Category Archives: life stories

A Peony For My Mother

There are things that you’ll remember in the oddest of times; remarkably some extremely trivial, after someone close to you has gone on.
Time pulls your heartstrings out of it and untangles the ribbons that once held your heart so interwoven with another.

Finally, you can breathe again and be filled up with just the simple memories. You now can look at a photo and see that your loved one was smiling and enjoying some momentary happiness. This doesn’t lessen the longing or the missing, just maybe the tears.

I choose to retell a time in the summer of 1980, it’s hot and early June, I came to visit my mom. I moved out in 1979 because I thought that this was some kind of requirement as I wasn’t in college. In this era, if you weren’t backward thinking, you weren’t thinking. It was fun visiting my mom back then, we always had a very rich engaging conversation and I loved our visits.

Looking out onto the “screen porch”, which is what we called our four season room that my father single-handedly built, and don’t you forget it, the table was set with a jug of sun tea, glasses, and a small cake. I smiled as I looked down on it seeing the old chewed on Tupperware glasses, grandma Nona “Banna” old plates, the old flocked tablecloth that had been washed so many times the print was coming off in some places! Last but not least, was the ashtray overflowing with spent butts and perhaps a nighttime deck soiree.

There it is, I think now, a true snapshot of times ago.

Anyway, I called out for my mom, she responded that she was outback. I found her on her knees weeding her flower beds. She and my father were extremely prideful on how manicured their home was. They had a glorious garden reaping with a bountiful harvest as well as these prizewinning favorite flowers; pink peonies, and yellow roses.
I joined my mother sitting in the grass and began plucking weeds by hand, following her lead. We talked about the nice weather and then on to the flowers. She began to tell me how the bees were attracted to the beautiful show the flowers were putting on. She went on to say that her observation of the bees was that even they would compete to land on the flower. We began to get sunburned as we chatted about the flowers, we decided to go get our tea.

Mom began tea with a freshly lit cigarette and of course, I smoked then too. We went on at least another hour with jokes and conversation.

On my way home in the car, I realized that my mother was talking about me the entire time. So I broke up with my boyfriend and put on a bra! I planted a pink peony bush in my yard to honor her because nothing has ever been the same since.

A true snapshot of times ago for me means a peony for my mother and memories that just maybe provoke more smiles than tears.

Happy Mother’s Day.2018-05-14 13.00.16

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Dunes Beach Party

 

Oh how I remember those fun times so fondly, where teenage hanging out reigned supreme!

Summer was always so short (i.e. having fun), so gather your friends and get it together! Parties, bonfires in the woods and of course beach party flings were filling the calendar quickly and soon I’d be a senior in high school. There wasn’t a minute to waste, no not thinking about even making future plans like college or classes to take, but I mean getting to the mall (yes even back then there was one)!  There were new bikinis to buy and lip gloss and records (yes I’m that old, also shut up!) and possible concert tickets! Oh those were the days when the minimum wage was low and stuff cost less and I was skinny enough to make a halter out of knotted together bandanas and shoes were always optional!

Within two days of the last day of school car loads of teens made mass exoduses out of their respective subdivisions and out into the wanderlust of their souls. The forest preserves back then were filled with excellent music blasting and super championships of Frisbee, and if one wanted to, there was a guy in a van that would give you an excellent tattoo! How innocent were those that actually did that kind of stuff (no, I didn’t) but actually one never heard of blood borne diseases just yet. Nor did anyone actually die of such an adventure, that we were aware.

So the Frisbees flew and the days were long and the music was as hot as the pavement and it was all good. Especially if one could pack in at least six friends at one time into your car or jeep or special guy’s muscle car and cruise anywhere!  There were nice beaches along Chicago’s lakefront, but the older one got the further from home we wanted to go.

So, the Dunes of Indiana or Michigan called our names. Plans were made, cars were loaded with Styrofoam coolers of Pepsi and bags of Lays chips and with Coppertone oil and chewing gum, sunglasses, cigarettes, transistor radio and towels were filled. As our parents waved a quick goodbye, a virtual parade of cars gather at the station to fill the tanks with gas and on the road we went!  Our heads and arms hanging out open windows, bare feet on dashboards and smiles from ear to ear. The parade proceeded following the one and only guy who knew how to get there! (No google maps people…just handwritten directions or yes an atlas/map was used). The car I was in had one because my dad threw it at me before I left; dad telling me to “give it to the guy driving” because you will get lost!

We arrive! Fabulous expanse of beach lay before us, the weather was hot, we scoped our spots and laid down our blankets as far from people as we could. We nicknamed our spot Camp Beach!  We had the best time, all of use sunburnt tan lines and happiness tired; the girls decide to go to find the beach house to use the washroom. When we came out with freshly rinsed feet (shower was free) we headed back to our blanket camp. Dunes contain ups and downs and they sometimes go for miles and miles but your feet were baby smooth (no pedicures needed the sand provided them) we four were nearly back when we realized we were being followed by four guys we did not know! When we approached our blankets, the followers tried to talk to us and we expressed that we were taken by these guys here, they said oh ok. But they proceeded to park themselves right next to us! Well yes, you guessed it a horrible fight ensued and punches in our honor were thrown. A melee of sand was tossed and naturally a park ranger happened by, all was ended and everyone went their separate ways. We had enough of sun and fun and packed up Camp Beach. As we did this the boys were getting in their respective cars to drive and asked me for their wallets (the boys put their wallets into my beach bag for safe keeping so they didn’t lose them or get them wet)!! But when I reached into the bag, they were all gone! Every single wallet was stolen by those creepy guys! It was the worst ending a beautiful day could have. Not one of us ever recovered any of our wallet contents and lessons were learned that day!

We all could not wait to get home, and now with sunburn all I wanted was my mommy! So much for growing up!