Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Happy Birthday

Today would be my Mom's 61st birthday. Except that she died 10 1/2 years ago. I can't believe how fast that decade has gone by. I am regularly surprised to realize what my mom was doing when she was my age--since I am the oldest, I remember the most history, and I remember clearly. When my mom was the age that I am now, I was already friends with Karen and Angela. She had already changed many people's lives--for the better. She was always a catalyst. She had a gift for bringing out other people's skills and abilities. Even skills they weren't aware of.

I would like to share a letter I received today from my Aunt Debbie--my mom's younger sister.

June 1, 2011 – Wednesday

Today would have been Brenda’s 61st birthday. Last week, during the chaos of my life, I was reading “A Tale of Two Cities.” At first it was slow going and I had no inkling of any memory of reading the book or seeing the movie. All I knew was that it was a book I’ve wanted to read for along time.

And then I began to feel a creeping awareness that these characters were familiar. As the Dickens story unfolded, and I became more engrossed, I could see Brenda’s bright, animated face telling me about vengeful Madame DeFarge, knitting as she condemned people to the guillotine, love-struck Sidney Carton, beautiful Lucy, and unfortunate Dr. Manette. I’m sure I didn’t understand much of it—I can remember feeling confused about why good people were in danger of being executed—but that didn’t dampen our excitement.

How blessed I was, to grow up with such a guide! I don’t know if Brenda had seen the movie—there was a 1958 release that would have had to have been re-shown sometime in the 1960s at the local theater or drive-in—or if she read the book. Either way, she made it come to life for the rest of us. That’s one of my favorite memories—all of us sitting around hearing a story while we quilted, snapped beans or just vegetated. And Brenda was the best storyteller of all.

She also passed on her insatiable desire for learning. It isn’t enough to know about “A Tale of Two Cities”—now I have to learn more about the French Revolution.

Happy Birthday, dear Brenda—your memory lives on!

I clearly remember her telling me the story of "Macbeth" on a long drive home one night. I LOVED it--she made it vibrant. I was seven.


  1. Your mom was a delight and a wonder. What a fantastic tribute ... thinking of you today.

  2. I miss her and still think of her often. She had such a gift for being friends-real friends-with people of all ages and shared so much wisdom and light. You are so like her in so many ways-I love you!

  3. We love your mom! I can't believe it has been that long. The one big thing I remember about her is her great love of learning, and how happy she always was.