A grandmother is a mother who has a second chance

Friday, November 2, 2007

Where I came from

Thought this would be a good time to write about my Mom and Dad and their life together. They were both first generation Americans. Dad's family came from northern Italy and Mom's came from southern Italy. They were only 9 months apart in age and met with they were kids growing up in the Italian neighborhood in Chicago.

Dad was a studly teen and a real ladies man. Mom had a crush on him and wanted him to notice her. So she did what any lovely young lady would do back in the 1940's. She jumped over a fence. Fell on her face and broke her nose. Oh, did I mention that she was a bit of a tomboy?

Well, apparently it worked because they did get married in 1944 after he got out of the service. And they were "blessed" with me in 1946. Mom used to tell me that one of the things she loved about my father was that he was self-confident and not wishy washy. Often, when they went on a date it started with Dad coming over to her house and saying, "Hey, I'm goin' to a movie - wanna come along?" And, of course, she went. A real romantic, that man was.

But she loved him. One of their favorite songs was My Blue Heaven. One verse was:

Just Molly and me, and baby makes three. We're happy in my blue heaven

For many years when they were young newleyweds they would call each other Molly and Cholly. I have some cards that they had sent to each other signing their names like this.

Mom was the quintessential 1950's housewife. Kept a spotless house, cooked wonderful meals, handled all the child rearing responsibilities. I can remember at 4:30 every day she would stop what she was doing, run upstairs and put on clean clothes, freshen her makeup, and fix her hair. Then she'd run downstairs and get working on dinner. Because when Dad got home, dinner was usually waiting and Mom was all dolled up. She would never let him come home to an unkempt woman, a messy house, or dirty kids. Ah, the old days. My husband's lucky if I put on clean sweats!

But Mom's life was like a page out of a 1950's Home Ec book. And she flourished in it.

Their joy didn't last forever. By the time my brother was born they had separated at least once and, shortly after their 25th wedding anniversary they got divorced. However, they never really stopped loving each other. Oh, they both went on to other relationships. But if one of them needed anything, the other was always there. Even the last time I saw my Dad in August, he got teary-eyed talking about Mom and said that he still missed her so much. When she died in 1994 a light went out in all of us. And Dad was no exception. This is a picture of me with my parents, and their four grandchildren at the time (Tony wasn't even married yet) in my kitchen in Tucson. Luckily for us, my Mom and Dad continued to be friends and both of them were at all family functions. So we never had to "choose" between parents or have two holidays because they didn't get along. Very lucky, indeed.

So, good bye to both of them. We loved them and they definitely loved us. I hope they're both somewhere happy and safe now. And, if they get a chance to see each other again - that would be a good thing. Maybe Mom can make her famous Fettucini Alfredo for Dad.

Good night, Molly and Cholly.


Chris said...

That was so sweet. It made me cry. Lucky parents too. It seems as though they turned out one really caring daughter. ;)

A Special Family said...

That was a beautiful tribute, and how wonderful to have such lovely photographs of them together.
I am so sorry to hear of your Dad's passing....
It sounds like wherever they are, they'll be sharing some special memories together.
My sympathies,

A Special Family said...

p.s. thank you for the nice comment when I was ill

Scoobers said...

This was such a sweet post. I'm sure they are together singing, "My Blue Heaven".

Fleur de Lisa said...

This is an excellent post! Your parents were so cute together. I especially love the photo at the top. Their caring shows through in the wonderful daughter that they raised. :)

Gracie said...

Awwwww, how sweet! I am so sorry that they got divorced...how lucky you were though that you and your siblings didnt have to choose between parents. What a wonderful post! They are smiling down on you.

Desert Diva said...

Someday, you need to put this all together in a book. It's touching that even though your parents divorced, they "held the flame" for each other. I suppose true love is eternal...