Tag Archives: memories

Mom-in-law


Hello Everyone!

One day several years ago, my husband and I were visiting his parents when Mark’s Mom and Dad began to debate the cost of the dining room set (table, chairs and china cabinet) they had purchased some 40 to 50 years earlier.  Once the debate progressed to a certain point, Mark’s Mom announced she would prove that she was right.  She stood up, walked out of the room, came back into the room with a pleated cardboard folder, opened the pleats, put her hand one time into a particular spot and pulled out the receipt for said furniture.  (For the record, she remembered the price correctly before checking.)  Mark’s eyes were dancing, but I dissolved into laughter right there in the den.  When she asked me what was so funny, I explained that she had attained a level of organization I could never hope to attain.

Another favorite story is the time she had to go out of town to Andalusia (Alabama, not Spain) for something, which is usually a full day’s trip.  To surprise her, my Dad-in-law pulled all of the furniture out of the dining room, including the removal of all of the china from the china cabinet, and painted the dining room for her.  The paint job was perfect.  He then very carefully put everything back in the room, put the china back in the cabinet exactly the way it came out, and had the room looking spectacular.  When she came home, what she noticed was that the china cabinet was off-center by one inch, whereupon he emptied the china cabinet once more to put the cabinet where she wanted it.

Then there was the day that Mark’s dad decided to replace the baseboards in the kitchen.  He had been talking about this project for a while, and Mark had already offered to bring down his portable mitre saw to help him when he got ready to do it – all we asked was that he let us know in advance so we could plan.  Mark’s mom called us that Saturday morning, speaking just barely above a whisper, to let us know his dad had decided to go forward with Project Baseboard on his own, and she really thought he might need some help.  We threw the mitre saw in the car and drove down to Montgomery from Alexander City, about an hour’s drive, and sure enough, the mitre saw came in handy.

I don’t know how fond of me she was when Mark and I first started dating, although she predicted that I would be the one he married because my birthday was December 27.   This was not based on astrology, which she had little time for, but on the fact that her daughter had married a man whose birthday is December 23, and her son married a woman whose birthday is December 22.  She was right.  By the time we got married, she loved me dearly and ever since we got married she always treated me like I was one of her own children.

During the five years I was in law school at night, she fed me supper three times a week when school was in session – their house was just down the street from my law school, and the only way my schedule worked was for me to leave straight from work, grab something to eat at her house, then head over to school.

I never once walked into her house without being welcomed by her special smile, a hug, and the comment, “My, how pretty you look.”  And even though I know for a fact that I didn’t always look pretty, I never doubted for a minute that she meant it.

When Mark’s Dad died in 2001, she had to learn to live on her own.  It wasn’t easy for her, but I admired the courage that it took for her to take each step forward in rebuilding her life.

When Kayla came to live with us December 1, 2004, she fell in love with her immediately.  I can remember the first time she baby-sat for us – we had warned her in advance that three year olds and sugary foods did not mix well.  When we came back to pick Kayla up, Kayla was bouncing off the walls and ceiling.  Mark’s mom looked just like a kid whose hand was caught in the cookie jar as she confessed that she had “only” given Kayla a piece of chocolate cake and some candy.  We laughed about it; there is, after all, a reason that what happens at Grandma’s stays at Grandma’s.

She hated having her picture taken and the number of pictures we have of her smiling is very limited – you had to take the picture when she didn’t know you were taking it and she was concentrating on something else.  I am very proud that I have some.

Here she is with Kayla on the first Halloween Kayla was with us:

Kayla's first Halloween

And here is a picture I took when the entire family got to meet Andy and Anne’s first-born child, Carter, her first great-grandchild.

Mom Eady meets Carter

She fell and broke her hip in 2016, and things were never the same for her afterwards.  She passed away this past year right after Christmas.  Everyone in her family, including me, misses her and we grieve but there is part of us too that is grateful that she is out of pain and reunited with Mark’s Dad.  And, of course, all of us believe that we will see her again some day.

So sadly I say “au revoir” to my Mom-in-law, say a silent prayer of thanksgiving for her entry into the next great adventure, and look forward to the day when I see her again, and she smiles at me and says once again,”My, how pretty you look!”

Have a great day.

Nancy

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Merry Christmas!


Good morning Everyone!

We got the tree and other Christmas decorations at our house up last week.  As I share them with you, I also am wishing each of you a Merry Christmas or other holiday greeting of your choice!  Here’s to a fond farewell to 2014, and a hearty hello to 2015!

Manger Scene

This is our family crèche, also known as our family manger scene. This is the first time in three Christmases that I have been able to put it up the way I like – the rental house we lived in for two years did not have a good place. It never feels quite like Christmas without the crèche up!

small tree 1, fiber optic

The last Thanksgiving that Mark’s Dad was alive (he died in May 2001), he and Mark’s mom and Mark and I went on a trip to Gatlinburg and Pigeon Forge in our campers. We stopped at a Christmas store, and I saw my first fiber optic tree there, and bought it. We still put it out every year, and (knock on wood) it still is shining brightly.

small tree 2, fiber optic

The fiber optic cables shift between different colors.

Tree 2, pre-lit, white lights

Mark is a white light Christmas person, and I am a colored light Christmas person. We thought never the twain should meet until we bought last year’s pre-wired artificial tree – it has a dual personality!

Tree 1, pre-lit, colored lights

Have a very Merry Christmas!

Nancy

11 Years Ago Today….


Good morning Everyone!

11 years ago today, I was preparing to take two depositions that I had been trying to schedule for months in Birmingham, Alabama on a relatively small case.  I had some time before I had to leave, since they didn’t start until 12 or 1, so was reviewing some notes when Terri, my assistant at the time (back when I had an assistant), came in and said, “Hey, the World Trade Center’s on fire.”  I didn’t understand what she meant, so I asked and she told me that a plane had just crashed into the World Trade Center.  

I remember a sort of “that’s too bad” feeling, the kind you get when a plane crashes anywhere, saying a quick prayer for the victims and wondering how on earth a plane could get that far off course before loading my stuff up and heading out for the depositions.

We got both of them done, and on my way home I stopped at a Birmingham mall to buy some make-up.  When I stopped, I was surprised to see that many of the stores were already closed at 3 in the afternoon, and the rest of them were closing at 6.   I decided then I needed to call Mark (who, due to his father’s death and the winding up of the family business had been between jobs and able to watch the news all day) to find out what was going on.  I had a bag phone then, and you didn’t use them as casually as we use cell phones now. 

I told Mark about the stores’ closing and how surprised I was, and that’s when Mark said, “I don’t think you realize how big this really is.”  That’s when I learned for the first time about the second plane, the towers falling, the Pentagon crash and the field in Pennsylvania.  When I got home that night, I was stunned as I watched the footage of the planes crashing into the towers and the Pentagon and horrified as I watched the Towers crumble into themselves in a cloud of toxic dust.  I was shocked and grieved by the senseless loss of life. 

I remember watching the Memorial Service a few days later at the National Cathedral.  I watched our nation’s leaders file into the church for the ceremony.  Leaders from both parties.  Political opponents who, for at least one brief moment, remembered that they were Americans first.  I watched as then-President Bush got up to speak that day, and noticed that there was not one face in the audience at the Cathedral that envied him being in that position on that day.

For a few weeks, we were all Americans first and everything else second.  Family and God suddenly seemed a lot more important than it had before September 11 and a nation grieved with the victims and their family.

11 years later, September 11, 2001 has changed our nation and many families in ways too profound to comprehend, from the very littlest of items, like the fact that my daughter will never know the feeling of watching breathlessly at the arrival gate for your grandparents to get off the plane as the passengers come down the gangplank, to those irreplaceable losses that leave aching, unfillable  holes, like the death of a loved one. 

I wish September 11, 2001 had not happened.  The costs of that day are still too high and too hard to bear.  A very small part of me, though, wishes that, without the same cost, we as a nation could find ourselves back in that place where we are all Americans first, everything else second.  This feeling doesn’t mean that we all have to agree on everything  all the time, or even most of the time.  It just means that, at the end of the day, we realize that those things that connect us are far stronger than the things that drive us apart.

And my last thought last night before I went to sleep?  One more prayer that, at least for today, we remain safe and whole once more.

Nancy

The Magic of the Little White House


Hi Everyone! 

There was an article on the Atlantic web site (http://www.theatlanticwire.com/global/2011/04/worlds-last-typewriter-factory-closed/37013/ ) yesterday stating that the last typewriter manufacturing factory in the world is closing its doors.  While there is a dispute as to whether that is true, see http://www.foxnews.com/scitech/2011/04/26/worlds-typewriter-factory-shutting-doors/, all sources seem to be in agreement that the typewriter is reaching the end of its days. 

 When I think of a manual typewriter, the typewriter that comes to mind is the typewriter that has been used by four generations in my family, starting with my Great-Grandmother, and ending so far with Kayla. 

The typewriter used to sit in that most magical of places to a child growing up, the Little White House.  The Little White House was a small two bedroom, one bath house behind my grandparents’ house on their land.  When I was very small, my grandparents used it as a place for my great-grandmother to live independently, but near enough to them that they could help her. 

1969, Grandma and Grandpa's House

 

1969, The Little White House, from the Back Patio of the main house

By the time I was old enough to stay with  my sisters at my grandparents for a couple of weeks at a time, my great-grandmother had died, and the Little White House served as Grandpa’s shop and storage room.  Grandpa liked to fix up clocks, so the second (middle) room of the house had an assortment of clocks hanging on the wall, along with the tools needed to fix them.   Each of us, his grandchildren, have at least one clock that he fixed in our house.  Mine is a Seth Thomas clock, manufactured in the United States under a patent issued in 1890.  (I took the face glass out to avoid extra glare in the picture, but it is still intact.)  

In the front room, there was a solid desk, probably oak or maple, and the typewriter sat there.  Grandpa would use that typewriter to write letters.  One of our favorite things to do while we were at Grandma and Grandpa’s was to go into the Little White House and bang on the typewriter to our heart’s content.

There were many other objects of interest in the house; I remember an old bed, and trunks, cabinets and cupboards that were full of fascinating objects, including old family photographs that introduced me to a whole generation of my family that had passed on long before I was born.  The desk contained Great-Grandma’s efforts to trace the history of the family, and at the time I saw it she had traced it back to the Revolutionary War. 

This was the last page of her research, and it was typed using the same typewriter that Kayla is using in the picture above.   The handwriting is Great-Grandma’s also.

This was Great-Grandma shortly before she moved into the Little White House.

One of the pictures we found in the Little White House was the following picture, which shows my Grandfather’s family when he was around 10 or 11.

On the left side, my grandfather is in front, with Great Grandma standing behind him, and Great Grandpa further behind her.  This picture was taken somewhere around 1926 or 1927.  Pretty amazing stuff, isn’t it?

Grandma and Grandpa moved into a smaller house in the late ’80’s, but sold the old house to another couple and the Little White House is still standing.  I’m glad it’s still there, but  I don’t need to go into it again; I prefer to remember it the way it was when I was a child, fascinating, mysterious and full of treasures.

Do you have any such secret places from your childhood, magical places that were filled with thrills and adventures every time you walked in?  If so, please share your story in the comments.  I’d love to hear from you!

Have a great day everyone!

Nancy