Tuesday, November 14, 2006

A tribute

She was born in July of 1916; thus she celebrated her 90th birthday just a few short months ago. She’d been raised in the South, spending years in Birmingham, Alabama and Alexandria, Virginia, before moving to Maryland and attending high school there.

When the stock market crashed in 1929 she was just 13 -- thus the Great Depression had a profound effect on the core values she developed as she grew up. Not many girls from families of limited means went to college in the 1930s, and though Fran was very smart a post-secondary education was not in her future.

She began a career in clerical work in the accounting office of a small business near Baltimore. A few years later she met Jack, a young engineer who worked at Proctor & Gamble’s Baltimore manufacturing plant. They were married and soon had a daughter and a son. Fran stayed home as a full time housewife and mom, while Jack brought home the bacon.

Over the years she and Jack passed on to their children the same values they had developed. These included financial conservatism, the belief that marriage was sacred and very important, that although married partners might disagree they never argued (much less fought), that a citizen should love America, that the right to vote should never be taken for granted, and that the opportunity to vote should never be missed.

They took their kids to church until the kids were old enough to make up their own minds about God. They understood the need for a good education, and sacrificed mightily to put their children through private schools and then four years of college.

Jack retired from Proctor & Gamble in 1975, and on Good Friday of 1976 he died of a sudden, massive heart attack. Fran never had any inclination to consider another marriage. She moved in with her daughter, and helped her raise the four grandchildren the daughter produced. This allowed Fran’s daughter to pursue her own career, rising to near the very top of civil service in the federal government in Washington, D.C.

As the years continued to pass, Fran’s physical capabilities diminished, but never her mental faculties. She remained just as sharp at 90 as she had been 40 years earlier.

On Monday, November 13, 2006, Fran died peacefully in her sleep. She had been experiencing fluid buildup in her lungs for a week or two before, but that seemed to be getting better. That morning, however, she went on to be reunited with Jack.

If you haven’t already figured it out, Fran was my mother.

I am in Maryland now with my sister (where the two of them have lived for decades) and will be here through the end of this week.

I’ll be back soon.

20 comments:

r.e.wolf said...

I knew from the opening line. :( What a beautiful tribute to her - just as you and your sister are living tributes to her. Please accept my deepest condolences on your loss, my friend.

Peter said...

condolances on the passing of your Mother John, it's a sad fact of life that they are going to go but it still hurts.

Candace said...

What a loving tribute to a loving woman.

kenju said...

John, I am so sorry. She sounds like a wonderful woman - and I know she was - because of who you are. Take care of yourself while you mourn her passing.

Viggy la Q said...

John, I know she's as proud of you as you are of her. What beautiful words. Tribute isn't a sufficient label for them. Written with love is how it really is.

My thoughts are with you at this time.

Steve said...

John, heartfelt condolances. I know the pain. My mother passed away last year and my mother-in-law, three months ago. The best to the family.

Christina said...

Thanks a lot, you made me cry. She was a beautiful person, loving, generous, and I don't have a single unpleasant memory of her. Even though I have only seen her maybe 20 times or so in my entire life, I really miss her. I am glad she was able to make it to my wedding, but so sad she never got to see her great grandson.

Jennifer said...

I am so very sorry for your loss. Your remembrance of her was lovely and heart wrenching. Peace be with you all.

Shesawriter said...

John,

Having lost a parent, I know exactly how you feel.

HUGS,

Tanya

Kirsten said...

My prayers are with you and your family, John.

Nankin said...

John, I'm so sorry for your loss. It's never easy to lose someone you love. Thank God that you had her for so many years. Our prayers are with you and your family.

Ivy said...

I am very sorry for your loss..

dutchie said...

Beautiful story.
wishing you strenght.

schnoodlepooh said...

That was a beautiful tribute to your mother, John. I am very sorry for your loss. You are fortunate to have had so much time with her. I know that probably makes it more difficult to lose her. You are a good son though and have done your mother proud. Carry on, my friend.

Michelle said...

I was truly sorry to read that your mother had passed away and send condolences to you and the family.

Hale McKay said...

I too, saw that coming. You have my deepest and heartfelt sympathies, John.

God bless and may she rest in peace.

What a beautiful tribute!

Badabing said...

That was a lovely tribute. I'm so sorry for your loss.

Miss Cellania said...

I am so sorry. Also, sorry to be late finding this out. (((hugs)))

Viki said...

There's nothing I could say that hasn't already been beautifully said by everyone who came here before me.

That was a beautifully written tribute, John.

Shirl said...

I have only just found your blog John.

Your Mother's values live on in you - who else but a proud, loving son could have written such a well-considered and honest tribute to his mother so soon after her passing. She's with her Lord and her Jack now. Peace this Thanksgiving to you all.