Wednesday, December 31, 2014


For a few days before Christmas, and the days following those special days - I have been remembering...

I am remembering my mother who was taken to her Heavenly Home 2 1/2 years ago...  

where she joined her "Sweetheart" of 40 years, her mother-in-law, father-in-law, her father, her sister and brother-in-law...and many many more friends and loved ones.

She also joined her own mother whom she never knew...

After I became an adult, my mother shared many of her childhood memories with me - 

Born on a cold December day, she was one of two; my mother was a twin!  Her mother and father had picked out names, just as any parent would be excited to do:  if a boy, named William after the father; if a girl, named Frederica after the mother.  In those days, it wasn't as easy to know that twins were expected...

So, when twins were born - what a surprise! - and they were named after their parents...William and Frederica...just as had been planned!

And later, because it sounded so cute, an aunt nicknamed them "Billy" and "Betty"; the "Betty" stuck for my mother into adulthood, and she officially changed her name to "Betty"!

William and Fredrica
December 1930

But, sometimes the joy of childbirth becomes heartache -

especially when the mother dies delivering her two precious babies.

Here is an excerpt from the memorial service held for their mother - I found this typed "In Memoriam" paper in my mother's pictures, keepsakes and other things:

"Almost as the time of the birth of Christ, two precious new lives entered the world, and almost at the dawning of the New Year, the mother, who gave them her all, entered into a new life beyond.

We were in the nursery and the little girl gave a cry - said the nurse, 'I waited a long time for that cry last night; I was afraid it would never come;' and we longed to take the babe in our arms and hold her close, but the nurse of a new born baby is all powerful and we didn't even quite date to ask."

That was my mother they were talking about!

"Then we turned to the boy, so perfect, one hand closed, asleep.  'It was a big price to pay,' said someone.  Suddenly the babe opened his hand, stretched it upward, gave a long sigh and settled back to sleep.  We watched him - hushed - and softly the words came to mind - 'Except a grain of wheat fall in the ground and die, it cannot live.' "

That was my mother's brother; my Uncle Bill!

"She has given a hostage to the future.  It was worth while; in her death she gave life; all she had of life and strength she contributed to the next generation - the highest gift life holds and a woman's peculiar mission.

In our sadness at parting from her in this life, we can glory in the crown of her womanhood, and pray for courage to continue to face life bravely, and touch life and live life even as she did, and leave our mark upon it, while we have our being."

That was my grandmother - my mother and uncle's mother - the one we never met; the one who gave life to them...

And, doesn't this all sound a little familiar?  Didn't our own Father - God - send us his only Son to die for our sins...he died so we could have life!

As things goes on; and raising twins for a man who just lost his wife - and also had an older daughter - it was necessary for him to get assistance from other family members.  These family members (I think they were aunts?  more research to do!) helped raise the twins until they were older, at which time they were placed in a Catholic orphanage where the boys were separated from the girls.  They did not see each other very often; but being twins, they shared time as often as possible.

One of the memories Mom shared was the time she almost lost her brother when he became violently ill.  Someone had left a jar of mayonnaise with a spoon in it out of the refrigerator, and it spoiled; but he had still eaten some of it (I am quite sure things were not refrigerated properly back then anyway).

Later when they were teenagers, my uncle went to live with their father; and my mother went to live with their older sister where she could help with her two nieces.

It was during this time that she attended "older" man (he was 5 years older!).  They each attended different local Christian Churches; but all of the area churches had a shared youth meeting on Sunday evenings.  They met and fell in love - and I have more stories to share about those days; but keeping those for another time!

Mom would have married this "older" man immediately; but he wanted her to finish High School before they married.  So, on June 1, 1950, she graduated from High School...

and on June 2nd, they married at her sister's home.

Wedding Day
June 2, 1950

Through their 40 years of marriage, Mom and Dad remained loving and faithful to each other.  They shared many memories together, many of which are memories I cherished once I was older and could look back on those "good ole days" with her!

Dad was in the military, and while he was away with his military duties, Mom became the stay-at-home "head of household" mother/father figure to the three children they had.  She was loving, yet strong and fair, in disciplining my brothers and I; and we respected her as our parent, as we did my Dad when he was around.  He was a quieter disciplinarian, very seldom losing his temper...but I do remember that one time!

When I was a teenager, my Dad had to leave for a year to serve in Viet Nam...that tore at his heart so much to be separated from his family for such a long time.  When he returned, since he was eligible to do so, Dad retired from the U. S. Army after serving many years.

After I married and left home, I lived in Germany with my first husband - who was also in the Army.  While I was there, my parents moved to Florida to be closer to my Dad's parents who were getting older.  Subsequently, my Dad had a stroke and was disabled and had to retire from his job.  Mom stood by him "in sickness and in health" for many years until his death in 1990.

And after that...well, Mom and I became very close; she was my help in many ways during a rough time of my life.  When I moved to the same city, after a rough separation and divorce, we became best friends.  We shared a lot of memories; we went to many church events together.

...and as a single divorced mom, she helped with my children - until I met someone and remarried!

But, that didn't stop Mom and I from being best friends and sharing so much of our lives together...

During this time we shared many of our memories - or I should say her memories.  This is the time I learned so much about my mother's childhood and how important it was to keep those memories alive for her children and grandchildren and great grandchildren!

Mom is the one that won enough money on her first cruise to take me on my first cruise:

My First Cruise
Oct. 2005

One of the things that really hurt me - for her! - was the holidays...since she and her brother were born so close after Christmas, she told me they would receive their gifts, with the idea that "this is your Christmas and your birthday present."

Now, imagine a child receiving their Christmas presents this way...and when their birthday came gifts!

So, once she shared this information with me - and I took the time to ponder it - I made a point to give her a Christmas gift and a birthday gift!  Such a small thing to do for my Mother - who lost so much, yet gave so much of herself!

The whole family - my two brothers, their spouses and children, and my spouse and children - surprised Mom with an 80th birthday party in December, 2010.  This was the last time the whole family was together (we were missing one of my brother's daughters and her husband; but they live across the US in Washington state!).

We lost Mom June 22, 2012 - and I am still missing her so much.  On Sunday December 28, 2014, the flowers in church were placed in her memory from the family...

In Memory of
Frederica Moore Harris
1930 - 2012

...and today I am remembering the life of one who gave me life - and so much more!

Happy Birthday, Mom!
I Love and Miss you so much!

Thank you for sharing this Journey in Remembering!

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