Thinking of my mom today

Thinking about my mom today;she was born Dec 9th 1928 and died September 21th, 1988.  Since my birthday is in December as well, we’d always celebrate out birthdays at the same time. Usually this involved going out to dinner at Lawrey’s Restaurant in Los Angeles; it was her favorite. (Mine too)

Lawrey’s has since moved down the street and in it’s old spot is a new restaurant called “The Stinking Rose”. It servers garlic infused meals and is my son’s favorite place to have his birthday dinner. Funny how things work like that sometimes.

Here’s a picture of my mom on her wedding day, Dec 9th 1960 (dad was no dummy, always easier to remember one date and not two) in Las Vegas, Nevada.

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Three Youngest

Dad passed away on the 21st of October  2013 and was born the 24th of October 1929 so this week especially  I think a whole lot about him. It’s difficult to find pictures of him because he was always the one behind the camera taking the pictures of all of us, but I found this one with two of his siblings: Florence and Eddie. Dad is the youngest on the left.

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National Sibling Day

I guess there’s something called National Sibling Day and it’s today. Here’s a picture of my brother Bill in the arms of his Aunt Mildred(Snookie) with me and my way cool submarine in front of Aunt Luella and Uncle Russ’s house. He sure was a small guy then. He may, though, weigh the same now as he did then.:-)

 

Sibs

Unfinished Business 

My father was a WWII veteran like most men of his age. Since he wasn’t going to be buried in a military cemetery the Veterans Administration was kind enough to send a little folded flag ornament for his marker. I’d has this for quite some time and was able to epoxy it this afternoon.

Existential Questions

When I was in High School, as a senior, I took a class called “Existential Questions” from a bit of an eccentric priest, Father Peter. We read and wrote quite a lot – more than I ever did in any single college class. Something we read had to do with the theme “You’re not really dead as long as someone remembers you”. I can’t remember if it was from a play or a short story but it affected me.

It affected me more that I thought, apparently.

When I was first diagnosed with cancer, one of my first thoughts were how were my children going to know my mom, their grandmother, who passed away years before they were born? How were they going to know all their great-aunts and great-uncles? When my memory is gone, will the memories of those others be forgotten as well?

An odd thought, but it was one I had. Then, of course, genealogy became a bit of an obsessive hobby.

The experience of finding all this genealogy has been, for me, to keep these people in memory. To keep their memory alive or, in a sense, to keep them alive.  Also, as an IT guy, I tend to believe that if you put something on the internet ( And back it up three times), it tends to stay there and be findable. As long as people can find it and read it, then these memories go on and on.

Any number of cousins have copied large chunks of my research into their own versions of the family tree. At first I was a bit pissed, I mean it took months and months (sometimes years) to find some of this stuff but then I realized that spreading this information out is exactly what I want to happen. Copy please!

Unfortunately, when researching sometimes things can get a little melancholy. Memories of people long passed come unbidden and as nice as it is to remember someone, sometimes that memory becomes bittersweet. The worst though is when you realize you may have forgotten someone. I mean, that’s the whole point – remembering.

Every person you interact with changes you and people you have some sort of relationship with changes you all the more. Not all of these people are relatives. Not everyone will fit neatly into an individuals family tree.

In what seems, to me,  to be almost another lifetime I had a great friend whose memory escaped me for a moment.

And while I still can’t remember what book or play started this Existential Question, this quote will do:

“No one is actually dead until the ripples they cause in the world die away…” Terry Pratchett

Stories

My dad passed away a year ago on the 21st, his birthday is the 24th of October and I thought I’d celebrate his birthday with a picture and two stories.

My dad used to tell this one:

His father, William Wainer, would occasionally come home with a fifth of whiskey. He would open the bottle and throw the cap on the floor. One day my dad asked him, “Papa, why do you always throw the cap on the floor?”. His reply was, “Well, I won’t be needing the cap again.”

My story:

My dad was a real good golfer. He worked for a company where everyone liked to golf and his golf ‘services’ were in great demand. One weekend my dad was invited to a golf tournament at a swanky resort with natural hot springs and my mom and brother and I went down to swim and take advantage of all the non-golf amenities that this resort had to offer. We were in the pool and all of a suddenly my dad shows up. He should be on the course, but there he is. We quickly get dressed and while we were piling into the car I find out that my father is in a lot of back pain. That summer, or the summer before, he had thrown out his back while in Maine. We drove for a bit and came to a liquor store. My dad stopped the car, got out, bought a fifth of gin (his favorite) and drank 1/3 of the thing straight down.

He then drove us home – stone cold sober.

Dad continued to have back issues until he passed away. I still have never never seen anyone drink like that and still be in complete possession of all his faculties.

Don’t try this at home kids.

The picture is from my porch today at Sequoia National Park. I like whiskey not gin. I don’t think I’ll be throwing away the cap.

Love you dad. We miss you so much.

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