Posted by: Janet | May 18, 2009

Family Records

As my mother felt she was nearing the end of her life she carefully sorted through her documents and personal letters and photographs.  In October 1999 she sent me 3 large manila envelopes containing letters I had sent to her over the years.  I was rather surprised to receive these and a bit hurt that she no longer wanted to keep them.  She said they would help me in writing my autobiography.  Ten+ years on I can better understand and appreciate why she returned the letters to me and indeed I will use them in my writing.  

 What my mother did not post from her home in Maui Hawaii to me here in Dublin, were many many additional letters and diaries and photographs, mostly giving her life story and family history.  Those records I found when my sisters and I were sorting out her house a year later following her death in October 2000.  We had a limited time to clean out her house.  I had come from Dublin, my sister Ruth from New Hampshire, and my sister Nan from Connecticut.  We each had to return to our respective families.  We had little time to stop and look at photographs and read old letters.  But I tried to keep all the old photographs and letters and I put whatever I found and posted them to myself here in Dublin.  When my boxes containing these records finally arrived I just put them into storage without examining them closely.  It has been on my “to do” list ever since to go through them carefully.  Now my “to do” list is coming home to roost and I am going through them again and putting them in boxes to send to Seattle. 

 Incidentally, Seattle airport was the last place I saw my mother.  She had  come from Hawaii to attend son James and Susan’s wedding in King County Courthouse, Room 9, on July 1, 2000.   She was not feeling well but wanted very badly to attend the wedding and go on to New Hampshire for the annual family reunion.  She was in good form for the wedding and we were so happy she was there. 

 

James and Susan's weddingThe family particularly liked her flashy trousers pictured above (upper right just beside  James and Susan)

 

In the days following the wedding she felt so unwell that she cancelled her plans to fly on to Boston and returned to Maui instead.  We saw her off at departure gate N2 at SeaTac.  That turned out to be our final parting.  She passed away 3 months later.

 Mother on one of her Crysrtal Cruises    A photo of my mother when she went on one of her Crystal Cruises.  1982

I am finding so many wonderful photographs in her collection but what is really bugging me as I write this is that yesterday Ian and I were looking at one small album in particular – one among many I hasten to add – but later when I wanted to look at this particular album again I could not find it.  I have looked and looked again everywhere!!!  It has somehow disappeared.  Of particular interest were photographs of my mother and father, Ian and myself, my father and my brother.  Grr.

To be continued, with more photographs.

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