We’re in Connecticut this weekend for two events. We come here every June for my mother-in-law’s birthday. She’s 80, and looks about 70. She’s doing great!
I liked her when my husband and I dated in 10th grade, and I like her now. She is gracious and has a lovely laugh. She always reminded me of Sophia Loren. I’ll see if I can find a photo for you…..
The other reason we’re here, this year, is for my father-in-law’s memorial service. My husband’s family graciously waited to schedule that when we would be here anyway for his mom’s birthday. My husband’s relationship with his father was strained. There’s not a lot of information about his father’s family. My father-in-law’s father died when he was very young. The rest of the family history is a mystery. That’s too bad.
I believe getting more information about family history can help us understand why our parents act the way they do.
We have lots of family history on my mother-in-law’s parents, Malcolm and Edna. I know that after my mother in law got divorced, her father used to bring her a bag full of change every week to help her get by. I never met them, but feel as if I know them from the stories my husband tells me.
I love to listen to my father talk about his family, growing up in Wisconsin, and sometimes about his twenty years in the Corps. My mother’s family tree is more mysterious. I never knew my maternal grandfather and heard he worked in the circus and then owned grocery stores in Washington, DC before I was born. There are secrets on that side of the family. Like there are secrets on my husband’s father’s side of the family.
Growing up, I always thought my mother was weak. I wish I had more information on her history, because I believe she lived through challenges I know nothing about. I do know she grew up during the depression and would never throw away food. In restaurants, she’d wrap leftovers in a napkin and put it in her purse. I don’t know if they had “doggie bags” back then when I was a kid.
After my mother died, talking with my father about Vietnam, which he rarely talks about, I asked him how he got through that horrible time and the nightmares after he came home.
“It was your mother’s love,” he told me. Your mother got me through it.
This new information surprised me. The love of the woman I thought of as weak was strong enough to save the strongest man I’ve ever know.
This week’s Stream of Consciousness Saturday Post was “information.” If you’d like to join in the fun, visit:
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June 7, 2015 at 1:16 pm
Families are full of unexpected strengths and stories aren’t they? We go all our lives and yet the people in it will never stop surprising us. Thank you for sharing such treasured memories with us.
P.S. Your mother-in-law looked like a dream!
June 7, 2015 at 7:34 pm
Yep, I’m still learning things about my father and my mother in law. Our older family members in particular are the keepers of the family history. Their stories are so intriguing to me, now more than ever. Thank you, on behalf of my mother in law, for the compliment. She still looks good, and she’s still nice! I’m very grateful.
June 8, 2015 at 6:39 am
Reblogged this on oshriradhekrishnabole.
June 8, 2015 at 10:39 pm
Beautiful post Joanna… Family history can be so important, even the painful parts. I was fortunate enough to work with my sister on our family tree before many of our elders passed on. It was laborious, all those trips to the courthouses all over VA and WVA to get details about marriages and births… but we were fortunate that our ancestry was from Europe and a lot of information was available. It’s a shame your husband didn’t know more about his father’s family and you from your mother’s side.
June 9, 2015 at 5:39 pm
I’m glad you liked the post, Lori. My brother in law plans to do a little research about their father. Maybe some day, I’ll dig a little more about my mother’s side, and my dad might be able to help me with that. Family history is becoming more fascinating to me the older I get. It’s great that you and your sister were able to piece together some details. Thanks for your comment.