I have been trying to think of the earliest memories that I have of my mom, Teresa and Johnny. I was so young that it is hard to remember things.
My grandmother, Katie Scott, lived with us, too. Or I should say, we lived with her. She died when I was in third grade.
I have many wonderful memories of her. It was my grandma who sat with me and read to me every day. I remember sitting next to her in her big chair and she would read books to me. I remember getting books from the library for her to read to me. She would read series like the Bobbsey Twins and books like that. When I went to kindergarten, I knew how to read because of her and the time she took to sit with me and read to me. Teresa was the one who always paid for me to have books/book clubs through the years. She was an avid reader, too.
Our grandma's health wasn't good and she was a diabetic. Whenever my mom and Teresa would be gone, she would send me to the Superette (the little grocery story less than a block away) to buy her Heath Bars. Then she would "threaten" me not to tell them and she would share one with me. I think she must have hidden the rest. I NEVER told on her!
When my Phoenix cousins were younger, they would spend summers in Douglas. I remember we would be outside playing and go in to use the bathroom or whatever. Invariably, one of us would be sent for Heath Bars and run into one of the cousins coming back from the store getting them for her. Although I am not a big candy person, I do love Heath Bars and always think of her when I have one.
Teresa and my mom tried to keep her away from sweets, but she could manipulate the grandchildren for sure!
Just before she died, she hadn't been feeling well. So my mom and Teresa were taking her up to Phoenix to stay with our Uncle Matt and go to the doctor. I have a very vivid memory of the trip up there and she said several times on the way to Phoenix that she didn't want to go because she wanted to die at home. She wasn't that sick and Teresa told her there was nothing to worry about.
I am not sure how long she had been up in Phoenix, by I have a very clear memory of Friday, November 15, 1957. My mom had gone to play Bingo at St. Bernard's in Pirtleville. Teresa, Judy and I were up at the Hubers. Dorothy was Teresa's best friend and we always loved to go play with the Huber kids.
The phone rang and it was Father McGovern, our parish priest. It was for Teresa. I knew as soon as she answered the phone that our grandma had died. I also remember so well getting in the car and going to pick up my mom and telling her the news.
The first funeral Mass was at St. Mary's. Judy and I didn't go to Phoenix. The funeral in Douglas was at the old St. Luke's Church.
At the rosary the night before, they brought her body to the house and moved all of the furniture and put her casket by the front windows. That was the Irish custom in those days. To this day, whenever I walk into a florist or someplace with lots of flowers, it brings back memories of her rosary and her casket being at the house over night.
Being only eight or nine years old, I missed my grandmother so much because we had been close. But I also watched my mom, Teresa, and Johnny go through their grief at losing their mother.
When I think about it, Teresa was 44 years old and my mom was 48. I felt blessed to still have my mom until I was 51 years old. But the greatest blessing was to have Teresa until I was 68! Many people aren't so fortunate.