My mother

My mother was born  in County Limerick, Ireland.  All her paperwork says she was born the 16th of March, 1934, but she would tell us she was born on St Patrick’s day.  Mother was one of 11 children born to my grandparents.  Tonight I look at some of her paperwork, and wanted to share some bits of history.

She came to this country in November 1955 aboard the Queen Mary, (a trip she would tell us took 2 weeks). Her Declaration of Intention issued by the United States Dept. of Justice Immigration and Naturalization Service was issued in the State of New Jersey, County of Ocean, and dated the 5th of April, 1957.  This is the declaration of intention to become a citizen of the United States.

Mother initially was a nanny in New Jersey when she arrived in this country and eventually, joined the WAC (Women’s Army Corps) and served as an LPN.    While serving, she met a young man on a blind date on the 14th of January, 1958.   In her little pages from what I call her “Harry Diary”…she writes…”I went out on a blind date tonight, was I surprised!  My date turned out to be real nice”….Then on the 5th  of April, 1958 she writes “Wonderful day.  I am so very happy.”  That man turned out to be my dad.    My folks married on the one year anniversary of the signing of her declaration of intention.

Her installation clearance record  is dated the 22nd of July, 1958 and her efficiency rating was excellent.  She received her honorable discharge on the 28th of July, 1958.  Her highest civilian education level was 8 yrs elementary.  You see, back when she was a child in Ireland, the kids got pulled out of school to go to work.  She passed her GED test for High School equivalency in 1957.  Her rank in the WAC was PFC (E-3) (T) and her specialty was 910.00 Med Corpsman.

My mother became a United States citizen on the 25th of June, 1971.  That was a big day at our house.

My parents had 9 children.  I am the oldest, and was born on Mother’s Day, the 10th of May, 1959.

My mother passed away on the 17th of July, 2001, which was my youngest daughter’s 9th birthday.  My granddaughter was born on St Patrick’s day 2006, which would have been my mother’s 72nd birthday, and 7 plus 2 equals 9.  (You do the math.)

When I am an old woman…

When I am an old woman, I will wear Serenity panty liners, so that I can feel fresh when I sneeze, laugh or cough. (Because those kegel exercises don’t work forever!)

I will go to the grocery store at least twice a week and only buy a couple cans of cat food, so that after I’m gone, the clerks can ask eachother “Does she really have a cat, or is that her dinner?”

I will maintain my independence by ordering a Hoveround, (You can get them for free!), so that I can go shopping with ease, and see sights like the Grand Canyon. According to the commercial, I will be able to do those things if I get one!

I will purposely buy thong underwear, so the young man at the register can say “Oh my Gawd, do you think she really wears those?”

I will get the Clapper, because evidently only old women use them!

I will proudly display my AARP card at all the finest facilities, and will start drinking coffee just to get 10 cents off a cup at my local diner!

When I am an old woman, I will wear Serenity panty liners, so that I can feel fresh when I sneeze, laugh or cough. (Because those kegel exercises don’t work forever!)

My sitting in my bed dream.

I have to blog this while it is still fresh in my mind.  Most of this dream takes place in my bedroom.  (Keep your minds out of the gutter people…it’s not THAT kind of dream.)  In my dream I get up to blow my nose, look out the window to find it is snowing the motherload of snow outside.  I go back to bed and tell my husband “It is snowing buckets!”

At this point a tv appears in the bedroom and a commercial comes on for this napsack made by a diaper company.  Whilst it is intended for mothers to store diapers in, it is so much more than just a mere diaper bag.  It seems it is a great all purpose waterproof tote.  You can take it camping, use it to store your clothes, food items, as a raingear headcover.  And for just 19.95 you can get double the amount if you order right now!  Magically I have one appear and the hubby says “Put it on your head.”, so I do.  He tells me I either look Amish or like a nun.  Then we start singing Amazing Grace with the Amish and Catholics who are now gathered in the bedroom.  I am still sitting in my bed.

At this point I start working on editing photos from my bed, when I learn that my son can’t get the tailgate closed on a truck.  So, with my nifty waterproof napsack still on my head (just in case it rains), we decide to rescue him.  First, my husband has to go to the fruit store though, because evidently, we needed some fruit.  And even though we are driving in the car, I am still, you guessed it, sitting in my bed.

I then awoke from my dream, got up to blow my nose and looked out the window to find it snowing the motherload of snow outside.

 

Dear Mother

As I remember you today

I reflect on tales of the motherland

From folklore of the headless dog spirits

To the meaning of the shamrock and the Trinity

A cottage in which 11 children grew

In a land the beauty of which I have never seen

I remember the music, the dancing of the jig

The tales of the leprechaun and his pot o gold

I think of the courage it took to leave your family

To come to a strange land and start anew

The strength it took to have 10 children of your own, yet bury 3

The stern hand with which you raised us

Was also the gentle hand that guided us with love

The firm voice that called our names down the line

Could be soft and comforting at any moment

In our big house filled with love and lots of children

I think how you truly came to this country with nothing

And really did achieve everything

And you carried yourself with grace and dignity while doing so

All these things and more I remember

As I remember you today Dear Mother

Written in honor of Josephine Patricia O’Kelly 1934-2001

Taffy OKelly

A White Sky

Outside I was met by a strange white sky

It was as white as the driven snow on the ground

And all around me flowed a deafening silence

Then from this white sky there came but one sound

A long, lowly distant song

From a lone bird in the big evergreen

His song was almost mournful

As he tried his best not to be seen

Wrapped in his blanket of green and white

High against a sky as white as the driven snow

His song ended and out of this strange white sky

The deafening silence again did flow

written by Taffy OKelly 3-23-2008