Wednesday, August 7, 2013

HAPPY 80th Birthday to Mum!

Over the years, I've paid homage to Mum on birthdays & holidays. So this year I thought I'd better do something extra-special. Now you know why I absconded with your photo albums, Mum!
Nurse Mum in the centre.

Mum went into midwifery. She didn't like being around sick people, which is kind of funny being a nurse and all. I've bonded with other people whose mothers were nurses. We all share the same experience; "Get up. You're fine. Just a minor flesh wound!" We got it in doubley with the British Stiff Upper Lip. When my brother was 11, he cut his finger & Mum stitched it up at the kitchen table. When he said, "Mum it really hurts." She said, "Oh, just think of England!" I'm sure that's what she heard growing up during the war. Perhaps in the voice of Winston Churchill coming over the wireless.  30 years later, when Mum sliced her hand whilst cutting an avocado, Atlasta was there to tell her to think of England. 

I love Mum's black & white photos and newspaper clippings:
Frolicking in the water with longtime friend Gill.
Mum left England on this in 1961:

She ended up in the Yukon treating "red Indians." Here's a newspaper article:

And eventually met my dad:
I'm quite sure this was after they'd known each other a while. 
And had children:

Speaking of children, here's the photo album of my brother, #3 of 6:
Thus my brother earned the nick name, Atlasta.

See? This photo is from the same batch as the one of Mum on Dad's knee. They were well-aquainted. OBvi!
When I was 7, we left California & moved to Virginia:
January 27, 1971. Four kids across country. Actually, four & a HALF; Mum was pregnant! I once asked Mum a question about the 1960's & she said, "Oh don't ahsk me anything about the 60's. I was busy having children!" BTW, the dog in the photo, Susie, belonged to our neighbor Audie Mae. Like we would have a dog. Ha!
We lived out of our camping trailer until we built our dome, featured in the background:
Mum hanging up laundry--which was ENDLESS. One time she went on strike, and the laundry piled to the bathroom ceiling. I'm not making this up. It only took 3 days. It gave me an appreciation for all her hard work--which didn't last all that long because I was a surly teenager. But I digress . . . 
When Mum was 45, after baby #6, she took up karate:
Here she is as a white belt.
Can't tell if that's a green belt or black belt. 
But here is her black belt promotion, 9 years later:

With Arthur Drago, karate instructor & longtime family friend. 
There's much to admire about my mother. She is fearless at any task, and to tell her she can't do something, just fuels her to do it! She's not just strong when it comes to karate:

Digging ditches with longtime friend Prim:
That's right. She traveled all the way to Australia to dig ditches!
You'd think that Mum lives to dig ditches! Here she is in Hungary for Habitat for Humanity:
Actually, in this one she's mixing concrete by hand. "Well of course she is", you'd say if you know my mother.

Queen Anne. She has traveled to Poland, Hungary, the Dominican Republic to build houses. 
Perhaps this is where I got an appreciation for duct tape. Mum fixing the dome. Or perhaps sealing off the window in preparation for winter? The leaves in the background look Autumn-ish. 
"No that's all right. I LIKE the push mower!"

This photo is deceptively serene:
Anyone looking at it would think she's just resting on the steps. Well--anyone who doesn't know Mum! She spent 2 weeks refinishing that entire banister. In fact, she did a lot of work on our friend's Victorian house to restore it to it's proper glory.  

Mum in the kitchen making mince meat pies. I was excited when I first saw this photo; I thought we'd caught her making her famous jam tarts. We were not fans of the mince meat, but her pastry is the BEST!
She has even managed to master gluten free baking, with 2 of us GF. Still the BEST baker!
In 1994, 3 of us got married & she made all the cakes: 
Atlasta's cake, but this is what they all look like. 7 layers of different variations of carrot cake. The BEST! Even before being GF, I couldn't eat anyone else's carrot cake. Nothing compares--& now her GF carrot cake is the BEST!

 She also had time to be active in the Winchester Little Theatre:

In The White Sheep of the Family. Mum knitting--REALLY knitting. When I worked at Wayside Theatre, she helped create a prop of knitting for one of the actresses. She couldn't knit. It was very funny & she ruined Mum's work. When Mum went to see the play, she commented on dropped stitches & lack of technique. Other than that, I think she enjoyed the play. 
 Here's the review of The White Sheep of The Family:

She is also a world traveler. She doesn't just go on Habitat builds, sometimes she goes for fun!

In Florida. 

In Australia with Judy & Prim:

At the helm, steering the boat:
As you do.

Post card to co-workers:

Mum & Dad in Australia.

South Africa:
With longtime friend Nan.

Aloe vera!

Demonstrating that we are British. We love nature & we are NOT afraid of lions!

Mum had a couple photos of seemingly nothing:
It's not nothing!  Look!  Look there! [point-point] That black dot is a dung beetle. 

Another trip with Prim & Judy. Tasmania, perhaps?
 Speaking of Prim & Judy, Mum said, "Judy is the worst back seat driver! I finally told her, 'Oh, do shut up Judy & hold onto the Jesus handle!'"

Auntie Vera, her sister, came for a vizzie visit. The president called so they trucked off to Washington D.C.:
This was right before she conferred with the presidential cabinet on important matters. And then they had tea, after which she did a quick dry wall repair in the Oval Office. "Where's your ute-knife, Mr. President?" The president averted her gaze & stared down at his shoes in discomfort. "You should always be prepared! You can never go wrong with the PROPER tools!" she admonished him, before offering to mend his sagging hem on his jacket.

She is proud mother:

Chiro-sis at her Palmer graduation.
She is midwife:
She delivered MOST of her grandchildren. Here they are weighing #6.
And grandmother:
With Atlasta's eldest. 
And here she is with the youngest, nephew RoRo:

HAPPY Birthday, Mum!!!

Time to CELEBRATE!!!  (This is from Mum's surprise 65th b-day party)


Ruth Holliday said...

Sis, You are AMAZING!!! What a wonderful gift! THANK YOU, I will dry my tears now...ILY, R xo

Labyrinth Gal said...

WUV you, Sweetie! Now get cracking on that trifle! ;-) H.

Anonymous said...

What a wonderful tribute. Give your Mom a hug for me :)


Labyrinth Gal said...

Thanks, Beni! Will do! :-) H.

Theresa said...

I love this! I remember that van. And I believe that is Wynn from Wynn's restaurant in one of the karate photos, isn't it?

Hali Chambers, Labyrinth Gal said...

Theresa, I think that is Wynn. He was so dear to Mum! :-)