Friday, December 21, 2007

Anniversary Day

at Irene Byron Hospital

Bill and Lillian in the '50s

These are my parents back in the late '50s. My mother was ill with tuberculosis and was confined to a hospital specifically for the disease in Ft. Wayne, Indiana.(The hospital is in the background.) Until she died in 1997, she still kept in touch with at least one other patient at that hospital, a woman whose in-laws were Amish and who were keeping her little girl. Mom said that they used electricity and stayed in this woman's house because the "little English girl" was used to that. That's a story I would love to use sometime, don't you think?


Anyway, what makes me think of all this today is because my parents were married on December 22 at exactly 12 noon. (About 56 years ago--you do the math.) My dad was an owner-operator long haul trucker and wherever he was in the U.S. at exactly 12 noon on December 22, he would stop and call my mom up to wish her a happy anniversary. They both are dead now, but that is a nice memory that I have of my parents. This was back before cell phones and finding a phone was something he would have had to consciously pursue to make it happen!


Missing my mama in a Tender Tennessee Christmas 

Little Crissy in the same time frame, Christmas in Tennessee

While my mother was Indiana in the hospital, my dad was working hard and making money for his family in the Midwest, I was with his parents and siblings in Tennessee. This is a photo that my grandmother staged and sent to my mother in the hospital, oh, so far away. My mother had lost 5 babies prior to me. The last time her baby died, she refused for about a week after they told her, to go in to get a D&C because she desperately believed that the baby was "ok." They had to make her go before she became ill or got an infection.So, you see, I was a much wanted baby, and she had to give me up before she'd even had me very long.

Mom told me that when she got this photo, she just cried. She thought I looked so sad and then they had put a photo of her in the picture by the Christmas tree. I think Grandmother wanted my mom to know that they were telling me about her and that I knew who my mother was--if only as a picture. I still have the picture that is in this picture and there is a story about that picture, too.

But,also, I wrote all over the letters that my grandmother faithfully wrote to my mother to let her know what was going on and she would cry, looking at those scribbles. (Even back then I wanted to write.) I also wrote all over my 14-year-old aunt's yearbook and on other books she had. Probably the start to my editor/book doctoring career, don't you think? (Smile.)


So, three days before Christmas, every year, at noon, I think about these things. I also feel a bit melancholy on this day. When I pull out Amy Grant's version of Tender Tennessee Christmas, it is a complete plunge into the feelings of that time way back then. ("I'll Be Home for Christmas" will do it, too.)

On to more lighthearted fare:

I took a test to see what color my Christmas tree should be, since I've been really thinking about color lately. Here's mine. Check yours out!

You Should Have a Blue Christmas Tree

For you, the holidays represent a time of calm, understanding, and peace.
You avoid family fights, and you don't get too stressed out - even when things are crazy!

You like to make Christmas about making everyone's life a little bit better.
You don't get caught up in greed or commercialism. You're too sincere for that.

Your blue tree would look great with: Lots of silver tinsel

You should spend Christmas Eve watching: It's a Wonderful Life

What you should bake for Santa: Chocolate chip cookies


Pam Halter said...

Crystal, I did the test. Mine is a blue tree, too. AND I really do watch It's A Wonderful Life every Christmas Eve! HA!

Cling to your memories of your parents (happy anniversary to them today!) because your separation from them is not forever.

I wish you a blessed and happy Christmas!

Peggy Blann Phifer said...

What a poignant story you paint, Crystal. And your mama was right - you do look like a sad little girl. But oh so cute!

I took the test, too. And, guess what? Yep, a blue tree for me. Interesting.

Merry Christmas!

LeAnne Benfield Martin said...

Sweet story, Crystal. What a sweet-looking baby you were, with that blond hair and those cute legs. I'm sure you brought your mother much joy.