My mother was the glue that held us together. She was empathetic and kind, with a wild temper. That temper rarely showed itself. My father was a recluse who liked to flirt with pretty women. This didn’t bother my mother was was secure in their relationship, a security that was real as I discovered after her death. My mother liked the days to be different from one another, my father had his daily rituals which were the same every day. The two, as I would discover later in life, were perfect for each other. In their own way they had a proclivity for life, call it a habit.
My father was a university professor who did not get tenure and thus did not work past the age of c 45. My mother became a CPA and payroll expert to keep food on the table and a roof over our heads. They lived a frugal but happy life, not “Disney” happy, real happy. That means that they were not happy ALL the time, there were bad times, there were hardships, but in the end we as a family and they as a couple stayed united.
My brother died 12 days before his birthday which would have been March 28th (that’s March 16th by the way, the day before St. Patrick’s Day). He was 47 years old and died of an aneurism and had hypertension. He left a 12-year-old son who became the ward of my parents and myself. Together the 3 of us finished raising him. But the death of her first-born child was too much for my already ailing with lung issues mother. She died just after her 77th birthday a year and a half after her son.
My father hung on another 6.5 years, and held to his routine of rising about 9:00AM, having a boiled egg, tomato juice, milk, bread, and coffee for breakfast while listening to NPR every morning. He was up at 1AM or later most nights writing – poetry. He paid for the big things in our lives, my nephew and me. That is housing, water, electricity, etc. I paid for the smaller things, like karate lessons. It was a good life.
My father finally died unexpectedly on his 84th birthday. We had had a big celebration the day before at his favorite restaurant, with close friends. That evening he watched his favorite movie Spitfire, and then in the early morning died. An apt way to go. My father had a proclivity for life, for writing, for being. Some would say he was lazy, living off my mother, but this was not really true from my prospective. He did a lot of chores for her, like paying the bills (before the on line baking years), cooking, house keeping. When she had to my mother worked. They are all gone now.
Today my nephew is an adult and out of the house. He is living his own life, and me I live mine.
My family c 1969/My parents Easter Sunday 1960/them c 2004/my brother & my c1990
My nephew and me with our Sensei Rand Jennings c2009/me and my nephew c 2007/me at the opening of the civil war exhibit for my great grandfather Joseph Van Tilburg c 2015/my nephew and a man dressed in civil war garb at that opening, my nephew posing as Joseph Van Tilburg. Joseph lived from 1831 to 1916 and was a civil war soldier in the Ohio 12th Infantry. Later he became a GAR commander as well as on Odd Fellow. He traveled all over the USA via the rail road.
Moira Levant / COCOA2.com © December 26th, 27th, 2017