I remember you all with love and many memories that make me smile!

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Thinking About Katie

11/8/78 – 6/19/85

I had a lovely daughter, named Kathleen “Katie” Alynne. She was my youngest daughter and quite amazing. She was six and a half when she died after a car accident that occurred on June 13th.  She lived until June 19th, but she never regained consciousness after the paramedics pulled her from the car. So in my mind and my heart, the 13th is the day that she left us.

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People have wondered and actually said to me, that after 36 years I should be over losing her.

What I know is, you never get over losing a child. But you learn to go on and to make a new life for yourself. But on days like today, I like to remind everyone that once long ago, lived a beautiful little girl named Katie!

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This is so beautiful. I was crying by the second line, Written by Henry Scott Holland (27 January 1847 – 17 March 1918) was Regius Professor of Divinity at the University of Oxford.

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Katie 2A few years ago, an old friend was sorting through his pictures when he found this one of Katie. I’d never seen it before, and it was such a wonderful gift!

Most days I do well. I don’t dwell and I can look at her lovely face in pictures and smile. Then there are days that it hits me all over again and I am overwhelmed by grief. I don’t stay there long. Katie wouldn’t want that.

I miss you each day, Katie.

Summers on Old Cape Cod

While I was driving out to the Veterinarian office yesterday with Arnie, I was doing my darndest not to think about Arnie. So I sat thinking about the first memories I have of my sixty-two years.

My mother used to say I could swim before I could walk, which could possibly be true. I grew up a mere 5-minute walk from the ocean, on Cape Cod.

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Looking back I think I was tremendously lucky because from Memorial Day to Labor Day, Mom would pack a picnic basket with sandwiches and drinks, and her latest summer novel. She would sit on her beach chair, and we would swim in an area of the beach called the kiddie pool in those early years.

Foggy weather or bright sunshine, we lived at the beach. Peanutbutter and marshmallow fluff was my favorite sandwiches, (still are, although I do not eat them) and I learned that a little sand in our lunch wasn’t a bad thing.

img082Me and Mel. Check out those chunky baby thighs!

Mom had to tie a rope around my waist to keep me from swimming away from shore. I would see Martha’s Vineyard across the sea and I loved it there, and thought, in all my childish ways, that swimming could get me there!

I learned that the salt on my skin felt wonderful. I learned that Seagulls will dive on you for the smallest potato chip and the waves, and body surfing them was the greatest of fun.

My cousins and their parents would come for vacation and join us on the beach. Uncle George taught me the finer points of swimming, and he would toss us in the air and we would splash into the water! Oh, what fun that was!

img657Mel and me. I’m the little squirt on the left!

One day I was trying to find beautiful shells, I felt something jagged under my toes! I hobbled up to the blanket leaving a trail of blood in the sand. And yes, I was crying. Uncle George picked me up and carried me to the ocean and rinsed the sand from my foot, then carried me up to the blanket. Mom said I would need to see the doctor about stitches, so Uncle George wrapped a napkin or two around my toe and he carried me all the way back to the house where my dad drove us to the doctor’s office. And yes, I did need stitches. Three if I remember correctly, and then I was bandaged up and told no swimming until the stitches came out! That was (or so it seemed) forever.

However, I made it, and looking back now, and remembering how loved and safe I felt in my Uncle George’s arms makes me so very thankful to have had such a wonderful man in my life.

I can look back, on the earliest years of my life and remember the carefree and beautiful life I had on “Old Cape Cod”.

There are more “Cape Cod Summer Tales” but for today, I will publish this and remember my summers back then with smiles and happiness.

MB Age 4

TBT: Cape Cod Summer Memories

Summer Memories

I grew in Falmouth on Cape Cod and my summers were always full of sun, sea, and soft, cool, cotton sheets after a long day at the beach. My sister Melodie is in the back on the left. I’m the bold one in the blue bikini!

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I swam almost before I could walk, dreamed of magical kingdoms, built in the sand, and lay on my towel watching the clouds drift by in the afternoon. I remember thinking that time went so slowly as I lay there, that things would always be like that.

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I ran barefoot all summer long through the sweet grass, and the scent of lilacs and roses and the ocean were always there. (Or so it seemed)

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The feel of salt on my skin, the taste of it on my lips, and the laughter in the air, as I climbed the jetties along the Surf Drive Beach.

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Melodie on the left and me at home on Clipper Lane. When I didn’t walk to the beach, I rode my trusty Schwinn Bike all over town.

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Fireflies, cookouts on the grill at Goodwill Park, with marshmallows too. My Uncle George, cousin, Janet, and Aunt Betty with Grandma Honey.

Telling stories in the dark, movies at the drive-in, and ice cream cones at Dairy Queen!

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Pop cycles and root beer floats, fried clams and frozen Milkyway bars. Lobster and butter, and strawberry shortcakes at the church festival.

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At the Clam Shack in Falmouth.

Sunshine and happiness, visiting with relatives who flocked to our house and the beach. Summers are full of some of the best memories in my life!

Benn & the Mugging

This is close to 34 years ago. I was newly married to Jack, who was still piloting for Pan Am. He was flying in and out of Miami and had a hotel room for a week. I stayed in the room during the nights, but during the days I went shopping, visited friends, and on this one night, went to dinner with the best man from our wedding, Benn.

When we got back to his place, I took our car and was driving back to the hotel. There was a convenience store near the hotel, and I stopped to buy beer and chips to have in our room when Jack came in, towards midnight.

I parked my car 20 feet from the store entrance, as there were also gas pumps there, and then I grabbed my purse (a rather large thing I used for traveling back then) and headed for the door. I had gone about 10 feet when a car sped up behind me, three men jumped out, and came over to me quickly.

I was walking as fast as I could, and one man said, “Yo, what you doing tonight, Mama?”

This scared me, and I grasped the bag strap tighter and started to run, but the other man grabbed me and knocked me down. I fell backward onto my bottom. That’s when the beating and the tug of war began.

Since my purse was under my rather plump butt, they tried kicking me, dragging me, punching me, and slapping me. Eleven people stood by watching this happen until one 70-year-old Cuban man came at them with a tire iron. The three men jumped back into the car, and their driver zoomed off and onto the highway.

The worker at the store and the Cuban man helped me into the store, and we went into a lock-down until the police arrived.

I called my friend, who arrived before the police. I was covered in blood, the backs of my legs had road rash badly, and my clothes were torn.

After giving my statement to the police, (who were not too worried about me because the thieves never got my purse!), our friend, Benn, took me to the hotel.

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He told me to get in a warm bath to try to soak away the pebbles that had become embedded in the backs of my legs. I grabbed my robe and disappeared sobbing into the bathroom.

I soaked and soaked, and it seemed to calm me down, and somehow getting out of those torn clothes helped too.

After a bit, there was a knock on the door. Then Benn knocked on the bathroom door and asked if I had any cash? “Yeah, they didn’t get my purse!”

Well, that got me curious, so I climbed out of the bath, dried, and got on my robe. Then I came out, just in time to see Benn opening a bottle of champagne!

“What is that?” I asked

“Dom Pérignon Champagne. After all, how often do you get mugged?”

He poured it for me, and I drank it down. After the second glass, I felt dizzy and a little sleepy. Benn tucked me into bed, and I started to cry again. So, he sat down on the bed, put his feet up, and wrapped me in his arms, where I eventually fell asleep.

Two hours later, Jack opened the door to find that scene. He says he immediately knew something very bad had happened, because of the look on Benn’s face. They’d been in Vietnam together, shared a flat for commuting in Berlin, Germany together, and had shared many dire situations. Benn, my rescuer.

The next day, Jack wrapped my legs in gauze, and then I prepared for a long flight to Costa Rica. I was still in bad shape, but a wonderful Flight Attendant, named Regi kept me pleasantly buzzed during the entire trip. (Must note here: Pan Am required all female pass riders to wear skirts and hose back then. Thank the good lord for gauze! After wrapping my legs, Jack helped get me into the hose.)

Although this was a bad experience, memories of my friend, Benn coming to my rescue, buying me champagne, and holding me while I sobbed, meant more to me than words can ever say.

That night, Benn was my hero.

Rest in Peace, Benn

I was feeling like I wanted to reach out to a few people on Friday night, so I sat down with my Cell Phone and dialed away. The first person wasn’t home, and so I dialed up the second person.

There was no answer, but although unusual I had thought perhaps he was getting dinner at a restaurant or something. So I left a quickie message and was just hanging up when the phone began to ring.

It showed me that it was my friend, Benn. I said hello to my friend, but it turned out it was his nephew. Who painfully told me that Benn had passed away.

Now Benn was 83. And I had known him for almost 35 years. He was the Best Man at our wedding, and we stayed with him in Miami whenever Jack was in training with Pan Am. Benn also flew for them.

Over the years the memories were good ones, and I will smile and recall my friend as my life goes on.

Rest in peace, dearest Benn. I will remember you always, and I will be forever thankful for the friendship that we shared.

Happy 33rd Anniversary to Us

Today, Jack and I celebrate 33 years of marriage. It doesn’t seem possible that it has been that long. In the grand scheme of things, 33 years is like forever in a Hollywood marriage. And at my age (62) it certainly is a large chunk of time.

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In our thirty-three years of marriage, we have had 4 White German Shepherds, Rex, Max, Fritz, and Lili. Four Wire-haired Dackels, Shubi, Greta, Arnie, and Anneliese, and lived in four homes. One was a farm in Lyndeborough, NH; a very beautiful ranch home in Punta Gorda, FL; in a motorcoach here in Meredith, NH for 9 long months; while we built our current home, and lastly, this beautiful house, that Jack and I designed.

We had four children, between us. Three are living, and they have grown up to be really good people. We also have two of the most beautiful, and wonderful grandchildren on the face of the earth!

Marriage is never easy, even if you are married to your best friend. There are days you want to murder each other, but lucky for us, those days were few and far between.

Forgiveness is so important when you live with someone this long. People do stupid things, and if you can’t forgive them, then you are with the wrong person. I am the Queen of stupid things and I am married to the King of stupid things. So it’s a good thing we forgive and forget.

You will also find during a long-term marriage (or relationship) that there will be those days when your significant other just makes you crazy. Whether it’s how they are chewing their food, or even sipping their soup, you will sit there and wonder how you never noticed this before!

But then, there are those times when a little look, the warmth of a hug, or a gentle squeeze of your hand, will make you feel loved and safe. During my illness in 2017, when I felt like I was dying, I was so scared, and Jack just kept the home fires burning, cooked my meals, did the laundry, and did not allow me to believe that I was leaving this earth.

Likewise, not even six months after that, when he got the infection in his foot that led to the amputation of his toe, I made sure I was at the hospital each day. I brought him goodies to eat, stayed to speak with each doctor, and informed Jack, he wasn’t leaving me yet.

No, marriage isn’t easy, but the pros far outweigh the cons, and life would be, so lonely, without my Jack.

Even after all these years, Jack is still the first person I want to speak to in the morning, and the last person I want to speak to at night.

I made up a short montage of our life together using one of our favorite songs. I hope you enjoy it!

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Happy Anniversary Jack!

“No Reservations”

On Valentine’s Day, I gave myself a present. One Year’s subscription to Discovery Plus. I can watch all kinds of shows from cooking to veterinary care, I can watch it all. And best of all? It’s commercial-free!

I’ve been enjoying so many shows, and once I finish binge-watching one show I move on.

A few days ago I held my breath and put on Anthony Bourdain’s “No Reservations”. I wasn’t sure I could deal with it.

You see, Tony died a few years back, by his own hand. In the end, his great depression, which was masked by a quick wit, got the best of him.

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In Tony’s show, he went all over the world telling us about the local foods and customs. His humor made us laugh and it also helped us think about how we might fit-in in these various places.

But since that day, in 2018, when Tony died, I haven’t been able to watch a show of his. However, there they were. All of his shows, commercial-free.

So I pulled myself up by my boot-straps and put on the first episode. Before I knew it, I was giggling and smiling and remembering how Tony made us all feel like we were a part of everything.

Oh, Tony. How very much you were cared about and how much you are missed.

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I’m watching the long series of shows he left us. And for a moment, Tony is back once again.

Rest in peace, dear friend.

Maribeth Dackel