mom0001My mother, a woman loved by so very many people, passed away 11 years ago today.  I can’t begin to count the times over the past years when I’ve wanted to tell her something; to show her how proud I am of her granddaughter; to let her know that I FINALLY can do some of the things she wanted me to do (like cook!).  I know in my heart that she’s watching over us and that she knows. But still.

The greatest joy in my life is my daughter.  Now, Mama, I understand what you felt. Oh my daughter has far surpassed me in things to be proud of, but I truly understand that depth of love for a child that allows you to hold them close and let go at the same time.  That makes you stand up tall and proud at every accomplishment that child makes.  To support them in being the best human being they can be.  Mama, I give you credit for Emma’s successes too, because you taught me how to be a mother. You were a shining example.

No, you weren’t perfect. Who is? I certainly am not.  But you were the 1950’s/1960’s housewife with a big heart. You cooked wonderful meals and baked like no one else. I remember cousins and aunts frequently at our house for meals with everyone commenting that you needed to start “Aunt Mary’s Restaurant.”  During the summer you (apparently) gladly added to the brood during the day, watching over your sister’s three kids as well as your own three, and your best friend’s two daughters.  We had a houseful!  And that doesn’t even count the Blue Bird/Camp Fire Girls you led once a week or the neighborhood kids who came to play.  You knew how to entertain us with crafts and trips to Steven’s Creek or the beach.  And you treated every kid with equal love and attention.  Everyone loved being at our house.  Because of that example, I’ve been very active in Emma’s school life and our home is always a place the kids love to come.  I have the privilege of being “mom” to a whole other passel of kids!Girl Pile_0846

But most important, Emma and I have a really lovely, special relationship.  I learned from my mother and father that there’s no such thing as too much love.  And that you NEVER hide your love.  You cuddle them and kiss them as long as you can.  And that you accept and love your child for everything that they are, good or bad.  You expected a lot of us but only in the sense that you wanted us to always do the best that we could.  And you wanted us to be happy.  I am happy Mama.  I’ve had my ups and downs, done things I’m not proud of, but where I excel, where I’m most content, is as a mother.  And I learned that from you.  I miss you.  I love you.  So much and very much and with all my heart and I adore and me with doll

Mary Ann Wilson Froom Marshall

October 28, 1925 – July 30, 1998


Do you ever wax nostalgic for those good ol’ family dinners of yore?  Everyone sitting around the table sharing a meal that (of course) mom prepared…in retrospect, with modern standards applied, often not the healthiest. 

As I’ve worked over the past 9 months to lose a few (!!!35!!!) pounds I did have memories of the meals my revered mother put on the table.  And when someone over on Plurk asked what to make for dinner the other night, I remembered that all those many years ago, when I first married, my mother made a list of favorite dinners and included it in the brand spanking new “Joy of Cooking” she gave me.  The same list that she had actually written on the inside of a cupboard door so that she would have inspiration when she was stuck on the “what to have tonight” train of thought.

I share that list with you now.  Just in case you need some inspiration.  Now when you read the list, be sure to picture it in all it’s 1950’s and 1960’s glory, repleat with a plate of sliced white bread in the middle of the table, tall glasses of milk at the setting of each child (my two brothers and I), tea for daddy and coffee for mom.  Dinner was, of course, followed by cigarettes (dad: Viceroy, mom: Chesterfields, I think!).

  • Chinese dinner (this was bought by daddy and brought home…no wonder it’s on the top of the list – no cooking!)
  • baked ham (must have been less expensive than it is now!)
  • corned beef and cabbage (more than a St. Patrick’s Day dinner!)
  • roast chicken
  • roast beef
  • broiled chicken
  • macaroni and cheese (homemade only-no blue box for us)
  • chipped beef on biscuits (does anyone still make this?)
  • meat loaf
  • spaghetti
  • pork roast or chops
  • hamburgers
  • mexican dinner (not sure what this was…she didn’t make burritos, or rellenos…probably only tacos)
  • meat pie
  • broiled fish
  • broiled lamb chops
  • beef & macaroni (NOT hamburger helper.  It hadn’t been invented yet!)
  • baked beans
  • weiners and beans (canned beans of course)
  • frozen chicken pie and artichokes (the pie was frozen not the artichokes.  It was chicken pot pie – the little ones Swanson made.  One for each of us.)
  • beans with hot dogs wrapped in bacon; brown bread (canned).
  • barbequed spare ribs (Dad did all the barbequeing!)
  • fried chicken (a personal favorite, usually served with mashed potatoes and peas, unfortunately canned)
  • enchiladas
  • tacos
  • sausage and sweet potatoes
  • shish-ka-bob (her spelling, not mine)

I do think the last four were added to her list in the late 60’s-early 70’s as I don’t recall eating them too often in my childhood.

So now GO.  Make dinner!  (The photo is mom, dressed up for some ocassion, but getting the table ready for dinner.  BTW, she drew the pictures in the background. The one on the left is me.  The other is a friend of mine (one of our Bluebird troop I believe!)

Mom setting the table in the 60's