Monday, January 26, 2009

And so it goes...

Before they even met, there was a connection. Dad's co-workers in the warehouse where he'd worked before the army got together to write him letters from home. Mom, being the new girl, was asked if she'd like to add a note, which she did.

When he returned home in 1947, they noticed one another, but from a distance. Daddy began riding his motorcycle to work, and Mother, loving the feeling of freedom and flight was charmed by the two-wheeled cycle. He promised her a ride as soon as he got his buddy seat and it wasn't long before it was a ride built for two: a match meant to be. It may not have been love at first sight....but it was certainly love.

Dad decided to go to Kansas City to an automotive trade school in January of 1948. Most weekends he would return home to visit Mom and their relationship continued to grow. It would be September before he returned to Wichita for good, but in July of that year, he went to Peacock Jewelry Store on Douglas Street and in my Mother's basement apartment, gave her a ring.

There was no bended knee, as he explained, and no formal question posed, but it was understood between them that this was the road they were intended to take; a road that has led them through 60 years of blessings.

On that New Year's Day back in 1949, they took vows that began the rest of their lives, and set the stage for what was the beginning of mine....

Friday, January 23, 2009

Introducing....... my dad

In 1945 after my parents graduated from high school, Mother said good-bye to her family in Fredonia, KS and left to make her own way in Wichita. At the same time, my father was drafted into the Army and left his home in Wichita to fulfill his duties on the Aleutian Islands of Alaska. In these photos he is on the right; his face - even as a young man - so familiar to me, his smile reflected in my own young son's face.

There in Alaska along the shoreline, he and his buddy found an old boat and seeing an island in the distance, decided to row out to it. Using an old board for an oar they began their journey, but after some time discovered that the island was a lot further out than they'd originally thought. Anxious to get back to base, they turned the boat only to discover the tide had turned as well. Rowing frantically they were finally able to make it back to shore safely and unseen. Later that night word got around that the Coast Guard had been alerted to two men adrift on the sea....and he was asked, had he seen any sign of them while he was down on the shore?!

Daddy came home a year later and went back to his job at McKesson's. My mother still remembers hearing his voice as he came into the office where she worked, and he remembers seeing her in the back room running the mimeograph machine.

That was their beginning....

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Discoveries in Black and White

I spent this weekend at my parents' house, catching up on memories, hearing new stories and making time to just be. I always feel a reconnect when I go home and that's something I've been needing for some time now.

After my mom and dad had gone to bed, I sat on the old-fashioned high bed, perusing through old photographs. Many I had seen before: precious pictures of my parents in their younger, carefree days alive in black and white and smiling at me from behind another era.

There is something about these two that caught my attention. Perhaps it is the sweetness in my mother's face or the youth behind her smile. Maybe it's the charm of the late 1940's; the grace and style of a bygone era. Or it could simply be that this is my mother - a woman I admire, respect, adore... and that I love seeing her in younger days with a lifetime still before her.

As I sort through these photographs of my parents' beginning, I know I'll find wonder and magic between the lines that are the writing of our family.

I am looking forward to reading more.

Saturday, January 03, 2009

Remember When

On New Year's Day, we celebrated my mom and dad's 60th wedding anniversary. We gathered at my sister's house where she had put together a video representing their years together. While viewing it the first time, I used my camera to tape it directly off of the television. I didn't have a tripod and had to zoom in close, so it was pretty shaky. But it was also difficult to hold the camera still due to the emotion and tears while watching my parents - and our family - grow through the years.

We are so fortunate, all of us. I thank God for the blessing of my parents; for their meeting and their marriage all those years ago and for what we have - and have become - through the passing of time.

Happy Anniversary, Mom and Dad. I'm so glad to be part of it all.

Friday, January 02, 2009

The Way He Was

My son has always been happy-go-lucky; a boy with a perpetual grin and sunshine in his pockets. When he was little it was easy to dispel his temporary sadness with a hug and kiss, and to chase away any shadows that threatened to shroud his sunny world.

It's been said that high school is the best time in a young person's life....but I beg to differ. It's a trying time when you're straddling the world of childhood and adulthood, teetering on a thin line of who you are and who you want to be. It's days of mixed feelings and looking at the future while trying to decide which path to take. And while hugs and kind words are helpful, they no longer "fix" the sorrow and the questions in a now, young man's heart.

I miss the way he was. Though I know that everything is temporary, I'm looking forward to the day when the skies clear and there's light in his heart once again.