Friday, May 9, 2014

Mother Day Memories

There is an in-depth article about the history of Mother’s Day from the free online encyclopedia Wikipedia that explains how and why there is a holiday that celebrates mothers and motherhood. If you want to find out all there is about this cherished holiday, take the time to read it. I could not add any more to this offering, therefore, I am going to share with you my stories about the Mother’s Day’s celebrated in our family with a few of the many gifts and cards given and received throughout the  years. 

My foray into motherhood happened (at this writing) 44 years, 8 months and 14 days ago when our daughter, Tiffeni Jeanne was born on April 28, 1970. Before that special day, I had the traditional Baby Shower hosted by relatives and friends. I saved the invitation along with an assortment of gift cards. When I found these wonderful memoires, I could have transported myself back in time to that day. I could feel the excitement of opening the gifts and reacting to the tiny items lovingly wrapped and presented. I can recall seeing the faces of those who gave the gifts, their anticipation if I liked it or not. Of course, I liked them all. I cherished them now and luckily still can, because I preserved some of the baby clothes, toys, books, and pictures and a few are on display now in our children’s museum.

What really had me intrigued as I rummaged through the card box labeled Lizzie, I found an eclectic assortment of papers (hospital & doctors paid invoices, pictures, cards, a pressed flower – its fragile petals and leaves turned yellow, and a list of names, and one big curl of Tiffeni’s baby hair), all stuffed into a tiny book with a pink cover showing a picture of a very pregnant momma bear. The book’s title, “EXPECTING?” Nursery rhymes for pregnant times, written and illustrated by Dolli Tingle, published in 1968. (the price was $1.95).  

I can’t remember if I bought it myself or if it was a gift, but that doesn’t matter. What’s great is that I still have it. I wrote on the first page, My Book when I started and finished writing in it; June 2, 1969 to April 27, 1970.

As small as the book is, it is filled with everything you want to know then and remember now. Such as, IMPORTANT INFO: doctor’s name and number, hospital, what to take there, and many pages of do’s & don’ts, such as WHAT DOC SAYS I SHOULD EAT. He said, “eat anything I pleased, but then he said, “lay off the salt” the last weeks of the pregnancy. A list of WHAT I CRAVE! chocolate malts, hamburgers, and onion rings. I’LL KEEP MY WEIGHT DOWN chart, starting at a mere 115 pounds (I was 5’7” tall) with a final weight of 154 pounds. Not good!

There was a page for BOY’S NAMES WE LIKE BEST. (Back then the sex of the baby was not known until birth). There must have been an omen present when we picked the name Charles, for he came 17 years after Tiffeni. (Future story there). GIRL’S NAMES WE LIKE BEST didn’t include the one we chose. Listed first were my picks: Gigi (loved the movie) April (she was born in April) Simone (a name I chose for a character in a book I would write in the future). Her papa Keith chose names of old girl friends (excuse me!) One was Drusilla (oh, please!) The other was Nancy. (Far too old fashion for me). At the bottom of the page is the one we chose: Tiffeni Jeanne. WHY, the book asked. I wrote, “because Tiffany (spelt differently at first) sounded rich . . . ” But there is another story – the one I remember most. As I was sitting in my hospital room listening to the radio, the announcer told a brief news story about a woman who was thrilled to have found her missing cat, named Tiffany. (I like cats and I felt happy that the lady found hers.) . . . “and I liked the song, Jean (very popular back then; written and sung by Rod McKuen for the Broadway play, “Oliver” in 1969).  (watch & listen to this beautiful song on YouTube)
“Jean, Jean, roses are red, All the leaves have gone green, And the clouds are so low, You can touch them, and so, Come out to the meadow, Jean.”

When I entered the hospital on a very cold and rainy day, I recall looking out of my window and how it rained every day I was there, seven days total because I was very ill. On the day before I went home I was able to walk to the end of the hall and look out the window. It was still raining. The next day I went home and when I finally stepped outside into the fresh air, it was spring. Spring had sprung while I was in the hospital. I can’t tell you how thrilled I was to see the trees green leaves, the clouds puffy white and the many flowers by the roadside as we drove home. Then the song came on the radio and after listening to the words, I knew at that moment, Tiffeni’s middle name was Jean.  

Back to the book. There was a LAYETTE page. Checked off were all the things I must have received at the baby shower. Next page titled, KEEPING IN TRIM,” I wrote, “did a lot of walking the first 5 months because I was working.” I was a private secretary to the president of a marine insurance company. I loved my job, but I was not doing well the last month of the pregnancy, so I had to quit. I remember being very upset. To cheer me up, my mother gave me a little party. (That’s what mother’s do). 

Next where 3 pages to list GIFTS. I filled in a page and a half. The last page, NOTES On what happened tells a very concise story of the difficult birth. I must have written this months after because it reads emotionally unaffected. Perhaps I only wanted to record the facts and leave the pain out of those last words. But the little book’s story happily ends with these words, “We both went home together.” The End.

The moral of the story is, and keeping with the theme of the Blog is this: like all things precious, Mother's Days memorabilia must and should be kept alive, either by preserving the object or retelling a story. Mother’s Day memories are perfect for your family museum, no matter how you preserve them.



Next Posts:  more on antiques

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