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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Memories From My Youth

I was thinking about family recently. Growing up, I recall that my mother’s family got together a lot. When I was very young, we all met up at my Grandmother’s House in Brighton, Massachusetts. She had a three-story home, that at one time or another had housed Grandma and PapaFred; her parents; her sister, Tilly, and Tilly’s son, George; Papa Fred’s sister, Hedwig and her husband Abert; my Mom and Dad; and my Uncle Bob and his wife Cynthia and their two children Carl and Erica.

Now, these people all passed through the house at one time or another, never all at once, but somehow, Murdock Street was the home base for many years.

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Family always gathered at Grandma’s house to celebrate birthdays, anniversaries, and holidays. It was always so much fun. Good food, a lot of laughs, and a lot of hugs. My memories of those long-ago days are still very strong. I recall each family member, be they my Mom’s brother and his family, or all of Papa Fred’s family, as he had many brothers and sisters.

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Papa had a heart attack when I was about 10 years old and Grandma and Papa move closer to us in Falmouth, on Cape Cod. They moved three streets away from us, and I remember running through the woods to their house. The door was always open and they were always happy to see me.

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Grandma Honey & Papa Fred

The family parties continued, although I admit, they’d gotten smaller because slowly, the family was dying off. Papa was the youngest in his family and I recall his brothers and sisters passing early on. All except the eldest in the family, Hedwig, and she lived to be very, very, old.

In any case, after a few years, Grandma and Papa needed more help and so they bought a house with my Mom and Dad. It was a beautiful big home. Which meant, the family parties continued.

It was great because All the cousins were getting married and having children, and suddenly the parties were filled with babies, toddlers, and children! There was a small lake down the road and in the summer, during the cookouts, this meant swimming times too!

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When parties were planned, everyone came. They came to see Grandma. She really loved family and would plan everything and call everyone. Mom would do most of the cooking, with Uncle Betty by her side, and Uncle George and my Dad were great at flipping burgers and hotdogs.

I can still taste my Mom’s potato salad! And why is it that the watermelon tasted so much better when we were all sitting on the fence spitting seeds?

I miss those days. I miss all those people. I miss the family gatherings when we all were together. They do not happen anymore. My sister Melodie and one cousin, Janet and I get together twice a year. But gone are the days of those big family gatherings.

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Right now I am trying to establish a time each summer when I share beach time with my grandchildren. I want them to have the Cape Cod experience. I want them to know salty air, sunsets into the ocean and cookouts that last forever. I want them to spit watermelon seeds while they’re sitting on a fence and Dairy Queen runs on a hot summer night!

So many wonderful memories of my own childhood.

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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 humour.

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 Mom 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 Hubby 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!

In Memoriam

Today is the thirty-third anniversary of the accident that took my beloved daughter, Katie from our lives. Many years ago I wrote about the accident, and the things I could recall. You can read that post HERE.

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The 13th of June is a somber day for me. and I think it always will be. At this point in life, I get quite angry that Katie did not live to grow up. Never knew her first love, went to a Prom, had children, or could be whatever it was that she wanted to be in this life. It was all taken from her, and from those of us, that love her.

Below you will find a montage of pictures of my darling little girl. While putting this together, I was struck by the fact that one of the hardest things as a parent is when you realize that a certain picture of your child, is the very last picture you have.

 

Would you know my name
If I saw you in heaven?
Would it be the same
If I saw you in heaven?
I must be strong and carry on
‘Cause I know I don’t belong here in heaven
Would you hold my hand
If I saw you in heaven?
Would you help me stand
If I saw you in heaven?
I’ll find my way through night and day
‘Cause I know I just can’t stay here in heaven
Time can bring you down, time can bend your knees
Time can break your heart, have you begging please, begging, please
Beyond the door, there’s peace I’m sure
And I know there’ll be no more tears in heaven
Would you know my name
If I saw you in heaven?
Would it be the same
If I saw you in heaven?
I must be strong and carry on
‘Cause I know I don’t belong here in heaven

Clipper Lane

I was thinking about my childhood the other day, and I was recalling my childhood home on Clipper Lane. This was the house my parents brought me home to when I was born. It is where I spent the first ten years of my life. Even now, when I think of places that I felt really grounded and safe, Clipper Lane is at the top of the list.

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Whenever I go back to Falmouth, I always go by and say hello to my old homestead. It is still there and the new family that lives there loves my old home too, and take very good care of it.

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This house is a five-minute walk from the beach, and a five-minute walk in the opposite direction takes you into town. The perfect place.

I guess that was why, when my parents decided to sell it and move to the other side of town, I was really devastated. I remember feeling like my entire world had been turned upside down. Which, looking back wasn’t true because we were moving 2.7 miles away from my much-loved home on Clipper Lane. But to me, it was the end of the world!

I had to start in a new school, meet new kids, and carve out a whole new life as a fifth grader. I was terrified, but eventually, I settled in, only to be moved two years later to another home that was 4.4 miles in the opposite direction.

I’m not sure how military kids do it because it was really tough for me, and I never even left Falmouth. But somehow, that first move away from Clipper Lane never really left me.

Sometimes I dream about moving back to Falmouth, but I know it wouldn’t be the same. So I will just keep going back for short visits. Enjoying every moment that I can while I am there.

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