My mom was born and raised in a small town in Illinois. She played the flute, sewed her own clothes, and had a pet rooster. After high school, she went off to university. There she met, and fell in love with, my dad.
They were married in 1955, at her parents' home. Her mother and aunts felt that the wedding dress she loved, which was off-the-shoulder, was too scandalous. She said that if she couldn't wear the dress she wanted, she wouldn't wear a wedding dress. She always had a sense of style and she was strong willed. She told us that she hated the suit she wore in her wedding but I'm including the pictures because she looks so happy. My father always reminded her that the lilacs were in bloom and the air was richly fragrant on their wedding day.
My dad was still in the Air Force when they married so they moved from base-to-base, and ultimately settled in California where I was born. My sister and brother followed. My mom loved the beach. We made day trips to the local Southern California beaches and camping trips to all the rest of the beaches between San Diego and Santa Barbara.
|Me and Mom|
|Ted, Mom. me, Dad, Marie|
Mom loved clothes and she loved feeling pretty. It wasn't hard. She was beautiful. I was a source of frustration to her on that front. I preferred blue jeans and horse slobber covered sweat shirts. I did learn to appreciate well tailored clothes and I can put together a nice outfit, complete with tastefully applied make-up. She helped me create a professional wardrobe. We spent hours in Dior, looking at fabrics and lines. Then she would sew me something similar. My favorite suits were sewn by mom.
|Me, Marie, Mom, Ted|
In the early 70s, wigs were all the rage. I thought she was the most glamorous thing ever. My dad gave me her mink jacket. I don't approve of fur coats and doubt I'll ever wear it, but I feel like I have a piece of mom's glamour in my closet now.
Mom was not just a pretty face or a clothes horse; she had a degree in English literature and always had a book going. She loved music, all kinds of music, from jazz to Frank Sinatra to the Beatles to Elton John. I learned to be an adventurous cook from watching her. She raised her children to be independent and strong; she instilled in us determination and drive; a love of sports and of the beach; the importance of champagne on holidays and marshmallows on hot chocolate.
Rest in peace, Mom. You are on an eternal beach now with no oxygen tank, no sun sensitivity and no arthritic limbs. Soak up the sun. You earned it.
|Dad, Kristin (granddaugher), Mom at Kristin's graduation a few months ago.|