Sunday, May 13, 2012

Family "Friday" - MomMom

Well, I'm falling a little behind this week.  I have a Pottery Barn knock-off that I've been working on, but I went to put it together the other night and I realized that it needed a bit more of something so I'll have to talk about that next week.  So with Mother's Day being today perhaps I should have blogged about my Mom, but, instead I'm going to talk about one of the people who helped shape my Mom into the person that she is today.  That would be her Mom or my MomMom.

This is my favorite picture of my grandmother
MomMom (or Mary as most people called her) was born September 19, 1911 in Coaldale, Pennsylvania to a coalminer and his wife.  She was the 2nd of 5 children and the 2nd daughter.  She would have been 100 this past September and, if things had gone a bit differetly, I have no doubt that she would have made it there.  You see, my grandmother comes from a long line of strong, Irish-Catholic women.  I like to think that some of that was passed to me even though I'm not related by blood (oh yeah, I'm adopted, but that's a story for another time).
My grandmother & her siblings
My great-grandfather passed away in 1918 - more on that in the future.  My grandmother had just turned 7.  Her older sister was 8 and a half, her younger sister was 4 and a half, her brother was 1 and a half, and her youngest sister hadn't even been born yet.  Yes, my great-grandmother had 4 children and another one of the way when her husband - the sole breadwinner in the family - passed away.  Remember how I mentioned that line of strong women?  While her father was sick, it was my grandmother's responsibility to run to the pharmacy to get him medicine because her older sister had had scarlet fever and she wasn't supposed to exert herself too much.

My MomMom graduated from high school and went to school to become a teacher and a stenographer.  She studied at the Pierre School of Business, Columbia University, and Elizabethtown College.  She eventually moved to Washington, DC.  She worked for the Patent Office and the Bureau of Prisons.  In 1944, her older sister Anna's husband Joe passed away and in 1947 her older sister passed away as well.  Anna & Joe had 2 children - Mary and Joe - and it was decided that they would have a much better life if they moved to DC to live with their Aunt Mary (my MomMom) than if they stayed in Coaldale.  So my grandmother became the guardian for her sister's children.

At some point in the late 40s my grandmother met my grandfather.  My grandfather had been married previously, but didn't marry in the Catholic Church.  My grandmother was a very strict Catholic and wrote to the bishop to make sure they could get married in the Catholic Church.  If he hadn't said yes, they wouldn't have gotten married and I wouldn't be here.  Luckily, they got married in 1950.  My Mom came along in 1952 and her sister a couple years later. 

My grandfather passed away in 1974.  My grandparents got such a short amount of time together, but they look so happy and in love in every picture I've seen of them.  My grandmother suffered a lot of loss in her life, but she was always so warm.  She had a stronger sense of family than anyone I've ever met.  She baked gingerbread men at Christmas every year.  Now, I'm the one that does that.  Her house was always clean and orderly.  She taught in Catholic school for many years.  These are just bits and pieces of her life.  They make up a woman that I am so proud to call my grandmother and that I miss so much I can't describe it.  There is so much more that I want to know about her and her life.  If only I could go back in time and ask her more about her life and the members of her family that I never had the privledge to meet.  There's so much more I could tell you all, but I hope this has been enough to give you an idea of who my MomMom was.  So, Happy Mother's Day to all the Moms out there.  And the grandmothers, sisters, aunts, and friends who are mother figures.  Thank you for all that you do!

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