As I pass a fourth Mother’s Day without my mom (she died at 102!) I still miss her so much. I know that most of us cherish our memories of our mothers so I thought it fitting to share a few more of my adventures and memories of my mother, Linnea.
One of her favorite passions was travel. After my father passed away in 1960, my mom was lucky to have met Mrs. Louis A. Webb (a founder of the Pasadena Foundation). Linnea became first a part-time cook then a traveling companion. Over the course of the next 10 years Mrs. Webb blessed my Mom with 40+ trips to Europe, the Caribbean, South America and Hawaii.
What is amazing to me is that for all these trips this is the one suitcase she took! Three weeks’ worth of clothes and shoes tightly packed into this one bag!
She always reminded me to only take what you could run and carry at a moment’s notice! I think this philosophy stems from our 1963 family trip to Sweden with my elderly grandparents and 14 pieces of luggage including 2 cosmetic bags (remember those?). We almost missed several trains and flights because it took us 20 minutes to move! In all fairness, my grandfather was 90 years old and my grandmother was 80 so that had a lot to do with it too.
As I remember my Mom it always amazed me how she fiercely maintained her independence to her last breath. She loved that our house was located on a major street with a bus route so she would never have to depend on a “driver”. She could walk up to the corner Rite Aid and shopping center. She lifted 3 lb. weights daily just so she would always be able to carry her grocery bag home by herself.
After living through a couple of earthquakes (1972) she learned to always have bottles of water handy and not to depend on electricity. She had a solar powered transistor radio, hand can opener and her handheld fan in lieu of air conditioning! Being hard of hearing was never a problem in an emergency as she had her small megaphone at the ready for both hearing and shouting for help if necessary!
My fondest memory is of Mom’s “Envelopes”. As Macular Degeneration set in she sorted money and bills in small white envelopes. Every time someone would visit her, family or friend, she would have a few bills ready to give in an envelope. She would use her projector to write little notes on the envelopes. It was always a wonderful surprise. She once accidentally gave $100 bill instead of $1.00 to the garbage man. When I told her she was briefly dismayed…but then said how nice he was and that he brought her trash cans all the way down the driveway for her. I noticed for the rest of her life she never had any trouble with her trash cans!
Pictured below are only a fraction of the years’ worth of white envelopes I kept. I remember fondly trying to read her messages and of course wondering if there was a bill or two within. I think I will do the same for my children but I doubt anyone will save the envelopes!