Housecleaning Memories

This post will be a sort of guest post from Granma Ladybug.

Recently she has assisted me with our Fall Housecleaning.  She has been reluctant to do so, not because of the labor, or the allergies, but because of the need to divest ourselves of many things which bring back strong memories.

Some years ago, when she was downsized out of a job, she took advantage of a government grant to return to school and upgrade her computer and English skills.  To assess incoming students’ language abilities, the English teacher asked them to write a one-page essay.  She recently came upon a file with hers, along with some other submissions.

The prompt was, “Write about something which strongly affected you, hopefully pleasantly.”  Her mother died when she was only three, and she was raised by a succession of older sisters and an evil sister-in-law.  When we engaged, my mother took her in like her own.  Read how this affected her.

A SUNDAY AFTERNOON DRIVE DOWN THE
SOUTH SHORE OF LAKE HURON

“Welcome to Bruce County!”  This is a sign that, over the years has come to mean a homecoming to me.  Unfortunately, this spring my mother-in-law had a stroke that affected her short-term memory, and she had to be placed in a nursing home.

Every trip home means visiting my father-in-law, who still manages to live at home, and fitting in three visits with Mom over the weekend.  This trip home, my husband and I decided to take Mom out for a Sunday afternoon drive.

After getting Mom settled in the car, our first stop was The Chip Shop, for French fries which we could enjoy during the drive.  Our journey took us down the main street to Lake Huron, and a view of Chantry Island.  We then travelled along Huron Street, taking a right onto Adelaide Street, down to Lake Street, left on Lake Street past the tennis courts, and another right to Beach Street.

Lighthouse

 

 

 

 

At the end of Beach Street is Chantry Park, where the Long Dock was.  You can still see the rocks which made up the dock, stretching far out into the water.  We then continued down Front Street, which turns into Harmer Street, then becomes Harmer Road, paralleling Lake Huron.

Lighthouse II

 

 

 

 

 

The road winds along the shoreline, curving to accommodate Mirimachi Bay, where a lower water level reveals mud flats with pools of murky water that house bulrushes, and other aquatic life.  We pulled over to the side of the road and watched two sailboats rounding Chantry Island, the sailing conditions being absolutely perfect.

mini-railroad

 

 

 

 

As we continued down the shore road, the brightly shining sun made the calm water sparkle with diamonds….almost too brilliant for the eyes.  On we meandered, past the miniature gauge railroad tracks in the lakefront park, past Port Elgin’s marina, up to the main street and to the Tim Horton’s, to pick up Timbits for Mom and her roommate, Christina Eagles.

Returning Mom to the nursing home was very difficult for Mom and us; however, Christina was glad to see Mom, as she has become very attached to her, and is frightened to be left alone for too long.  We brought out the Timbits, which are Christina’s favorite treat, and had a small party to celebrate the end of an enjoyable day.

While it was pleasant to take Mom out for the day, it brought to mind past years when Sunday meant putting on a roast and loading the car with grandparents, parents and children, to take a tour of the Bruce Peninsula.  We have, in past years, gone to the flea market at Mar, seen the spring and fall colors at Lion’s Head, and investigated many, many garage sales that dot the countryside during the fine summer weather.

Outings that were taken by the Smith family include a litany of small town names such as Chesley, Tara, Allenford, Wingham, Oliphant etc.  These were memories in the making, something to bring out later, and to let the remembering heal the hurt that adverse changes can bring.  To make pleasant memories is a very important detail.

This was the bitter-sweet last time we were all able to enjoy such a get-together.  Mom remained in good physical condition, almost until her death from a virulent case of flu when she was 92.  Soon after this day though, the mental light in her eyes faded, and there was almost no spark of who she’d been.

While we may be forced to jettison some of our physical things, we hold our memories dearly.  They remain almost as bright and strong as the days they were created.  They take no room to store and, not only can we pull them out and enjoy them at any time, but we can share them with others.   😀

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11 thoughts on “Housecleaning Memories

  1. Dan Antion says:

    I’m always amazed by the way simple things become cherished memories. Very nice to read this. Thanks for sharing it with us.

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  2. Lovely memories. Sweet mixed with regrets. Well done.

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  3. So many little things can trigger memories of Mom. There have been so many Sundays over the last couple of years when I’ve wanted to just get in the car and drive to Mom’s place to share a fried chicken take-out dinner with her. Even when she was in the rest home 2 hours away, I would often just hop in the car and go visit on the weekend. I miss her every, single day.

    It’s wonderful that your mother-in-law became your Mom, so to speak. She must have been a very special lady.

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    • Archon's Den says:

      Our ‘every three weeks/month’ trips were 2 hours each way also. There were so many things we didn’t have time to discuss during our visit with you. May I ask where Mom’s place was and if it was your hometown, and where the rest home was, to satisfy my map compulsion?
      To keep you and perhaps others straight, it was Granma Ladybug’s mother-in-law (my mother) who adopted her as a daughter. Right after yours, my Mom was the greatest in the world! 😀

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      • My mother’s rest home was in Frewsburg, NY (near Jamestown), and the nursing home she went into just before she died was in Jamestown, NY. She opted to go to Frewsburg to be near to my youngest brother, who was her financial person and ultimately her executor.

        BTW, my brother’s wife became my mother’s second daughter when they became engaged, and my sister-in-law helped take care of my mother at the end when I couldn’t be there every day. I don’t know what we would have done without my brother’s and sister-in-law’s involvement.

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  4. garden2day says:

    That was super sweet, a bit of sadness but full of richness because of the memories. 🙂

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  5. Kayjai says:

    Very nice, post Archon AND Granma Ladybug.

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