Saturday, October 30, 2010

Day 4 - My Parents

Ah...this should be interesting. There's really no way to cleanly separate this entry from the next, which is about siblings, but I'll do my best. The very short version is that I am the product of my mother's second marriage and my father's third. More on that later...

My parents are a funny thing. They met while Mom was working in admitting in the emergency room at a local hospital and my father's wife was a patient. My father's wife died and he was looking for someone to care for his daughter. My mother, being an amazingly generous person, had previously taken in a family of 13 from her church - this in addition to already having 8 children of her own at home - so the priest immediately thought of Mom when my father approached him looking for someone to care for my sister, K, for the remainder of the school year. (My father owned businesses in Massachusetts and needed to be down there during the week, only coming back to NH on the weekends, and he didn't want to uproot K during the school year.) My mother agreed to take K in and my father would visit every weekend.

My older siblings apparently were in favor of something happening between my parents, but everyone was shocked when something actually did. After months of visits, providing for K, and spending time with Mom and the rest of my siblings, my father asked Mom to go for a drive. After a while, he pulled over and quite seriously proposed marriage to my mother. She scoffed at the idea, but he very practically laid out the points that her children needed a father (since theirs had left them high and dry) and that his daughter needed a mother. He wanted to care for Mom and my siblings and asked her to consider. She said yes. Personally, I've always thought this story was rather romantic.

Somehow, my father had procured a marriage license and, upon Mom's acceptance of his proposal, he drove to a Justice of the Peace and they were married on the spot. I was born 13 months and 5 days later.

My father died when I was 6. He was a large man with a booming voice, strong and strong-willed, loud and opinionated. Quite frankly, I was scared of him. Since he worked in Massachusetts all week, I really didn't get that he was my father. When he died, I didn't really feel much of anything. That all came later on, in my teen years. I regret deeply that I was afraid of him. By all accounts, he was a puddle of mush whenever I was around and, much to most everyone's dismay, I had him wrapped around my little finger. He even named one of his companies after me. I miss my father every single day. My mother is very fond of saying that he was a bull in a china shop and that I'm pretty much the same way. I take it as a compliment. I'm strong and can hold my own and you always know where you stand with me. I get all of that from him and I'm grateful to be Clem Walker's daughter (now, if you remember the name of the blog post, you might be saying "Clem?" It was his middle name (more specifically, it was Clement). No one called him Francis).

My mother... Ah, Mom. Mom is the strongest woman I know. She has survived the abandonment of a husband, the death of another, the death of two sons and a son-in-law, as well as breast cancer. She is a gifted musician, playing the piano and pipe organ for more than 60 years now and being the church organist for the parish I grew up in for the past 33 years. She's still going strong with her music, too, and it is one of the joys of my life to sit in the house where I grew up and listen to her play the piano. Growing up, I have very fond memories of going to sleep at night and listening to her music throughout the house. Liam and Ella adore it when Nana sits down at her piano. I love seeing their appreciation of music deepen with the touch of her hands to the piano keys. Mom is a fierce and loyal Mumma Bear. She looks out for us still, even though we're all grown. She is beautiful and graceful and loves the English language. She instilled is us all a deep appreciation of reading and research. One of her passions is the daily crossword puzzle, or, as she calls it, "her therapy." I distinctly remember sitting at her knee - quite literally - as she taught me to read and write before I entered first grade. Above all else, though, Mom loves God and her family. She has a deep faith that has seen her through some seriously dark times and to witness it is a gift.

I'm often sad that my parents had such a short amount of time together. Mom likes to say that she's "had the worst of men (her first husband), and the best (my father) but that, without them, [she] wouldn't have [her] children so [she's] always grateful."

I am most definitely a strong combination of both of my parents and I am proud to be their child.

1 comment:

Lorraine said...

what a wonderful tribute to both your parents.