Saturday, December 11, 2010

Happy Birthday Mom!

December 11,1925, my mother, Marie Doris Louise Charrette was born in Somersworth,NH. Back then,it was very common for French Catholics to put Marie ( the French version of Mary) or Joseph in front of their children's names. I think it more or less a baptismal name,but I am not sure. I don't' know when the practice started,or when it stopped,but it was very popular. Her original name was Marie Therese (Theresa) Louise but my Memere changed it after her brother in law told her about a dirty joke about a woman named Therese. My Mom still has the birth certificate with that name on it. How Doris came about I don't know.

My Mom had two younger siblings,Gertrude and Richard,both of whom have passed away,so she is the only surviving member of her family. My Pepere died in 1972,and my Memere died in 1986. ( Strange coincidence,my Uncle Richard and my husband Richard share the same birthday, August 11,and they were both called Dickie).

My Mom is an interesting woman. She didn't speak any English until she was about 9 years,French being the dominate language in the house.(Both sets of her grandparents immigrated from Canada in the late 1800's) I think she was very self conscious about it,and to this day,even though I can't hear it,others have commented on her slight French accent. She hated school,and obtained an 8th grade education,graduating at age 16. ( I will have to ask her why she was older when she graduated-I think she started school late ). She lived through the Depression . At 16 she worked in the shoe shop,and worked there until it closed in 1986. During World War 2,her family had a small farm and a Victory Garden. She told me about some nights when she would walk home from work and there would be air raid drills,and all the street lights and the lights in people's homes would be out. I asked her if it scared her walking home by herself in the pitch black,and she said no. Things were different back then. For fun they would go to the ice rink,movies,and rollerskating.

(My Mom and Zach in 2005 at my sister's house)

After my Dad came back from the South Pacific,he met my Mom,and they fell in love,getting married on January 25,1947. I didn't know until about 20 years ago that when she met my Dad,she was already engaged,and wound up writing a Dear John letter to the man whom she would marry after my Dad passed's sounds like a romance novel,doesn't it?

My brother Valmore arrived in 1948,my sister Linda in 1951,brother Dennis in 1960,and yours truly, in 1967.

She watched my Dad suffer from Alzheimer's,and eventually pass away from complications. She married her first love,Roger,a couple years after Dad passed away,even though she knew his cancer had come back,and they only had about a year together before he,too,passed.

My Mom is very Yankee-strong,determined,and very do it herself. She still paints walls,cleans,mows her lawn,shovels or snow blows her driveway,and rakes leaves. She says the day she has to have someone else do it for her is the day she dies. She is always doing something. She doesn't like "stuff". She will let you know that something is a "waste." She has what she needs,and if she buys something,it has to have a specific place already in mind. If my sister or I buy something we have to have,her first question is,"Where are you going to put that?" Everything has a to have a purpose and place,and it drives her nuts when I answer,'I don't know,I'll find a place." ( I always do).

She has very specific ideas,and knows her own mind,which I guess can be called stubbornness. I see this in myself-especially when decorating or planning something.You can offer me suggestions,but I rarely take them. I go with what is in my head. Things have to be a certain way. I have a garland around my window that is driving me nuts because one end is a bit higher than the other. I will have to fix it. No one else would notice it-except for me,my sister,and my Mom.(Another trait we have inherited from my Mom).

So...Happy 85th Birthday Mom. You are a true Yankee woman...thanks for all that you have given me these last 43 years. I wouldn't be me without you.

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