Monday, May 11, 2015

Through My Father's Eyes

Yesterday was Mother's Day and would have been the 108th birthday of my Grandmother Hatch. Hard to believe that 33 years have gone by since she died. Seems like yesterday but I was pregnant with my daughter Stephanie when she died and Stephanie is already 32. That can't be possible either. 

My dad, Jim Hatch, was asked to speak at his church service yesterday morning, in honor of mothers, and he gave the most wonderful talk. I wanted to share it with you because it really tells a lot about his mom and my grandmother, Ola Mae Marley Hatch, from his perspective. (High School Revisited will return next blog.)

"Mother's Day 2015 - By Jim Hatch

I am an only child so I guess you would have to say that my mother spoiled me a bit. We never discussed why I didn't have a brother or sister...maybe a medical problem, financial decision, who knows but it sure made my life lonely sometimes. Luckily I had a lot of good friends in the neighborhood that became my "brother and sisters".

My mom started back to work when I was about 4 years old. She and her sister had started out in the 20's working for a telephone company and my mom went back into the telephone business, finally retiring in the 70's with 39 years of service. She loved her work...she loved the people she worked with and they loved her.  She was outgoing, funny, caring and always there when you needed a shoulder to cry on.

My grandmother lived in the apartment house we owned and lived in.  Grandma had her own apartment and she was my baby sitter for many years.  And I grew to love her almost as much as my mom.  But mom was special.  She worked, cleaned house and cooked, did laundry and all the other things housewives did and yet she worked outside the home.  She often walked to work because she said it helped her hold down her weight, which from time to time would start to plump her up a bit more than she liked.

Mom never left the house to go to work, or some other place, without dressing up.  Her hair had to be perfect and she selected the correct dress, jewelry, shoes and handbag all complimenting each other.  People often commented on how nice she looked.  She and my dad, a dark, wavy haired six footer, made a handsome couple when they did one of their favorite things in  They glided across the floor and everyone watched.  

Mom began to fail when she lost my dad, who was only 61, when he succumbed to lung cancer. At about the same time, mom had cataract surgery and in those days you had to wear what I call the "coke bottle glasses" because the lens were so thick...if she did not have her glasses on, she could not see anything.  Also, she knew it was time to retire and so, with the loss of my dad, her vision problem, and her retirement all coming in close proximity, she seemed to change a bit.  Just a tiny bit at first but as the years went on, it was evident that a rest home was the only answer to her full-time care.

She lived the last 8 years of her life in a rest home where everyone loved her and her friends and family could visit...they noticed her decline as Alzheimer's began to accelerate. 

Whenever I would go home on leave, she would dote on me and almost ignore her grandkids and daughter-in-law because she wanted her only child to be all hers for as much time as we had.  Of course, my wife's family lived nearby, so I had to spend time with them as well, and I don't think Mom ever really accepted that.

She loved Glen Campbell's show, she loved to shop, she loved to visit her family, way up in Siler City, North Carolina...a whole 45 miles away...but it could have been a hundred miles the way she talked about the long trip.  In the early years, it was almost an all day trip by bus, which we took together many times.  

My dad had a variety of jobs: A & P Manager, Civil Service and Volunteer Fireman, Grocery Store Employee, his own roofing company, but regardless of what he did, mom was always supportive but knew two salaries were better than one and, she knew her job was pretty steady and secure.

I loved my mom and she adored me.  She has been gone 33 years and I still think about her often.  Every time I go back to my hometown, I go to the cemetery to visit her and dad, side by side, in Mt. Hope Cemetery.  

Dad with Grandma,
when he was a little tyke.  
Someone once said that they are not gone because they are there to slip into your thoughts by day and tip toe into your dreams by night.  My mom is still very much with me...and guess is not only Mother's Day, but it is also my Mom's birthday, May 10th. Happy Birthday Mom...I love you.

Today's Terri's Tidbit: Do you have favorite stories and memories of your parents or grandparents?  What were they? Take a moment and write them down.  If you are lucky enough to still have your parents and grandparents living, make some new memories that you can hold close to your heart, for a very long time. 

1 comment:

sage said...

Tell your dad that "he did good"!