CLOSE YOUR EYES. TAKE A DEEP BREATH. OPEN YOUR HEART.

SHADY DEL KNIGHT, ADMINISTRATOR

SHADY DEL KNIGHT, ADMINISTRATOR
High School Yearbook Photo

"More than a place, the Shady Dell was and will forever remain a state of mind." - Shady Del Knight

"More than a place, the Shady Dell was and will forever remain a state of mind." - Shady Del Knight
HELLO STRANGER ... IT SEEMS LIKE A MIGHTY LONG TIME!

Wednesday, April 18, 2018

Breakfast With Mother: Fond, Wistful Memories of Margaret Schneider on
the 106th Anniversary of Her Birth


Tom Anderson sitting in for Shady Del Knight this week. The 18th of April is a very important date on the Shady Dell calendar. This year, for the first time, it is a bitter-sweet occasion. Here to bring us the story is my dear friend Kathleen Mae Schneider.





BREAKFAST

WITH MOTHER

by

Kathleen Mae Schneider




It seems like my dear mother

is still here with me this morning.


Smiling through tears, I drink my coffee from
her favorite mug, taken back to a year ago on
this day. I had just given her a kiss and said,
"Happy 105th Birthday, Mom!", and she
shook her head, not quite believing
that she had lived so long.

Then, after taking a sip of high-caffeine
coffee prepared with milk from this favorite
butterfly mug of hers, she set it back on her
breakfast tray and with her characteristic
impish smile, pointed to it and said to me,
"The doctor said coffee wasn't good for me." 


The memory this cup conjures up for me is
quintessential Mother. Irrepressible, sharp of mind
and positive in outlook to the end of her life,
Mother's unique sense of humor no doubt
contributed to her longevity.

I was so fortunate to grow up in a home where we
laughed a lot. Because there wasn't a lot of money,
we didn't own a television set until I was 10,
so we made our own entertainment.

Once, Mother mistakenly hung her slacks on my
dad's side of the closet. After he squeezed into
them, he pointed to the side zipper and asked her,
"Margaret, can you please tell me how to use
the fly in these new trousers you got me?"

In addition to both my parents demonstrating how
to find such things as this to laugh about, Mother
taught me to marvel at, and be grateful for beauty
of all kinds. Flowers especially pleased her. Our
house was surrounded with annual and perennial
blooms and flowering shrubs and trees she planted.

I called Mother every evening, but often couldn't reach her
because she was outside watering her massive garden of
zinnias. (The woman next to her is my second cousin.)

Mother also grew and preserved many kinds of
vegetables, having first watched her mother feed
her large family from the Shady Dell's garden.

Growing one's own food was a necessity during the
Great Depression and Second World War, but Mother
still took pride in her Victory Garden - her hobby,
physical fitness and healing - well into her nineties.

Much of Mother's garden bounty was given away
to others. Visitors were treated to Mother's specialty -
homemade root beer - over good conversation. They
left laden with vegetables and flowers, a loaf of her
fresh baked bread, and of course, another bottle
of root beer. Any good was meant to be shared.

I think Mother's gratitude for nature's beauty and
life's blessings grew out of experiencing much adversity
in her life. The laundry list of traumas and misfortunes
she endured just in her first 16 years would take many
of us down for the count: serious illnesses, sexual
abuse, bullying, jail time for a parent, homelessness,
lack of education, and the murder of a sibling, among
others. However, she grew to be a kind and beautiful
woman, without a trace of bitterness or self pity.
No wonder my father fell in love with her!

My parents, Margaret Brown, 18, and Ralph Schneider, 25,
strolling on the Atlantic City boardwalk in the summer of
1930. (I love the icy-looking sign below the movie title
advertising early air conditioning!)

Mother personified resilience and unconditional love.
Her acceptance of others and forgiveness if they hurt
her, her humility, gentle nature and kindness, all
belied a steely toughness that triumphed over
so many tragedies.

In yet another pair of blows to their happiness,
she and my father nearly lost their first child,
my brother James, to a birth defect, and
Mother suffered terribly from a long
and serious postpartum infection.

However, this picture taken at the beach a few
years later shows a healthy young family.

Then, two years before I was born, Mother
nearly died from drinking contaminated
water from a friend's well.


(right) Mother, back home after a six-week bout with typhoid fever. She claimed living through such awful events as this only made her stronger!

Although she worked in sewing factories as a teen-
ager, she never sought any other career. However, she put her excellent seamstress skills to good use making doll clothes, Halloween costumes and school outfits.












At two and a half, I was obviously pleased with my very well dressed doll.

Six years later, I won the blue ribbon for this
"Dutch girl" number that Mother designed and
sewed for me. My father carved the wooden shoes.

Mother was proud of her "career" and considered
her 46-year, happy marriage to my father, mothering
their three children, being grandmother to seven, and
great-grandmother to six, her greatest achievements.

Mother with her grownup "kids", James, Betty and me,
at her grandson's wedding

My two children adored their Grammy! The feeling was mutual.

Great grandson Max with "Old Grammy".
(My sister is just "Grammy")

My father's death in 1980 was one of the worst
losses Mother ever suffered, but she soldiered on,
insisting on keeping busy and engaged with life,
and staying alone in her house. She worked hard
to tire herself out and helped others whenever
she could so she'd forget her problems. Loving
everyone and working hard were her solutions
to any encroaching sadness.







Mother sweeping her sidewalk.

Mother, 102, in rehab healing from hip fracture #2.
She preferred clipping coupons to the
nursing home's entertainment!

Mother and me holding one another up
after the death of my son 12 years ago

So unlike the colorfully wrapped gifts I gave her
in 2017, my only gifts to her this year are some
pink petunias I placed on her grave and this
tribute to honor her. For the rest of my life,
however, these are just some of the enduring
and precious gifts she continues to give to me:
laughter, love and forgiveness for everyone,
flowers and gardening, gratitude, faith in God
and resilience. I was blessed to be able to have
her as my mother, my best friend, counselor,
role model and inspiration for over 70
of her amazing 105 years.

Happy Birthday in Heaven, Mother!

I love you beyond measure.


Oh, and now that I'm finished with my coffee,
your mug says it best....


37 comments:

  1. Kathleen,

    Oh, what a beautiful tribute! I know this would pleasure Margaret to read. She as an extraordinary woman who survived some difficult times. Her life and values mirror my late in-laws. We just laid my 95-year-od FIL to rest almost a month ago. So your memories this morning made me smile not only because I had the privilege of getting know Margaret over the years thanks to Tom's birthday feature but because I recall how she took an interest on her 105th birthday to answer my questions. I know you miss her lots and lots but she in a heaven no doubt tending to her Zinnias(incidentally I did a Zinnias sketch on my iPad that I'll be sharing on my blog on the 30th, now I have a sweet connect with the flower - your mom.) right along side my late MIL with her marigolds. Thank you for sharing and God bless!

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    1. I apologize for the many mess ups in my grammar. I think I need another cup of coffee. Hopefully, Margaret won't frown on me for drinking a second cup. :)

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    2. Kathleen Mae SchneiderApril 18, 2018 at 10:17 AM

      You are on the same flower wave length as me, Cathy. I associate zinnias, and almost all flowers with Mother because of that large bed she planted when she had to reduce the size of her vegetable garden. It was too much for her to maintain when she aged. She just saved the dried flower heads every fall and scattered them over the ground, after my son had tilled the soil for her first, so he's also in the mix of my memories whenever I think of zinnias.

      When I went away to college, I took a large bouquet of them along with me and used them as a subject of a freshman drawing assignment. I still have my pen and ink study and it always reminds me how much of an antidote to homesickness they were! I'm anxious to see your drawing because I only know how to draw on paper, not my iPad! Flowers like zinnias are a challenge to capture because there are so many overlapping layers, aren't there?

      I can tell your grief is still fresh, as mine is nearly a year after Mother's transition. Our flower connections help soften the pain somehow, so I especially appreciate your comment. You are right, Mother would be thrilled to see how Tom put this post together for her. Also no worries on your grammar or coffee use. She would completely understand, as I sure do. (I'm not worth a thing before at least downing two cups!)

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    3. Kathleen,

      Thank you for being so forgiving with my mess ups. I will say this so you won't be expecting too much, my zinnias aren't that detailed. I really ought to make a second attempt at this flower but for now my post is set, if I get a chance then I'll sketch another and share it. I don't know that I've actually seen zinnias in a garden but surely I have and not being big on what flower is what is my excuse for not knowing. I hope with each passing day your sorrow blooms into a beautiful flower with ever memory of your mother. Have a good day and God bless!

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    4. Kathleen Mae SchneiderApril 19, 2018 at 9:12 PM

      You are welcome!
      The whole reason for art, Cathy, is to express your unique interpretation of the world using a visual 'language' that you define. What I love most about art is that there is no wrong way to draw zinnias or anything else. So I have no preconceived expectations of your work; detailed or not. I'll just like seeing and admiring you for learning how to draw on an iPad.

      If ten famous artists drew the same flowers, their work would reflect the way they alone see and experience those blooms. Each of their works would be different, all of them would 'say' "zinnia" and they would ALL be wonderful!

      I love your wish that my "sorrow blooms into a beautiful flower" every time I think of Mother. If that came true, that would result in a thousand-acre garden of zinnias. What fun THAT would be to paint!

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    5. Now, that's an inspiring vision! Have a good weekend, Kathleen!

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  2. Kathleen, you are very fortunate to have had such a wonderful mother. Lovely tribute.

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    1. Kathleen Mae SchneiderApril 18, 2018 at 10:23 AM

      Hi Kirk,
      You are so right about my good fortune at birth. My mother was the linchpin of our family and my life. I'm so glad you agree. Thank you for your visit and kind comment.

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  3. Dear Kathleen. I've been here twice already this morning, and now it is noon. I guess I just didn't know what to say earlier. This is such a lovely tribute (that's not even a good word for it)! I can see how having coffee from your mother's cup would bring so many memories to your day.

    You have the best collection of family and mom photos that really tell a wonderful story. Oh the Zinnias...I grew up with them and enjoy planting them too! Your mother had such an impressive garden of them and her vegetables.

    Over the years your mother's life has been captured by the photos of her beginning from childhood! I love the photo of your parents on their stroll down the boardwalk...a handsome couple!

    It is nice to hear that you and your mother were also great friends. Over the years, my mother and I have become more as friends, and I still get comfort from her encouraging words to me when we talk.

    Thank you for sharing these precious memories on your mother's birthday, Kathleen. I know you hold her coffee cup near and dear-I would too!

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    1. Kathleen Mae SchneiderApril 18, 2018 at 1:22 PM

      I can identify with not knowing what to say, Suzanne. That's the problem I had when Tom gave me the chance to plan this post honoring her birthday. I have so many memories that are emblematic of Mother's life and personality, it was hard to decide which to include. Then, when we sold her house, I brought home boxes and boxes of old letters and photographs. None are digitalized, so first selecting and then scanning them was a real job.

      The boardwalk picture was tucked into an old salt water taffy box that also held love letters from my father in their original envelopes with forget-me-nots hand drawn around the edges. What a find! There are many other photos that also help define my mother's place in history, and they are indeed precious and rare.

      After helping to care for her the last six years of her life, and because she was so sharp mentally, I came to know her more completely than I thought possible. She demonstrated how to age gracefully and with humor, and her friendship was as instructive as it was loving.

      Thank you for reading about my mother and helping to celebrate her birthday. Somewhere I can imagine her still shaking her head at all this attention!


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  4. Wow, your mother went through all that? She was indeed one strong woman.
    Your father really thought those were his pants?

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    1. Kathleen Mae SchneiderApril 18, 2018 at 1:48 PM

      Yes, Alex, Mother was a trooper, and she never gave up when problems appeared in her life. Instead, she survived so much by calling up amazing emotional reserves. Her strength was a model for all genders and ages.

      No, my father knew they weren't his trousers. He just liked teasing Mother because he liked to make her laugh. I learned from them both how funny irony, simple goofs and self-deprecation can be. It also keeps life from weighting us down too much.

      This quote by Chesterton applies:
      "Angels can fly because they take themselves lightly. Never forget that the devil fell by force of gravity. He who has the faith has the fun."

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  5. Omg, Kathy, the love you have shown in this post is so evident and visible!
    Margaret was a one-of-a-kind special person. A hard-working, talented, beautiful woman with so much love to give and stories to tell! Family was #1 and so apparent with her gifts of gardening, sewing (root beer making- yum!) among many other things.

    I absolutely love these golden oldie pictures (and seeing you as a youngster as well)! My favorite is the picture of your parents strolling down the boardwalk of Atlantic City.

    I truly miss our visits! I miss her humor, wit and that impish grin!

    Kathy, she was so proud of you! She would have been so flattered and humbled with your precious words. How I wish we could've see the numbers “106” collaged from clippings on the wall behind her reclining chair!

    Happy Birthday, dear Margaret! You sure were “AWESOME “! You are loved and missed!

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    1. Kathleen Mae SchneiderApril 18, 2018 at 2:30 PM

      You knew and loved her too, didn't you, Toni? You came to visit her faithfully several times in her last years, and she and I both looked forward to spending a few hours with you (and Rocky!). Even with her famous root beer long gone, and taking those inevitable mid-visit naps, she insisted we show hospitality by giving you something to take along - cookies she helped to decorate, branches from her holly tree or sprigs of silver dollar plants that grew in her yard.

      Thank you for all your friendly visits and wonderful gifts. Remember the time when the winnings from the lottery tickets you gave her equalled the number of her birthday years?

      Of course I also have to channel Mother and again thank you for saving her beloved Shady Dell. We both fully realized it was close to destruction before you stepped in and saved it for posterity. We really appreciated your time and efforts to restore it, for letting me and my family explore the property, and for enabling our visits to her childhood home with her when she was a very old lady. How lucky we were to have met you!

      Thank you for being here on this special day, Toni, and for the sincere affection expressed in your comment!

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  6. Oh, Kathleen, the first year after a loved one's death is the hardest. ::hug::

    What a beautiful tribute to your mother; I hope you continue to share her story because it's an inspiration to us all. I've experienced some adversities like your mother, and I've noticed I've sort of been slipping into bitterness and would love to not be so bitter. Margaret was amazing and I truly believe her resilience helped her; as well as you and your loving family.

    As always, thank you for sharing. I hope you have a peaceful day full of love and light.

    Happy birthday in heaven, Margaret!

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    1. Kathleen Mae SchneiderApril 18, 2018 at 6:03 PM

      Thank you, Jessica Marie! I'm happy to share my mother's story, and I'm certain it would please her if it inspires and helps others. That was what she was all about, and found it key to her healing from trauma.

      For instance, after she and my father married in the Great Depression, money was desperately scarce, and my dad pounded the pavement looking for jobs before he finally got one that paid poorly. ($35/wk.) When Christmas rolled around, they felt sorry for the children in their siblings' families, so they made clowns and dolls for them from scraps of cloth and wood. Several cousins told me that those gifts were the only ones they received some Christmases.

      Mother always told me when I'm feeling blue to not "dwell on" problems or bad feelings. That is known as "rumination" in today's psycho-jargon, and it is a professional recommendation to treat depression. Also, Mother especially found working hard, especially in her yard and garden, helpful to "keep her going", as she said.

      When she grew very old and could neither see nor hear well, she still folded laundry, dried dishes, tore bread for turkey stuffing, etc., to be active and as useful as possible. While she wanted "to know what was going on in the world", she prayed every night for God to help the situations over which she had no control. She said the Lord's Prayer and the 23rd Psalm, got comfortable in her bed, and fell asleep within minutes, without any sleep meds!

      She also was satisfied with what she had, and didn't clamor after new or expensive things to satisfy her. She preferred the old, because that is what she knew for so much of her life.

      Concerning bitterness and hatred, she told me that God tells us to not hate anyone, but to love even those who do and say the worst things to us. It's for our own good, she said. When I would express my anger at something nasty that someone did, she would say, "Now Kathy, don't you remember what I told you? You must forgive. If you don't it will 'eat at you' and you are the one who'll be hurt all over again." She lived by that. (I try, but it isn't as easy as she made it look!)

      We shared New Year's Eve for many years when I was growing up with a family that included an older man who had sexually abused her when she was a little girl. I never even knew about it until just a few years ago!

      When I asked her how she could have been so polite and nice to him given that memory, she told me that it was so far in the past that she tried to forget it and had long since forgiven him. She also felt that he consequently had suffered enough in his life after that time. What good would it have done for her to hate him now?

      Thank you for stopping by and writing your comment. It means a lot to me on her birthday and this week especially, as I think so much about Mother. It helps me not to "dwell" on my sadness at losing her!

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    2. Kathleen,

      Thank you for your reply. Your mother was so right and I can hear my grandma saying the same thing. Bitterness and anger does nothing but hurt us. I am an assault survivor and the man has since passed away. I'm experiencing some health set backs now, but I've been slowly letting go of the anger I feel. That man is gone, I am still here living on God's good green Earth, and I can still make a difference. I don't want to remain bitter; not only for my health, but it affects the people around me too. It's been a slow process, but I've made some progress in the five years.

      It seems like our elders had a lot of wisdom. My grandma died five years ago and I still miss her terrible. Your mother reminds me so much of my Nan. She often gardened, babysat me (even when I was an adult... we were close), kept active in the community and kept working as a crossing guard until one month before she passed.

      I always look forward to reading about Margaret. She certainly does sound like an amazing woman. Her spirit lives within all of us, but especially with you and your family.

      I hope that you had a peaceful day and continue to have a peaceful week.

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    3. Kathleen Mae SchneiderApril 19, 2018 at 9:48 PM

      Your Nan and my mother will live forever in our hearts, and they speak to us through our memories of them. They inspire us with their lives and well-taught lessons. Their philosophy echoed something I once read, that when awful things happen to us, we have a choice - be bitter or be better. The second one is definitely the best choice for our lives.

      I'm so sorry you carry such a heavy burden because of the assault, but I'm very glad you refer to yourself as a survivor and not a victim. Those good old ladies in our lives are somewhere cheering you on, as I am. They would be very happy to know you are well along on their road to "better" by finding ways to let go of your anger.

      You not only CAN make a difference, I think you already ARE, by doing that very thing. By making your little corner of the universe less cruel and ugly, you've taken the first steps to healing, not only your body, but the world.

      You mentioned God's green earth. Did you know that seeing the color green actually encourages cells in our bodies to heal, and that the human eye can detect more shades of green than any other color? Take a slow walk outside and notice just how much green is out there for us. It's beautiful medicine, it's free, and has only good side effects.

      Feel better soon, Jessica Marie!

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    4. Hi Kathleen,

      Really? I never knew that. I take walks daily, but the weather in Pennsylvania has been interesting the past few days. It looks like today will be beautiful; I will take a walk and notice how much green is starting to burst open.

      I started a Happiness Box project last year; every day I write something that either makes me happy or grateful, I put it into the box and I open it in the new year to count my blessings. I also add photos. While some of my friends yell at me for looking into the past at times, on the anniversary of Nan's death (25 January), I put a photo in the box of her and I, then write about lessons she taught me while she was still alive and that I am applying to my life now. I do the same thing for her birthday (4 May), except it's more gratitude while writing about a memory. I do that for my great grandma's birthday (3 May), my Pop-Pop's birthday (9 May), and my Mom-Mom's birthday (2 July). It's a nice little touch. It's a nice little balance between the current blessings and keeping the memory alive of the people who taught me ways to be grateful. I'm currently scrapbooking 2017; I am working on 2018's box as well.

      Thank you for listening and your well wishes. I hope you have a great weekend.

      Jessica

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    5. Kathleen Mae SchneiderApril 21, 2018 at 7:55 AM

      I'm very familiar with our "interesting" PA weather. Every time I think I can pack up my thermal clothing until fall, we get hit with freezing temperatures and I need to wear five layers to take my walks.

      I think The Happiness Box project, scrapbooking and focus on gratitude is a great antidote to life's downers. I've put together five memory books for others and found it was a good exercise for both creativity and gift-making. Perhaps someday I can make one for myself!

      Robert Frost said, "The best way out is always through." Some people think looking back is a way to keep problems alive, but for others it is a way to achieve closure. If it reinforces gratitude for those people and events that we hold dear, and the focus is on the positive, I can't see it as wrong.

      My therapist admonishes me to not "worship" my problems, meaning to avoid going over and over the bad stuff in my mind until it makes a literal neural path in my brain. It's easy for me to slip into that if I'm not careful.

      While others' advice (including mine...) can serve as wakeup calls and can certainly have a beneficial influence on our decisions, each of us has to intuit what's best for us. It sounds like you are on a healing path of your own making, and will ultimately make the best choices. Try to rest and have confidence in that because you've inherited some of your grandparents' wisdom and resilience.

      In the meantime, remember to take in as much GREEN as you can find!

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  7. Your mother had such a beautiful character. To be forgiving in this world is rare and wonderful. Kindness and sympathy is needed too. Your mother was an amazing person.

    I loved the photos. I saw that Clara Bow was starring in that movie! Your parents look so free and happy. I'm glad your mom had a happy life with your father.

    Your mother's gift of sewing reminded me of my mom. She sewed doll clothes and school clothes for us. I sewed those things for my daughters, along with Halloween costumes, prom gowns and bridesmaid dresses. It is lovely to have a mom who sews.

    I pray God will comfort you on this anniversary of your mother's birth. I'm glad you had her with you for such a long time.

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    1. Kathleen Mae SchneiderApril 19, 2018 at 5:18 AM

      Hi Belle!
      I am very grateful for your compliments about Mother's character. The older I get, the more I appreciate her and what she taught me. If more people lived by her philosophy, our world sure would be in better shape.

      The boardwalk picture, as well as my anecdote about the trousers, were meant to show the kind of relationship my parents had. They had the ultimate respect for one another and really enjoyed each others' company. My dad's humor was perfectly matched to her personality and their life together, and their easy interactions and making one another laugh over simple things made our home a safe and happy place.

      It's wonderful that your mother's sewing influenced you so much, and that you made all those special days for your daughters even more so with your sartorial skills.

      I most definitely didn't inherit my mother's talent in that area. I am too creative to follow the written directions in patterns I guess. Determining which seams go in which places confounds me, and avoiding getting my own clothes caught along with the project at hand under the presser foot of the sewing machine is a problem I've had more than once!

      I agree that I was very fortunate to have Mother with me for 70 years. My father died when I was 33 and there is still a real sense of incompleteness at losing him so soon. My children never knew him, and I didn't get to spend the time I would have liked with him or write down his stories. I prayed that Mother would live longer so I could be by her side and return the love she'd given me so freely. I wanted my kids to know and learn from her too. Thank God we were given that opportunity!

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  8. I am here late but meant with heartfelt affection. I lost my mom in January and no matter how old we are or how old they were when they passed, they are still our moms and we now are orphans for the first time. At least we have been blessed with a mother who had beautiful souls and your mom was one. I love to see the butterfly on her cup because the butterfly in Native teaching means Joy in life. If you look up totem animals you can read more of the meaning and what it can teach us. I love that old photo of her and her husband on the docks with a Clara Bow movie being played in the background. This is a loving tribute to a grand lady who overcame much hardship in her youth to make her stronger and gain a wisdom that she could bestow onto her family especially when you lost your son....something no mother should have to go through. My thoughts are of you and the love your mom gave to you.

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    1. Kathleen Mae SchneiderApril 19, 2018 at 10:29 PM

      You and I not only carry our Mother's genes, we hold their love deep within us. I think they left a portion of their "beautiful souls" back here with us, to guide and nurture us even though they are gone.

      You are right, Birgit. No parent should ever have to bury their child. One time, not long after my son died, I was in my flower garden feeling very sad. A wounded butterfly landed on me and refused to leave for many minutes. It seemed metaphorical when it fluttered away on broken wings, still alighting on many colorful flowers, sipping their sweet nectar before it disappeared.

      That's why I so appreciate your visit and for telling me about the Native symbolism of the butterfly. I didn't know that, but I can see why it was chosen as a totem for Joy in life. My mother certainly possessed all of that and perhaps that is why she loved the mug.

      Now, because of your kind comment, I will remember what butterflies represent and find joy wherever I can. Our broken wings can still fly!

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  9. This is absolutely the most beautiful tribute I've read in quite some time. Side flies, Humor, flowers, homemade root beer, sweeping the sidewalk, and all those events in between that shape our lives and fill our hearts with love enough to last beyond the living years. You've given her a gift today, just as you did me. Thank you.

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    1. Kathleen Mae SchneiderApril 19, 2018 at 10:53 PM

      I'm so glad you enjoyed Mother's birthday tribute, Diedre! I could have written three times as much to describe her, complete with photographs, but I tried to pick and choose a representative sampling that would encapsulate her personality.

      These memories and pictures do fill our hearts with enough love to transcend Mother's time on earth, and create a gift big enough to give to kind readers like you. Mother always said that the good things we receive in life are meant to be shared with others.

      I admire your writing style that says so much without a lot of words. (That's hard for me..Just ask Tom!) Thank you for such an expressive and delightful comment Diedre.

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  10. Kathleen, I'm so glad you shared this special day with us. Your Mother was such a fabulous lady and getting to know her here has been a joy. I still remember reading about her passing and feeling like I lost a friend even though I've never met her. Such an inspiration. She's what made the phrase "The greatest generation" come to life. I absolutely loved the photos. I love photography because it captures that very moment..that very look..the happiness, the sadness even and completes the story..like frosting on a cake! Her love of flowers makes me smile because I love mine so much! I'm grateful to still have my Mom who will be 92 in May. Like your Mom, she lived through the Depression, World War II and many tragedies in her life. I know one day I'll be writing and remembering and I hope I can put it into words as wonderful as you've done here. I've said this before when I hear of someone passing who's lived a long life, is life really ever long enough? For us left behind it seems to have gone way too fast. 105 is so amazing but I know you would give anything for just one more day. Big hugs to you and a Happy Birthday in Heaven to your dear Mom.

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    1. Kathleen Mae SchneiderApril 20, 2018 at 7:42 AM

      Hi there, yaya!
      I'm always happy to hear from one of Mother's "inner-net "friends. You are right - although she said that it was for her, 105 years wasn't enough time for me.

      She never would have admitted to pride, but whenever I read such comments as yours, she would positively beam. After a few minutes she once asked me with mock ignorance, "Tell me again how they know so much about me?" Later, after reading some of the last posts I composed in which I revealed more details about her, she clucked her tongue and said, "You rascal!"

      No matter that she could never quite wrap her mind around the technology. Even as I sat beside her and showed her how I typed or placed photographs of her as a little girl and young woman on the iPad screen, or she saw Tom's post about her, it was as though I was a magician waving a wand to make things happen. The nice part of the
      technology was the capability to enlarge the photos and text so she could see them in spite of her failing eyesight. I had to pick the right time to show her pictures of the Shady Dell however, because they always made her just a little sad.

      Funny story: I once showed her an app that I put on my iPad to entertain my elderly cat. Digital mice scurry all over the screen and appear to run off the edges at random to encourage the cats to pounce and "catch" them.

      When I called up the cat game to just show her, she started to thump the screen repeatedly with her finger, totally absorbed by the frantic activity. Doing chores nearby, I heard a lot of beeps coming from the iPad on her lap. Every few minutes, she raised her voice: "Come back here, you rats!", "Hold still so I can get you!" or "Got one!". She got a pretty high score, all things considered, and the game was more successful for HER mental stimulation and eye-hand coordination than it ever was for the cat! : )

      If I may offer some advice to you, yaya, that I'm sure you already know because of your love of pictures: Keep your camera handy and ready to go when you're with your mother, and if you can, record conversations. Take a LOT of photographs and jot down notes. Ask a lot of questions and share your memories of growing up with her to 'prime the pump'. Even a few words will suffice. Guaranteed - you will not regret that time years from now!

      Your mother is living history and a vessel for the knowledge she acquired over the span of her long life. It is really important to have it recorded, and an artifact for the future that you and future generations will treasure. Because I did that, I can call memories and films of Mother up any time I want, and can share them.

      Thanks for taking time and writing this empathic comment. Most of all, just love and ENJOY your flowers and your wonderful mom!!


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  11. Beautiful, wonderful and fabulous !
    You are so lucky to have all the photos of your Mum. I lost all my family photos in a wildfire and I miss them.

    cheers, parsnip

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    1. Kathleen Mae ClunkApril 20, 2018 at 7:53 AM

      Losing those pictures was incredibly tragic, Parsnip! I realize my good fortune to have so many of both Mother's and my own in my possession.

      Although the paper ones are gone, you have your memories - technicolor, surround-sound and still safe, there in your heart.

      Thank you for being here, reading this post and writing to me!

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    2. Kathleen Mae SchneiderApril 20, 2018 at 8:02 AM

      P.S. I meant to also thank you for those terrific three adjectives!

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  12. Tears ... ya ... meouw ... Love, cat.

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    Replies
    1. Kathleen Mae SchneiderApril 20, 2018 at 7:59 AM

      Hopefully there are some smiles as well as tears! Thanks for stopping by, cat.

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  13. A tribute and a half to a lovely mother and obviously a lovely person. How fortunate you were to have her so long in your life.

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  14. Kathleen Mae SchneiderApril 23, 2018 at 12:04 PM

    Thank you for reading our tribute to my mother, Cheryl-Lee. A lot of people who knew her often said she was lovely - even at 105. Would that we all would age with her grace!

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  15. Cathy -
    Kirk -
    Suzanne-
    Alex-
    Toni-
    Jessica Marie-
    Belle-
    Birgit-
    diedre-
    YaYa-
    Gayle-
    cat-
    Cheryl-Lee-

    Thank you, all of you, for your wonderful comments, and thank you, dear Kathleen, for putting together another touching tribute to your mother Margaret as we mark the date of her birth 106 years ago.

    This year, for the first time, your post was not only heartwarming, it was heartrending. How I wish you and I could present a follow-up post, as we have in years past, showing pictures taken at Margaret’s house as she celebrated her birthday surrounded by pretty decorations, cards, gifts and waves of visitors. For me the best part was seeing mother in her favorite chair, your iPad in her lap, scrolling through our post as you read to her the kind and supportive comments written by admirers around the world. How I wish I could see one more time the expression of joy and wonder written on that dear lady’s face knowing that her extended family on the “inner net” had come to say hello and to congratulate her on a long life, a life very well lived.

    Thank you again, Kathleen, for doing this important work with me. I promise that Mother will always be remembered and honored, her amazing life celebrated, as long as I am able to continue blogging.

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  16. What a beautiful tribute. I wish I could have met Margaret, even if just for a few minutes to share her optimism. The world seems in short supply of people like Margaret these days.

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