Saturday, May 7, 2011

Mother's Day

Mother's Day. It's a day we will memorialize our wonderful mothers...those sacrificing women of our childhoods who gave so much of who they were so that we might have a better life than they did.
My own mother, Marcella Mae Pontious McNally, born December 11, 1918 was raised during The Great Depression. My grandparents lived in Cleveland, Ohio and during the 1930's they ran a couple of restaurants. Grandpa ran his (and unfortunately I know very little about this) and Grandma ran Nellie Belle's. I told this story yesterday. Because of the restaurants their family ate during the Depression. But it was hard work for the whole family and not without long hours. My mother was able to go to a business college and enjoyed loads of fun and independence that her parents had never even dreamed of.

Mom about 15

My parents met after World War II. In less than two weeks they were off to Las Vegas to get married! My mom was an "older woman," seven years older than Dad. She was quite a looker too! I don't think as children we look at our parents objectively...they are Mommy & Daddy...the most important people in our world. I thought my mom was beautiful and loved it when she dressed up, wore jewelry & high heels.

Here are Mom & Dad as they left her parent's little house in Mentone, CA for Las Vegas to get married at The Little Chapel Around the Corner on the Las Vegas Strip on September 22, 1950. Sixteen months later I was born. The story goes that Mom went into labor with me on December 31, 1951...and on January 3, 1952 she was still laboring. The Doctor told my Dad they were going to do an emergency C-Section (so it wasn't an emergency a couple of days before?). The nurse told my Dad they "hoped" one of us would make it. Daddy always told me I was the prettiest baby he'd ever seen. I think by then he was just glad he HAD a wife AND baby! We lived in San Bernardino, CA when I was born and in October there was a large earthquake (7.3)...the first large earthquake since San Francisco in 1906. Mom told of trying to get to my room in a panic and my crib rolling back and forth, banging on the walls as the ground rolled and shook. I always felt so much love hearing about the panic part. My Mom loved me!

Here I am at about 18 months. I think mom relished being a mom. Brother Pat is 15 months younger than I and 2 years later baby brother Denny entered the scene. Mom was 34 when we kids began to arrive. She gave us birthday parties, made us Halloween costumes and she and Dad took us camping at least once a year. We went to the Circus, to the swimming pool, to the zoo, the beach and more. She was my Camp Fire leader for a few years.

For the first few years we only had one car. We'd moved to Los Angeles when I was three. A series of rentals and then my parents were able to buy a house. $50 down payment for Veterans but somehow they got their 3 bedroom, 1 1/2 bath home for $18,000. I can remember my mom paying the bills each month and showing me the loan booklet. She taught me about interest and loans. Remember this was before the day of Credit Cards. When I was 5, Dad kept his "work" car for Mom to use when he bought a new one. So then our world got a bit larger.

Mom loved playing cards, jigsaw puzzles, crosswords (she did them in ink!). For a number of years she always had a paint-by-number painting in progress. She'd mix the colors, ignore the lines...years later I found out she'd always wanted to be a painter. But I know she cheerfully sacrificed serious art for paper maché, crayons & construction paper with her children. Mom ran the concession stand at the Little League field, headed up PTA committees and events, helped in our classes and more.

As I grew and married, Mom became a Grandma. She loved the job! We came home to Redlands for holidays and she'd make them so special!

Cooking with mom....1980's.

Mom & I on Maui...very early 90's. I think I know what I'll look like as I age.

Mom & Dad on her 80th birthday. She still could beat the pants off any of us at cards.

Most of my parenting came from my mom. It was her wisdom, grace, calm and giving spirit. I still catch myself even now when my mom's words come out of my mouth. I'm so proud to be her daughter. Mom's been gone now for 9 years. I miss her every day.

Mother's day brings me to my own daughters.

I love this photo....I'm not even sure how old it is. Sarah at top...she's been gone 5 years now, I still expect to pick up the phone and hear her enthusiastic, "Hi Mommy!" Becka & Liz are in the front. They just spent two weeks together. Does a Mother's heart good to have them spend time together. They have become such good mothers themselves. I'm so very proud of them. To me, they are what Mother's Day is all about.


Christine Thresh said...

I loved reading your Mothers' Day piece. Thank you.

metal mama said...

what a beautiful mother's day story :) thank you for sharing!
and happy mother's day to you too!

Tanya said...

Thank you for the lovely introductions to your family. It was fun seeing pictures and knowing how much all of the beauties mean to you. Happy mother's day!

Anonymous said...

Hi Bren,
I'm sitting here in Maui choking back a few tears and thing back. Thanks for the memories! Not only are you a great mother and sister, you are a fantastic writer!
Love you

Unknown said...

My parents were also married at The Little Chapel Around the Corner. Have you been able to figure out if this Chapel still exists? I'm trying to find it.
I have it feeling it either no longer exists or exists under another name.
Any clues out there?