Thursday, September 17, 2009

You Are My Sunshine

My mother died a month ago today. How is that possible? It feels like 10 minutes. Those last days and moments with her are still fresh, as is the aftermath of doing and numbness.  I am flooded with memories.

For Mom and me, memories and music went together.

Most summers when I was a kid (late 60's/early 70's), I spent a month in Florida with Aunt Marie and Uncle Jack. Mom got to save a little money on child care, give my nanny a vacation, relax herself a bit, and I'd get to have a month by the pool! At the end of my stay in Florida, Marie, Jack and I would take a scenic drive to New York to pick up my Mom and most of my family to continue up "Up North" to Saranac Lake or Lake George for a few days together.

We'd travel in 2 cars, making funny faces at each other as we passed each other on the highway along the way: Uncle Walter, Aunt Fran, Uncle Joe and Aunt Kay in one car; Aunt Marie, Uncle Jack, Mom and me in the other.

The cabin on Lake George had no television and barely any electricity. It had a deep back yard, a wooden dock and a canoe.

I always knew it was time to come in when I'd hear the singing start.  I'd run up the hill while someone started the barbecue. By the time I got up to the house, the grown-ups were singing all sorts of show tunes, songs from the 30's, 40's and 50's (cocktails apparently hasten the heating of the coals or at least make the wait more interesting).

My Mom, her four siblings and Aunt Fran grew up together in Witherbee, New York and had known each other since the beginning of time; after dinner clean-up always included more laughing over all the "old stories."

We'd all upstairs at bedtime . . . me and Mom in one room, Marie and Jack in another. One large dorm-type room had 2 bunk beds: Joe and Kay took one, Fran and Walt the other. Just like a bunch of kids, giggling would start up in some corner. Then "good night John-Boy" . . . then the singing . . . "Irene, good niiiiiiiight . . . . Irene, good-night . . ."
Today, my family and I will remember my Mom with music.  I've asked everyone to sing one of my Mom's favorite songs - You Are My Sunshine; from wherever we are, we'll be together singing (perhaps silently) and remembering Carmen today at 12:35 p.m. EDT.  It will connect us to each other and to her, with music, with shared memories and love.

1 comment:

  1. what a lovely story to share and the photo is priceless! Obviously you have wonderful memories of your Mom, as do I. I feel blessed to have spent so many years with my Mom as I'm sure you did also.