Monday, September 6, 2021

How my mother bought me a wedding bouquet, even though she died before I got married

Me and my mother on our wedding days in Paisley.
While exploring Europe with her friends, my mother met a man in a bar one night who helped her request a song. When they met again in Greece, she ditched her friends to hitchhike with him through Turkey, and by the time they reached Syria she had fallen in love with the "beautiful, quiet" Danish man who wore a kilt and spoke English with a Scottish accent. Before she brought him home with her to Los Angeles, they were married in a civil ceremony in Paisley, Scotland, in 1965 when she was 21 and he 27.
 
That was cool.
 
Decades later when I was ready to get hitched, I longed to get married in Paisley, too. Since my parents couldn't be there in person (my mother had died when I was a teen and my father couldn't attend) I thought the best way to have them with me was to get married where they did. The idea was a bit crazy and would be hard to make happen, but my husband agreed to the plan and off we went.
 
Our wedding party was small, with one of the planned witnesses our friend named Jim. Turns out my parents also had a witness named Jim, a Scottish man my father had traveled with for several years before meeting my mother. Since Jim lived in Paisley, my parents headed there to get married so Jim could attend.
 
Heather, my flower girl.
Another person in our wedding party was Heather, one of my husband's cousins. The day of the ceremony, Heather woke up early with a plan to get me a wedding bouquet, walking to the nearest shop so she could surprise me with flowers I didn't know I wanted until she handed them to me.
 
And it turns out that without even trying, she had made me a bouquet that looked almost exactly like the one my mother had on her wedding day.
 
That was super cool.
 
But we didn't realize that until this year, when I posted my parents' wedding photo for another blog post
 
Thirteen years later, while looking at photos from both weddings, it struck me how much the bouquets looked alike. I asked Heather if she had done that on purpose, as I had brought my mother's wedding photo with me, so she could have seen her bouquet.
 
Heather said she hadn't meant to create a similar bouquet, but definitely noticed how much they looked alike when seeing my mother's flowers again. "And I got a little teary-eyed," she said. "I actually think it's cooler that it just happened that way. It's a small town, maybe it was the same shop where she got hers."

Or maybe my mother was there with Heather as she picked out the flowers, then shaped the bouquet in her hotel room before the ceremony. I like thinking she was.
 
 
Our wedding party after the ceremony, with me holding my parents' wedding photo.

 
 

Sunday, September 5, 2021

Poem: After

Before 
I couldn't see inside 
Only shiny metal on black tires
Steel wings and a roar overhead.

After
I can't see anything but the faces
And laughs and smiles
Bundles of life
Belted to buckets of steel
rushing to loves and dinners and holidays and homes
suspended in the seconds before the crash.

Now
Every time the door closes
I soak up the echoes
And squeeze them tight
So I'll still have something
When they don't come back.



Wednesday, September 1, 2021

My Grandmother's Journals: September, 1996

Five generations: My mother, my sister, my grandmother, 54; her mother, 77, her grandmother, 100.
In tiny notebooks, my grandmother wrote down each day what time she woke up, where she ate breakfast, any movie she went to see, what mail and phone calls she received, then what she read and watched on TV before bed.

In 1996, she was 80-years-old and living alone in a mobile home park in Santa Cruz, Calif. But I wouldn't describe her as lonely; she was an extremely independent and persnickety woman whom I never knew to live with another person or even a pet. (I wrote more about her life in an earlier post.)  

Close to her home was the famous surfing spot called Pleasure Point, and she loved walking to the ocean and watching the surfers. When she died at 97 in 2013, I took her ashes to those waves with a friend of hers and we each dropped some at the sand. A moment after I dropped mine, a surfer emerged from the water where I stood.


That was cool. 
 
In September of 1996, she turned 81, marking her birthday, Sept. 12, with only a small "81" written in the corner. Later she got a bad stomach flu, and was preparing for her next trip while watching plenty of tennis, football and baseball.
 
 
Sunday, Sept. 1, 1996
Up 8:30. Fruit and toast here. 
Seles won; Edberg won.
To Gott's again, got skirt and pants. Owe $197. Girl at Penneys offered $25 for suitcase.
To corner, talked to large lady. She crochets, etc. Gave her green reel.
49ers. Dug up "Jade" cactus Freda gave me years ago. To trash, avocado planted.

Monday, Sept. 2, 1996
Up 8, ate at corner.  
Tennis, Graf and Agassi won.
Ironed scraps for lady. She took all, except cottons.
To show after lunch, "Basquait." Sad. Street painter, NYC. Graffiti. Became "famous."
Died of OD, Aug. 27, 1988.
Tennis, Chang. Taped Madame Bovary. 
Read. Bed.

Tuesday, Sept. 3, 1996
Up 8:30. Bank, deposited Justine's money. 
Coffee, etc. Home, tennis. 
Did nails, caught up on papers, sorted fabrics.
To Live Oak, BP 168? Student.
To town, checked Thrift Store. Yes, take patterns.
To library, checked health and safety code.
Got hot dog!
Seles won, Sampras won.
Law & Order, French. Bed. Took mel.
 
Wednesday, Sept. 4, 1996 
Watered lawns, some weeds.
Tennis, Graf, Chang, Muster v. Agassi. Both played good.  
Sewed old quilt, 3 hours. Star Trek Voyager, News.
Slept fair. Dream, Fergie at a "palace." Trouble with luggage.
 
Thursday, Sept. 5, 1996
Awake 5, back to sleep. Up 9:30.
To corner, then Longs, Albertsons. Tennis, mixed Doubles.
Letter to Stimson. To Post Office, mailed package to Mina. 
Wrote letter to Mina between checking on Tennis.
To Post Office, mailed letter to Mina.
Walked on cliff. Evening calm, but surfers out.
Ran tape of P&P, 2 hours.
 
Friday, Sept. 6, 1996
Reservations at Live Oak, tuna salad.
Tennis: Chang, Agassi, Sampras. 
Awake 6, up 9. Breakfast at Kmart.
To gas, cap gone! To Kragens, got one with lock! $13.
Wrote to Justine, mailed. 
Rain, Graf match postponed. 
To Live Oak for dinner. Sewed sari, both edges done.
Taped PBS program, Shadow Government. 
 
Saturday, Sept. 7, 1996
Up 9:30. To Corner.
Tennis, Chang/Agassi: 6/3, 6/2, 6/2! Chang seems emotional, Agassi off game.
To show, Kansas City. Stopped by Carol's on way, then back.
Library, returned Beatrice Wood.
Walked East Cliff; to be closed 3 months.
Ran tapes of Gulliver's Travels, And the Band Played On. 

Sunday, Sept. 8, 1996
Up 8. To corner. Talked to woman doing X-word puzzle.
Graf over Seles. Good match. Rain delay of Sampras/Chang.
Ironed cotton scraps, watched some football. 49ers vs. Rams, 34-0.
Walked on cliff, to Trader Joe's.
Watched Dateline with (Jeffrey) Toobin, wrote book on O.J., reporter for the New Yorker. 
Some 60 Minutes. Bed.

Monday, Sept. 9, 1996
Reservations at Live Oak - fish.
Watered. To corner. Red Corvette!
To Watsonville, called Senior Center, serve breakfast 8 to 10.
Mail: Justine sent three books back.
Paid KQED, IRS. 
TV: A&E 3 hours, ran P&P tapes to compare audio.
Bed 10. Not good sleep.

Tuesday, Sept. 10, 1996
Up 9:30. Awake 8, but because of little sleep, rested.
To corner, tiny mouse in shop.
I cleaned papers, etc, from paper, telephone location.  
Foned Hindu Foundation in Watsonville, gave 1 shirt, red,  white and blue.
To library, read some of Warhol. 
To show, "Carried Away." Dennis Hopper, Amy Irving. Honest. 
Some TV. Bed early.

Wednesday, Sept. 11, 1996
Up 9. Ate at Seal Rock Cafe. Coffee cold.
To Louden, BP. 138/72, same as last time.
Home, tired, rested.
Walked about 5:30 to 6.
Some A&E. Baseball. Ghost, enjoyed. 
Got clothes ready for laundromat.
Slept good.

Thursday, Sept. 12, 1996 
81. (It was her 81st birthday)
To laundromat. To corner, 9:45.
Clayton to sell his Geo Storm. Has A/C. 
Foned Mid-County. Will take cotton.
Wrote Prudy. To Post Office and Mid-County.
Wrote Mina and Paris. To show, "Emma" again.
Library, Kmart, home.
Watched Mystery, 5 hours. Rerun.
Bed. Very bad sleeping.

Friday, Sept. 13, 1996
Slept 4:30 to 9. Not good. Breakfast at corner. 
To San Jose, stopped at Burger King to P.
To Cypress senior center, gave 3 x 3 squares. 
To Macy's, took over Emporium. Got sweater at Nordstrom, and tights.
Home via Scotts Valley, got salad at Wendy's.
Taped PBS, watched X-Files, part of The Crying Game.
Took M, slept good.

Saturday, Sept. 14, 1996
Up 9. To corner, gave Lee fabric.
To Mid-County Flea Market, no dolls!
Also wine festival in Capitola. Lunch at home.
Mail: Adverts. Sorted some clothes, wool sweaters of Justine's left at house.
Ran half of P&P, Bio of Leonard Nimoy. Interesting, married first wife at 33, 2 children. Then to a producer, Susan Bay, son, daughter, stepson.
Again, not good sleep.

Sunday, Sept. 15, 1996
Up 9, Breakfast BK, watered lawn.
Walked Capitola, wine festival again.
Home noon. French tapes. To corner,  croissant & coffee.
Albertsons, home 3:30. Wrote some to Mina.
Typed P&P cast, taped USA Unabomber; 60 Minutes interviewed family of Ted K.
News, Frank Lloyd Wright homes.
Drank Cabernet with water.

Monday, Sept. 16, 1996
Slept good, feel up. Breakfast at corner.
To Kmart, got more dandelion killer and sprayed Larry's lawn.
Talked to Larry, he sprayed Myra's side, not mine.
Mail: No letter from bank of  NY.
Had to return French cassettes.
TV: 5 news, Murphy Brown, Cybill, 10 news.
Had wine. Bed. Not too good. 

Tuesday, Sept. 17, 1996
Up 9. Awake 5. Breakfast Lyon's. Upped price of coffee!
Walked town of Capitola, road blocked.
To Longs, got T.V. Guide. Home, CNN.
To Live Oak, BP 168/82.
To bank, girl, blonde, no focus, not listening. 
To Longs, Post Office, mailed to Federal Reserve bank.
Home, Frasier, news. Bed, no wine.

Wednesday, Sept. 18, 1996
Slept good. Awake often tho! Up 8.
Watered lawn and picked some of Larry's dandelions. 
To corner, then walked. To Trader Joe's.
Mail arrived at 12:45. Letter from Mina, fone bill.
Worked on car repair costs, papers, etc. 
Law & Order, Rockford Files. Some news.

Thursday, Sept. 19, 1996
Slept fair. Up 9:30. Cran/apple juice.
To library, got prices from Barron's, list of hotels near airport.
Home. Taped wrong last night.
Rested, read papers. 
Walked East Cliff. Sun difficult, setting.
Taped Brook's Suddenly Susan. Not as bad as some reviewers say.

Friday, Sept. 20, 1996
Awake 7, up 9. Slept OK, Breakfast Carl's.
Showered, cut hair a bit.
Ants in sink! Left butter out, gone.
Spot on nose bad. Could not find Band-aids.
News, Geraldo Rivera. Taped Mr. and Mrs. Smith. Watched X-Files.

Saturday, Sept. 21, 1996
Awake 5, up 8. Breakfast corner. Lee there.
Library, got price on last bond. Mailed renewal for 4 (5?).
To show, "Trainspotting!!!"
Home, Dodgers vs. San Diego, Warm. D won 9-2.
TV: New shows, Dark Skies, re: aliens, Roswell. Also "Profiler," woman with "2nd Sight!"
Stark, grim. People left show?
 
Sunday, Sept. 22, 1996
Fair night. Awake 7:30.
Some yard work after coffee, etc.  
49ers getting beaten by Carolina!
Wrote letter to SW Bell!
Started feeling uncomfortable in afternoon. 
Ate banana and bread. To bed 8:30 p.m. 

Monday, Sept. 23, 1996
Awake 5:30 a.m. Lost whatever was in stomach, then had diarrhea on and off all day.
Took (medication), threw it up in 1/2 hour. All day in bed.
24-hour bug, 5:30 Mon to 5:30 Tues.
Think subsided about 4 a.m., so slept til 9 a.m. Really got washed out.
No paper on Monday.

Tuesday, Sept. 24, 1996
To market, got another type of diarrhea prevention, T.V. Guide, crackers, potatoes.
Home, back to bed.
Read paper, rested, did nothing.  
Ate crackers, hot milk, crackers, chicken broth. 
Carol called. Has apples, but I don't feel too good.
Bed early, couldn't sleep. Earache.
 
Wednesday, Sept. 25, 1996
Up 9:15, to Live Oak, registered for absentee ballot.
Louden, BP: 122/74.
To corner for donut & coffee.
Worked on watch to change battery! Put on old "pink" watch from Shanghai. 
Ate meal: Chicken patty, baked potato, veg. 
Stuck in stomach like a rock. Ill all night.
Lost part of crossword.

Thursday, Sept. 26, 1996
Some relief around 4 a.m.  Slept til 10. Just tea.
To Kmart, got beef broth and chicken broth. 
To laundromat, home. Foned library and renewed French tapes.
Made bed, etc. News.
Had tea or beef broth, crackers.
Bed 8:30, slept good.

Friday, Sept. 27, 1996
Up 9. Put heat on. Washed part of bedroom rug, also mopped kitchen floor.
Rested between work.
News, NBC + CBS.  To be warmer today!
Shower, cut hair, to corner. 
To OSH for shower rods, then to Kmart. Did not get any.
Carol brought pears.
TV: X-Files, old. Bed, papers.

Saturday, Sept. 28, 1996
Awake 7:30, up 9. Breakfast here. 
Mail: Letter from Bank of NY asking for $5.
Wrote to bank, rather sarcastic, $5 check. To Longs for copy, to Post Office. 
"Deadly Deception," 4 to 6.
Checked out TV w/o cable, get 6 on 15 and 54 on 17. 22 had classical music and documentary.
Bed early, woke up! French til 2:45 a.m.

Sunday, Sept. 29, 1996
Up 9:30. Ate here. To corner, got coffee, etc.
To library, home. Garden, cleaned some of Jasmine up
Wrote Justine and Mimi.
49ers vs. Atl, 39-17. Raiders, 17, vs. Bears, 19
Watered lawn!! Padres, 2, Dodgers, 0, in 11th inning. 3 straight wins.
Wine about 1:30. Headache in a.m.

Monday, Sept. 30, 1996
Up 9. To credit union. Car show starting.
To Mid-County, left note to sell Pullman.
To bank, then Sears. Battery low, had 70,000 miles.
Home to change, back to Mid-County for flu shot.
Dallas vs Philly, 23 -19. Bed 10:30. Slept fair. 


The letter my grandmother typed and mailed to me on Sept. 29, 1996.