Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Something wonderful happened 100 years ago . . .

. . . A little girl was born in Calgary, Alberta Canada. She didn’t make it to her 100th birthday, but she did make it to 95¾, a fact she proudly announced to one and all. She had the misfortune to fall and break her hip just before a holiday weekend. Opportunities were missed to help her and we lost her to pneumonia.

This was our Momma, Sister’s and mine. I have photos of her life, probably too many for a blog, but I don’t care. The 100th anniversary of a Momma’s birth only passes by once.

Here she is at 5 months. That’s her Daddy at the upper left, known to me as Grandpa. On the lower right is Grandpa’s father, known to me as Grandpa Joe. I don’t recognize the two ladies and I wonder if this ensemble represents five generations.

Here’s little Momma, about age 4, with her younger sister, Poppy, “Off to Grandma’s.”

“Photograph by Miss Fawdry, Calgary, Alta,” of Momma and Poppy. Momma wore this hair style in her early years. Notice as we get to her later years, she wears this hairstyle again until the end.

I adore these next three photos at the water. Can’t you see them as paintings by certain Impressionists? Momma and Poppy are the little ones in the first two. In the third, if I didn’t know these were from long ago, I’d think the little blondie in the middle was Sister as a tot, so I’m guessing that’s Poppy and the familial resemblance extends to nieces.

“Bathing Beauties”

“The girls at the Boat”

Here’s Momma with her Daddy. Momma’s youngest sister’s son has been the image of Grandpa through his years.

The two little girls are all dressed up in their winter finest, here with their Grandma Joe.

“The Little Mothers” - Momma may be five here. All the old photos were scanned and I didn’t always get dates when I did the scan.

“In the Snow” Those look like better “play outside” clothes, except for pulling off the mittens.

Poppy and Momma, and their Momma, flanked by Grandpa and Grandma Joe. Certainly a bunch of stern expressions.

A celebratory-looking bunch with beverages in hand at St. Stephen’s Picnic, Bowness Park. I recognize Grandma Joe in her top hat, Momma in the front row with Grandma Joe’s little purse dangling over Momma’s shoulder, Poppy squatting down. It might be Grandma just above Poppy and it might be Grandma’s half sister, Aunt Odie, next to her, but I’m not at all certain. As for the men, I just don’t have a strong feeling. But I love the carefree spirit, in such contrast to the usual photos in the albums. (Might that be an adult beverage someone has in hand?)

Weigh in, Sister, if you know.

“Taking baby for a spin”

A bucolic scene, with Momma and Poppy a little older now

The family immigrated to Southern California about the time Momma was 12. I believe Aunt Frankie was born in California about that time and Grandma became quite ill and Momma was the Little Momma for the family for some time. Grandma and Grandpa had a son, probably between Poppy and Frankie, but he died in infancy, although not as a newborn. This was not spoken of, although the topic came up in Grandma’s later years. I’d always heard the baby had become ill with diphtheria and was not expected to make it when that happened, but Grandma bristled at any suggestion that the baby was not expected to live. It was sudden and she did not think he would die. She clearly never got over the loss.

We transition here to Momma as a young woman. 

Momma and Papa get married in 1936.

Poppy's wedding follows. I don't know the year, but this is her wedding party:  Grandma and Grandpa, Grandma Joe, Aunt Frankie (Momma and Poppy's little sister), Papa, and Momma, who looks by the bouquet in her hand to be the maid of honor.

Grandpa Joe and Grandma Joe, Grandpa holding me, Momma holding her Dolly, Grandma stuck taking the picture.

Papa, me and Momma, April, 1939.

Momma and Papa, Easter, 1940.

Sister's christening, November 1944 with Papa and Momma.

Easter of (guessing) 1949:
Momma in the dark suit. That's Poppy next to her with her husband, son and daughter. Next to Momma is Aunt Odie. Actually, I'm named for her, but didn't get the same nickname. The blondie is sister and that's me with the bandage. Falling down is not a new feature of my life. Men in the back - Uncle Arthur (Aunt Odie's husband), Papa and Grandpa.

Momma is the only one who got the "smile" message.

Wedding in Ohio, 1957:
The minister, Momma, me, Carl my new husband, Carl's Mom. Carl couldn't quite get the smile going, The entire wedding party got food poisoning from their meal the night before in the college cafeteria.

Momma and Papa. She's wearing a corsage, so it's a fancy event. Yes, that young boy has on a white shirt and tie! Sixties?

Momma is standing on the pool deck to be taller than me and Sister. That's my second husband Cody beside me, August 1979, in Desert Hot Springs, CA.

Momma at the helm around 1980 in Hong Kong where Sister and BIL were living and working at the time.

Momma with great-grandson Roman in '86 or '87 (my daughter Melissa's son).

Momma's and Papa's 50th Anniversary, 1986.

Momma with great grandson Chris (my son Ben's son), 1988.

Momma with Papa at the dedication of the final set of stained glass windows at Grace Episcopal Church in Martinez, California, March, 2002.

A nice smile on her 90th birthday, 2002.

Sister's son holds the birthday cake for his Grandma.

Momma and Papa showing their paintings at Sierra Professional Artists' Groveland Art Show, September, 2002.

Papa has died in late 2003 and Momma moves into assisted living in February, 2004. Here she is with Teddy in her little apartment, surrounded by her and Papa's paintings

Momma at lunch at her assisted living, 2004.

Momma in the garden, 2004.

Momma flies off to Tucson with her daughters for Christmas at granddaughter Melissa's house, 2004.

Momma signing her Christmas cards in 2005. I love this picture, looking like the artist in her beret. She did do a sketch for her Christmas letters every year.

Momma at granddaughter Melissa's wedding in Tucson in April 2006.

A beautiful outdoor wedding . . .

The bride's eldest daughter Emily-Rose with her grandma (moi) and great-grandma.

Momma dancing with Sister at the wedding.

Momma was so into the music that she reclined on a chaise lounge on the dance floor, keeping beat to the music with her hand.

Momma's 95th birthday party at Sister's house, June 2007.

What had become her traditional birthday cake, prepared by the chef at her assisted living, with Sister's son.

Momma's little sister Frankie visits Momma at her assisted living, 2007.

There's a big fiesta going on at Momma's assisted living and the balloon lady has made the Little Mermaid for Momma, October 2007.

Momma's last Christmas, December 2007, as she hugs Sister's baby Lola. This is my last photo of Momma. We lost her three months later. She'll always be lovingly remembered by those who knew her. If you didn't, you missed someone special. Happy birthday, Momma.



  1. Are you going to link to Facebook?

    1. Whoops! I set it to post automatically today but forgot automatic posting doesn't do the Facebook thing.


  2. What wonderful photos! The wedding photo is magnificent, it's like something out of old Hollywood :)