... for the month of May, we Stringers decided to write about our Mothers

by Betty Rossi

Last month, we were supposed to write about our mothers for Mother's Day. Every time I tried to write my article, I'd get all choked up and could not write a word. June is here, so I guess it's now or never.

I miss my Mom. She was born in May and my grandmother named her Evelyn May. The May as her middle name was very appropriate as Spring was her very favorite time of the year. She would always say that Spring was a time of new growth and rebirth. From the time that the first crocus would poke its head out of the ground, until the last leaf would fall off of the maple trees, she loved to garden and see things grow. Neighbors, family and friends can all attest to her gardening prowess. There isn't a garden around that doesn't have some cuttings from her plants and bushes. She had a little "pond' in her backyard. Not a pond made by nature, but a pond made by my brother Skip. A little statue would pour the water from its spout and feed the Koi that lived in the pond all year round, outside, summer and winter. Her garden was beautiful and she really worked to make it so.

She loved to cook and entertain. She and her "cronies" would get together once a month, rotating the place that they met. Some of the gals that I remember seeing were her friends for years and years. "Aunt" Rose Rotundi, who she went to grammer school with and remained friends with throughout her life and Kay Priestley, who lived around the corner and was her friend for fifty years. When they were both up there in age, my Mom would grab her cane and Mrs. Priestley would grab her walker and they'd meet at the corner of Crescent Avenue and Washington Street and gossip. Mrs. Chiappini, who lived up the street, Lorraine Cannova, who lived across the street and Mrs. Racine, from down on the corner, all were friends for years and years and years, and still entertained each other. My Mom would take out her finest lace tablecloth and put candles and a beautiful seasonal centerpiece on the dining room table and fret over what she was going to cook and serve them for weeks before it was her turn to be the hostess. All dolled up, high heels and a crispy apron, nails polished, hair all in place, and she was ready for them to arrive.

She would dress up to go to Cerretani's, and then to Shaw's. She was always concerned that she might bump into someone that she knew. When her shopping got too heavy for her to bring in from the car in later years, I would meet her at Shaw's, load up her car, drive her home, unload and help put away her groceries. We'd grab a little something to eat for lunch and then we'd get back in the car and she would drop me back off at work. That system worked for years.

Family meant everything to her. There isn't anyone in our family that didn't think that she loved them the best. We celebrated all of our birthdays and holidays at home on Crescent Avenue. Our favorite birthday cake, because it was the one that we all got, was Coconut Cake with candles that somehow got recycled from the previous year. We loved it. She would insist on taking our pictures and would always say that there was something wrong with her camera as nine out of ten of the pictures that she took, had our heads cut off. When she would grab her camera, we would all start smiling and laughing, knowing that the only way we would know who was in the pictures was to identify the clothing that was worn that day. The pictures that do have our heads on, all look happy, because we were. She bound us all together through good food and laughter.

The years since she has passed on have been hard on our family. She was the glue that held us all together, and when she died, so did our family unit. We older kids have a bond that can never be broken, but the new kids growing up, don't have that family closeness that we had. They can't steal a meatball from her gravy on a Sunday morning, or enjoy one of her artichokes or stuffed mushrooms. They can't steal the skin off of her turkey or taste her turkey stuffing before it was put onto the dining room table for Thanksgiving dinner. They can't go up to Elephant Rock with a peanut butter and marshmallow sandwich and look down to see her waving to us as we looked for her on the back stairs of our porch. Or have her homemade gingerbread with marshmallow fluff on top.

There isn't a day that goes by that I don't think of her. She would be so proud of her great grandchildren and now great-great grandchildren and I'm sure that every single one of them would think that she loved them best.

I miss you, Mum. Love, Betty    

June 6, 2014    

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