I think the thing that got my memory really stirred up this year was the fact that it was the 150th Anniversary of the Battle of Gettysburg. Back in 1938 my mother, along with her father and brothers, was in Gettysburg for the 75th anniversary of that battle. She would have been eighteen, newly graduated from high school and preparing to attend nursing school in Philadelphia that fall.
My mother and her brothers had lost their mother five years earlier and in an effort to keep his kids together my maternal-grandfather sent his children off to boarding school in McSherrystown, PA under the tutelage of the Sisters of Saint Joseph. He thought that was the only way his children would be able to be together because he did not feel capable of caring for them himself.
That time in boarding school made my mother yearn for the stability of a family and she got that for herself when she married my father and eventually had four children of her own. I'm not saying that she was the perfect mother or that we were the perfect children but she instilled in us an appreciation for the closeness of family that so many of my contemporaries seem to lack. We all truly care about one another, like one another, and love one another; that was her doing.
Just one more related little story about Mom and Gettysburg...One of the nuns that taught my mother at St. Joseph's Academy in McSherrystown was a granddaughter of General George Pickett who led his Confederate troops in an ill planned attack against the Union forces on July 3, 1863. I guess that shows that we are not really as removed from history as we would believe.
So that's it from me for now. Happy belated birthday Mom! Thanks for everything. We still give you the only present you ever asked of us. You have kids who love each other.
Go and celebrate the 4th with Fireworks and barbecue and if you think of it stop for a moment and thank the powers that be for giving me a fantastic Mom.