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Monday, March 22, 2010

My parents were married 69 years ago today

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In my grandmother's dreams, Mom was supposed to play Chopin to a hushed audience in Carnegie Hall, marry an ambassador and cook flawless Cornish hens for him and their international guests. Mom was piano tutored, Horace Mann schooled, Smith Colleged, Columbia Universitied, and engaged to that would-be ambassador who made it to Life magazine's cover in the 1950s. Though there was a lot of brilliant material to work with in this girl nicknamed Bobby, her mother always said that raising her alone as a single mother (Grandma Olive was an artist-designer, divorced from Grandpa Sidney when Mom was six) was like raising an army. Mom climbed, crawled, rolled, cartwheeled and otherwise got through the rooms of their house in every way except walking, while Grandma Olive finessed the alignment of delicate tracing paper for wallpaper designs taped to walls. In school Mom swam, dived, and played tennis, basketball and field hockey ambidextrously. No wonder she was voted Best Athlete at every school she attended. Her disciplined fingers played Rachmaninoff's Flight of the Bumble Bee like it was the soundtrack of her encyclopedic mind, and all this put her on course to be the wow! Grandma Olive envisioned when this Bachrach portrait was taken. Bobby in this picture is posing as Barbara in a dress her mother would have spent an entire day scouring NYC for, with Bobby in tow, tormented.

With all that inborn exuberance and strength, and the preparation Grandma helped with, basically, she wasn't supposed to marry my father. He was a Virginian gentleman with red hair like Thomas Jefferson's, but without the worldly substance that might have reassured Grandma Olive. And he wasn't just not wealthy. He was poor. And why was he poor? He had chosen a profession as a Baptist minister, which just made him even less appealing to my grandmother, who explored lots of religions in her lifetime, but not the unsophisticated, unrefined, tacky Baptist church.

Before meeting Dad, in addition to her physical, musical and mental energy, Mom was also brimming with spiritual vigor, debating over a vibrating saxophone in a jazz bar the merits of various religions with Columbia classmates. That spirituality exploded after she heard the Gospel and was offered the chance to become a born again Christian when she took her music students to church in Fairfax, Virginia, where they went to different churches each Sunday. Maybe singing The Old Rugged Cross and having no stand-up-sit-down high liturgy in the Baptist Church was just what her spiritual self wanted, in contrast to those fancy schools and a mother whose standards were impossibly high.

So what is a born again protestant Christian who is Bobby the smart pianist tomboy to do with all that inborn abundance? Either become a missionary or marry a minister. When she eventually met a tall, young, handsome redhead (she loved red hair) who had just become a pastoral intern at the big Southern Baptist church where she had started playing piano, and they shook hands, she knew she would marry him, which she did, March 22, 1941. Then she birthed and raised eight kids (I'm #8), directed the church music program, wrote music (her hymn A Christian Home written to Sibelius' Finlandia tune is sung in most evangelical churches in the U.S. on Mother's Day), led Bible studies, mentored women, taught Sunday School, and played hymns and choruses on the piano that became rhapsodies flooding out the open country church windows into the farm fields along with birdsong from the trees. I think the soybeans grew tendrils like treble clefts those years.

My mom did feed international guests - graduate students at MSU from India, Thailand and China, and half a dozen Thai high schoolers who lived with us in our big wide-open house, including my beautiful sister DeeDee. Mom and Dad were married 54 years until my dad died of lung cancer, though he never smoked. Mom died of Alzheimer's two years later - what a mind she lost! She had channeled every molecule of physical, mental, musical and spiritual energy to God, to my dad, to her family, to the congregation, and to the world through her precious hospitality (she loved to make curried rice for our Indian friends) and her daily prayers for every world leader - around 200 of them - that began at 4am, on her knees, in the dark. I think she didn't need to marry an ambassador. She was one.

I'm sorry I didn't manage to get a photo of Mom and Dad together before this post. You might have noticed that this wedding anniversary musing had little to say about my dad. Maybe one of these memorials will focus on him, but frankly, I do not carry as much of him inside me as I do Mom.
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100 comments:

Bella Rum said...

How beautiful this is, Ruth. What an incredible life she lived. She didn't allow her gifts to languish. You must be so proud of her.

Bella

Deborah said...

Ruth, this is SUCH a well-written piece. I can't help but be aware of the quality of your craft even as I am pulled into the subject.
Your mother was quite a woman and you've told her story in a way that would surely please her, I am certain.
Rather amazing that such a free-spirited person became a born-again Christian with, from my point of view, all the restrictions that implies.

Susan said...

Your mother was a remarkable woman with such strong character that she chose to go her own way instead of letting herself be overwhelmed by and subjected to her mother's vision of what she should be. I can just imagine what your grandmother must have said, "What did I do to deserve such disloyalty from my daughter?" or something along those lines.

You are very much your mother's child, Ruthie...a woman of remarkable talent in your own right. This post is a lovely gift to your mother. It's sad that she isn't here to open it.

Manda said...

For some reason, I can't stop tearing up at that last line. I wish I could have met her. Though I would not have "known" her as well as I do through your words now.

Mrs. M. said...

This is beautiful...capturing their uniqueness as individuals and a couple. I'm so blessed, along with all of my generation and the next, to have them as grandparents.

These are some days of missing people for me, and this hits the spot.

Thanks--I love you, Aunt Ruth!

Pamela Terry and Edward said...

What an interesting life they must have shared with you! Lovely tribute to them. Your mom sound like quite a life force!

♥ Kathy said...

I loved this Ruth! My husband is from a family of 8 kids and I'm from a family of 6 kids.

Shattered said...

Wow! Your mom sounds like she was such a vibrant woman. What an honor you have given both your parents to write about them here. BTW, I too love red-headed men and I finally found and married one... ;)

lesleyanne said...

Wonderful post, my mommy. I see so much of you in grandma's portrait, and even a bit of myself. She was such an amazing woman, to be descended from a person so unbelievably talented and gifted. Thank you for sharing.

Can't wait to see a wedding portrait!

I love you.

Dee Dee said...

What a great way to celebrate spring and Mom and Dad's aniversary with this post, Ruthie, you've done it again. They were such remarkable influent in my life. One memory in particular, when, in high school class of Astronomy, I was to track the pattern of the stars...and Mom, throughout the night woke me..and I think, you too. We trudged out in the cottage darkness to watch the stars...She was REMARKABLE! I still miss them. Thanks so much for keeping them alive..I love you.

caroldiane said...

Fantastic tribute to your mom - what a remarkable woman - you so clearly have taken on many of her attributes. Your skill with the written word is, well, beyond words. Thank you for sharing this piece!

Kat said...

What a lovely story. I enjoyed it.

dutchbaby said...

Before I read one word, I looked at the two photographs and saw immediately that you hit the jackpot when it came to gene pools!

Your portrait of your mother and your Grandma Olive is so touching, I still have a lump in my throat. It's amazing how every generation's good intentions, hopes, and dreams leaves its imprint. Sometimes in conformity, more often in rebellion.

I loved learning about your mother's considerable talents and her huge heart.

VioletSky said...

I can imagine that you grew up in a home full of stories. And you took them all to heart, keeping your family close.

Wilma said...

Ruth, thanks for the memories of mom's and dad's life together. They were an incredible couple who loved God and served Him in everything they did.

Happy Anniversary mom and dad!

Loring Wirbel said...

Deborah said what I was thinking, though certainly not in a judgmental way. I've known plenty of people who were 'born again' in one faith or another, through one dimension or another. But the case of someone choosing to leave a life of spiritual exploration for strict certainty fascinates me. How and why do people decide to do it? Does it make their music or art more interesting or full of passion as a result? Your experience of your mom has a lot to say about becoming devout, but I still am curious about the whole process.

Snappy Di said...

Somehow I feel that most of us have a favorite parent or one that we carried more of inside us than the other. I know I do. :-)

Di
The Blue Ridge Gal

Shaista (Lupus in Flight) said...

Dearest Ruth, I was thinking of you yesterday - it was Parsi/Persian new year - so let me wish you Navroz Mubarak! The New Year of the Spring equinox..
Happy Anniversary to your extraordinary parents... the portrait of your mother's life is just brimming with passion and verve and honesty. The importance of memory and story-telling is intrinsic to being a woman, essential I think. We must not, nor do we, forget our mothers, and the long line stretching before them.
Her Alzheimer's must have been a terrible shock. It seems we can never be prepared for what is to come.

Babs-beetle said...

What a lovely post, and what a beautiful mother!

One of 8 children? I didn't expect that, somehow. I'm one of 7 (+1) and second to last.

Susan said...

I forgot to comment on the song! I can't believe I have never heard it, having grown up in the Baptist church! Your mom is famous, at least in certain circles! Did she collect royalties on it? Is it now in the public domain? I think it's wonderful that she has this legacy.

ds said...

Oh, Ruth, to have had such a vibrant, gifted woman for a mother: "smart pianist tomboy Bobby" who birthed smart poet tomboy Ruth. You know, when I first glimpsed the top photo, I thought it was of you...what Hardy called "the family face" (mine is, too).
Woolf wrote,"We think back through our mothers, if we are women." Even on their wedding anniversaries. Perhaps especially on their wedding anniversaries...a lovely and also heartbreaking post.
Thank you for sharing.

Arti said...

What a wonderful tribute to your brilliant mother, Ruth. You're privileged to inherit the legacy from her both by nature and by nurture... and it shows in your blog. It's interesting to note too that your dear mother had shown us that one can be a born-again Christian and still maintain one's creativity, talents, vibrancy, and love of life. I admire her for that!

Shari Sunday said...

What a beautiful tribute to your mother. It helps to explain the extaordinary woman you became. I would love to tell you about my mother. I think you would have liked her. She was raised in an orphanage in N. Carolina that was started by a Presbyterian minister. I am only waiting to figure out how this new scanner I have received works so I can upload some pictures. As usual, you are an inspiration!

CottageGirl said...

Your post is about your mother, but it explains a lot about you, Ruth.
What a woman she was .. So brilliant and so full of life and service and love ... Such a remarkable human being!

C.M. Jackson said...

ruth--a wonderful tribute to your mother, her intellect, humanity and as a result, the choices she made in her life--your father, her children,her music and her faith. A whirlwind indeed, I can see you in her and I know she would be proud. c

Nancy said...

What a fascinating woman, your mother! Wow, beautifully written and a testament to the awesome power of her gifts and her personality.

Gwei Mui said...

What a formidable, talent and life loving person your Mother was. as ever written with panache and great love

Ginnie said...

I wonder if all 4 of us girls see more of Mom in us than Dad (though I do see Dad in me, too!)? I wonder if Mom ever "pined" for her life "lost?" If so, I never heard her speak of it. Did you? She was so passionate about what she believed. She did nothing halfway. She was malleable. She could be reasoned with. Remember when she changed her view on birth control after reading the article in the doctor's office about animals killing their young to prevent over-population? I don't think there was anything she wasn't interested in. We called her a professional student. Remember how excited she'd get whenever she was on a college campus!

Maybe we carry more of Mom in us because she was so external, so transparent. She wore her thoughts and feelings on her sleeve, while Dad was much more internal. We still do not know to this day how he felt about so many things.

The way you have put this together, Ruth, is powerful. It needs to be printed out by all of us kids and put in our safeboxes to pass on to our kids and theirs. We must not forget. Thank you for gathering it all together like this. Thank you.

Pauline said...

What a fabulous piece - I didn't want it to end. A tribute indeed, as passionate and full of energy as the person it described! Thanks for giving us a word portrait of an obviously wonderful woman!

eveningstar1 said...

I love reading about your family--what a vibrant household your parents created! Your description of your mother illuminates her so vividly and captures for us a strong sense of her marvelous spirit. Gosh, I'd love to read more about these people! Your artistic sensibilities are so obvious throughout all aspects of your blog--are you musically inclined as well?

Mary
Flat Rock Creek Notebook

Sandy said...

She sounds like she was such a fascinating woman! I would love to read more about her and see more photos some time.

It's so funny, I on the other hand, feel I carry so much of my dad inside me, and usually talk more about him. I relate more to who he was. My sis is more like my mom.

Jeanie said...

Oh, Ruth, how I love this post. Such a rich, vibrant picture you paint with your magical paintbrush. You're right -- she WAS an ambassador, and it sounds like a mighty effective one. Her life, her story is a book waiting to happen, but you knew that!

Our mothers bring so much to us -- not just the things they did for us, but what they brought to the table to begin with. I can't think of a finer tribute to this wonderful woman. Bravo.

Anna said...

Ruth your mother was amazing woman, and this is beautiful tribute to her. PS you know sometimes you run into people who look alike, my sister has very similar face features to my sister, lol, when I came here it was almost like looking at her - but not nearly the same in character as yours, lol. Excellent post. Anna :)

Patricia said...

I grew up in Falls Church, VA just down the road from Fairfax. I know that in 1941 there could not have been much going on there...it would have been quite tiny compared to today. The fact that the two of them were in that place at the same time made history inevitable!

What a wonderful mother and lovely story. Grandmother sounds pretty dishy as well. Look forward to hearing about the VA gentleman.

lovely you said...

"I think the soybeans grew tendrils like treble clefts those years." I think your Mother would be proud.

Mary Ellen said...

What a lovely tribute to an amazing woman. Thanks!

gemma said...

This is a beautiful tribute. I could sit by your river of words and get lost in your stories. You inspire a desire in me to write!

Terresa said...

I. Love. This.

The quality of the writing, the quality of the woman (ambassador) of whom it is written about.

I adore it. It speaks of love in so many ways. It honors a life not lived as much as it was sung.

shoreacres said...

I've so missed being here. Reading your words about your parents, I think about my own experience of writing about my mother's 92nd birthday and think this: however delightful, touching and nourishing this post is for us, it surely has been all of that, and more, for you.

freefalling said...

It's so lovely to look at your mother's face and see Lesley's face peering out.

kenju said...

Such a beautiful, well-written post. I'm glad I got here to see it.

Oh said...

There are so many great stories in the world but the best thing is that many of them are true. Are real. Like this one about your parents. and my fave line, that jumped right out and said love Ruth's writing for this: "I think the soybeans grew tendrils like treble clefts those years."

just perfect.

Ruth said...

Hi, Bella. I am proud. But I confess there were times I couldn't keep up with all that energy of hers.

Ruth said...

Deborah, well thank you.

Yeah, it's rather remarkable, I think so too. I wish she were here now to ask the questions I think of now. Her life was such a normal thing to me when I was young, but now I see what an unusual choice she made. As a kid I always fantasized about her life in NYC, before the conversion.

Ruth said...

Susie, thank you. I do feel sad that I can't ask Mom questions now, from this side of life and experience.

Thank you for what you wrote, but if you knew Mom, you would know that everything I've written is not only not an exaggeration, but it really doesn't even begin to describe her. I can never compare to her.

Ruth said...

Hi, Manda, I have no doubt that she would have been thrilled that Paul found you. I think you would have loved each other.

Ruth said...

Thank you, Mrs. M., I wish we could all be closer together. When are you moving to Michigan? After Laura graduates?

Ruth said...

Pamela, and how! An army, a gale force wind, none of it is an exaggeration.

Ruth said...

♥ Kathy, and Don is from a family of six.

Thank you.

Peter said...

Wonderful story about a(nother) wonderful mother! Somehow I must relate this to what you previously have written about your youth, the strictness of your Dad... but what is especially fine here is the definite feeling that you Mom was a real believer, a real mother... not performikng for the "show"!

julie king said...

what a wonderful tribute this is to your mother. i so enjoyed the vision of her as a youngster compared to the expectations of her mother!

Ruth said...

Jennifer, thank you so much. This is only a taste of Mom, I can't do her justice.

Treasure your red-headed husband.

Ruth said...

Wesrey, I love you. Yes, you are there in that portrait.

You know I just thought of something. I think you channel the good things of Grandma Olive and my mother. WOW!

Ruth said...

Dee Dee, is that what we were doing in Mr. Byington's back yard - tracking the stars?

I love you.

Ruth said...

Thank you so much, Caroldiane, for thinking I've taken on my mother's attributes. That is an honor.

Ruth said...

Thanks, Kat, Mom was golden.

Ruth said...

Dutchbaby, I have an image of you, me, Bobby and Olive going out on the town in SF, first to a foodie show and then looking at a house looking over the Bay, like Olive's house looked over Bayonne Bay.

Ruth said...

Violetski, I wish I'd done half that. Wish I'd listened more, and asked more questions.

Ruth said...

Wilma, they kept going on and didn't think about themselves much, did they?

Ruth said...

Loring, I dunno, but for me, I can see how a person might want to go from a big wide spectrum to confined and cozy. Not that my mother (and father) stayed static in their faith. They wrestled with every major issue, personally, including abortion, tribulation/rapture, and they often came out on the exterior of the group they worked with. I'm awfully proud of how they did that. But I do wish I could sit and ask Mom right now about her process.

Arti said...

Ruth,

Linda has left a comment (the last comment) on my previous post "Alone Again... Unnaturally" (not the current one) and asks for opinion about solitude and growing up with siblings in a larger family. I thought of you and feel you're a most suitable person to respond to her. Thanks!

Ruth said...

Hi, Diane, I still feel a little guilty saying it, even after they're gone. :|

Ruth said...

Lovely Shaista, thank you for the Persian New Year wishes! I never knew. It does feel like something new has started, with spring. I felt it yesterday, cleaned my office desk at the end of the day, at the end of a long, tiring week. Strange!

I've been telling, and wanting to tell much more, of my mother's and grandmother's story for some time.

I think of Renee, how I only knew her after she was ill, toward dying. Such vibrancy and life! Was her essence purified in illness?

But alas, Alzheimer's is not that way. She was gone by then, it seemed. I kept looking for her in her dark, deep eyes.

Ruth said...

Babs, I'm working on that 7 (+1) thing - step sibling? Yay for big families!

Ruth said...

Susie, about Mom's song, I think it hit churches and caught on a little after your time. I was in high school when we began singing it and sometime after that we started hearing about other churches, and then suddenly it was nationwide. Public domain? I don't know! I would like to create a video of the song with some of the talent in my family - we have some terrific musicians. I haven't found any versions of it on youtube that I enjoy much.

Ruth said...

Thanks, DS.

Funny how we can't sometimes see the family resemblance in our own family. I see my Grandpa Sidney in Peter. I see Don in Lesley. I do see Mom a bit in Lesley, but I don't think it is as apparent to me as to you. Maybe it's their mouths . . .

I LOVE that Woolf quote. When I read it after you left it, it opened a window (appropriately).

Ruth said...

I admire her for that too, Arti, very much. Thank you.

And thanks for bringing my attention to your as always fascinating article on solitude. I am behind in blogworld, and I would have gotten there today anyway. I love your blog.

Ruth said...

Thank you, Shari, but knowing Mom as I do, and knowing me, I'm embarrassed to be compared with her. (You see just a little bit of me, maybe the best part.)

I look forward to hearing about your mother. I don't think I've ever met someone who was raised in an orphanage. I wonder what stories she told you.

Ruth said...

Thank you, CottageGirl. I'm a little acorn from a Big Tree.

Ruth said...

Thank you, C.M.. Well I do have blog energy, I'll give you that. But I am not 1/10th of my mother. She was the real deal, a life force, an influencer, a leader.

Ruth said...

Thank you, Nancy. She never stopped, that woman.

photowannabe said...

Ruth, thanks for letting me have a glimpse into your family life. Your Mom sounds like a wonderful, passionate woman. I felt so sad when you said that Alzheimers had claimed such a vital person.
I loved how your family has written comments on this post and added to the tribute of an amazing life. I'm looking forward to more.
Sue

Jaffer said...

I hopped here from Babs Beetle. (don't you just love 'comment luv')

Wow - what a beautiful story and thank you so much for sharing with us - truly, I am inspired.

Ruth said...

Good word, Gwei Mui: formidable. Thank you for you kind comment.

Ruth said...

Boots, I admire Mom and Dad for how they openly considered opinions and outcomes. They looked for the truth always. And yes, I love that she studied Tamil at MSU after she had Indian friends.

Funny about the transparent feelings worn openly. I've edged closer to Dad on that the last few years, but still more like Mom I guess.

Thank you for your heartfelt comment, sweet sister.

Ruth said...

Pauline, your full and kind words touch me. Thank you.

Ruth said...

Mary, I want to thank you with all my heart for your enthusiasm.

Oh, and to answer your question: I am a little musical. Mom taught me to read music and play the piano. But I was an ornery student and didn't have the discipline she did. I can sing in a choir, and I can dabble at the piano. That's about it. But my son is a professional musician, and my daughter is a professional designer - both carrying on Mom's and Grandma Olive's spirit respectively.

Ruth said...

Sandy, maybe your dad was more involved with you than mine was.

Thank you for your interest, I'll no doubt write more about my mom.

Leena said...

This story about your grandmother and mom is wonderful to read again and again.
And now we know, where your talent is comong from!
I am glad about that link too, I have losted earlier link, which you gave to me.
The Finlandia Hymn (in Finnish Finlandia-hymni) refers to a serene hymn-like section of the patriotic symphonic poem Finlandia, written in 1899 and 1900 by the Finnish composer Jean Sibelius. It was later re-worked by the composer into a stand-alone piece.

"With words written in 1941 by Veikko Antero Koskenniemi, the Finlandia Hymn is one of the most important national songs of Finland (though Maamme is the de facto national anthem).", tells Wikipedia about our Finlandia Hymn, what touches all the time my heart. The time, when Sibelius composed that hymn, was not very easy time in Finland.

Good Pal Sunday to you Ruth!

Leena said...

Sorry, comong =coming
pal = palm
and so on my mistakes sorry for all of them :))

Ruth said...

Thank you very much, Jeanie. I spent a lot of time tweaking this, because Mom deserves the same discipline and attention she gave absolutely everything she did.

Ruth said...

Hi, Anna, I think you meant your sister has similar features to my mom? How interesting!

Ruth said...

Hi, Patricia, well I didn't explain in the post that they actually met in Charlottesville, much more substantial, right?

Thank you so much for your thoughtful comment.

Ruth said...

Tracy, thank you for that one.

Ruth said...

Thank you, Mary Ellen, it still isn't enough.

Ruth said...

That's a joy, Gemma, thank you!

Ruth said...

Terresa, well made point, she sang her life. Thank you for that, my friend.

Ruth said...

Linda, thank you. There were other sides of Mom too, that were annoying or frustrating, as with any loved one. She was not perfect, but she was profound and a force of life like no one I've ever known.

Ruth said...

Letty, really? That apparent? Wow.

dutchbaby said...

Thank you for that beautiful image. I am truly touched.

As for the copyright question, I don't know about music copyright but with books the copyright generally stays with the heirs forty years after the death of the copyright owner. I can research this more when I can type on something a little more substantial than an iPhone.

Ruth said...

Thank you, Kenju. She deserves a book, or three.

Ruth said...

O thank you, Oh. I really think you and I should meet sometime.

Ruth said...

It's true what you say, Peter. Both Mom and Dad were authentic, behaving at home as respectably as in church. I wish discipline were genetically inherited.

Ruth said...

Thanks, Julie. If nurture were the only factor, Mom would have gone the way of Grandma. But nature won out, and no doubt much of what Grandma taught her came through too.

Ruth said...

Sue, your support is like your golden poppy, so giving and warm. Thank you.

Ruth said...

Sue, your support is like your golden poppy, so giving and warm. Thank you.

Ruth said...

Oh hello, and welcome, Jaffer. If you came from Babs, you must be good. I look forward to seeing ManiaRavings when you have it back up. Thank you for your kind visit, and I hope you'll take that inspiration and run with it. It's what we're here for!

Ruth said...

Dear Leena, your explanation of Sibelius and the Finlandia Hymn touches me. There are always stories to be told, about everything - human connections that we never hear, but would move us, I know.

I kind of liked Good Pal Sunday. :) Happy Palm Sunday to you, my friend. (Please don't apologize for your excellent English. I don't write another language, at all.)

Ruth said...

Dutchbaby, thank you for for what you told me about copyright. I think the publisher owns the copyright for Mom's songs, sadly. She did not know better at the time, and many songs and even a cantata were published of hers that she got very little credit for, and not a penny.

Vagabonde said...

I wrote a long comment on your blog yesterday but somehow I must have written the wrong ID word as I don’t see it. Here it is again: I was away and am catching up. Your post was enchanting about your mother. My parents were married on 21 March 1936, another March wedding. The story of your mother was so well written – I wish I could write half as well as you do. I can write better posts in French but then if I write them in French first they sound “translated” when I write them in English (as my daughter would say: “Hello! because they are…”) I am fascinated by your background. Eight children! Amazing. Do you know that in France you are considered “famille nombreuse” (large family) at 3 kids and get discounts in transportation, etc. I was always alone growing up and enjoyed so much seeing my cousin in the country once in a while. There must have been a lot of activity in your home. Another thing is that I was brought up in a totally secular home. Even with my friends, we never ever spoke about religion, any religion. When I came to this country and was invited in a home in Greenwich, CO and they said “grace” before dinner, I was terrified as I thought they were fanatics. I had never heard, seen, talked about people saying prayers before meals – just read about it in school books about “olden” times. I would have loved to discuss with your mother, she must have had a great mind before her illness. The picture is lovely. What a different childhood from mine you must have had Ruth, it is so interesting.