Please join me and other Catholic bloggers at Conversion Diary for 7 Quick Takes Friday.
FREEBIE ALERT! Before I get to my post today, I want to let readers know that my first novel, Emily’s Hope, is available FREE today and tomorrow on Kindle at the following link: Emily’s Hope Kindle Edition. My third novel, Stealing Jenny, will be available free this Monday and Tuesday, March 26th and 27th.
My 7 Quick Takes Friday post today is entitled “The Contents of My Mother’s Special Box.”
Last Friday, my two youngest sons and I spent the entire day driving from my hometown in New Jersey to our home here in Pakenham, Ontario. It usually takes anywhere from 9.5 to 12 hours, depending on traffic, how many stops we make and weather. We started the day with early Mass, a quick breakfast, then began our journey.
The previous six days had been a difficult, heart-wrenching time of sorting through my mom’s possessions. She passed away nearly five years ago, but since my stepdad and sister were still living in the house, there was no rush to go through her things.
Now that my stepdad is gone and my sister is a religious sister, my childhood home will likely be sold, so I made a special trip down to NJ to assist my siblings in going through her belongings.
When my siblings and I were children, my mother kept a flowered, maroon-colored box in her dresser drawer where she stored the special mementos of her life before and just after marriage. I couldn’t find it in the days after her death, so I asked my youngest sister and stepdad if they knew where it was. They both replied that they had no idea where it had gone.
Before I traveled down to NJ, I made a mental note to look for that box and, most importantly, to ask St. Anthony to help me find it. When I arrived at the house, I decided to search in the attic and through the many boxes of Christmas decorations my mom had bought and collected over the years. When I opened the second box, I gasped. Sitting at the top was my mom’s special box. “Wow,” I muttered. Then I said, “Thank you, St. Anthony.”
Here are seven of the items I found:
1. Wedding Night Receipt and Wedding Invitation. My mother was married to my father for 23 years before he died in 1978. I already had a copy of the wedding invitation, but I was thrilled to find the wedding night receipt.
2. Graduation Stole Mom was the first of her siblings to graduate high school. She was a proud graduate of Hallahan High School (Class of ’51).
3. A Booklet entitled “Senior Class Memories.” Inside this book were cards with classmates’ names and a page at the back for “Prom.”
4. Large Miraculous Medal Although I’m not certain, I think she received this either for her 8th Grade Graduation or her graduation from high school.
5. First Bank Book Before and just after she was married, my mom regularly deposited $10.00 per week (a lot of money in 1954).
6. Corsage and head piece from her graduation from St. Richard’s School in Philadelphia. (My mom is in the front row, center, with the corsage).
7. Finally, there was a small booklet entitled “To the Graduate,” that Hallahan HS gave to all graduates. At the front of the book, a message to the graduates. The very last page has a prayer called “Our Lady’s Blessing” that I’d like to share:
May the Light of the Countenance
of my Little Child
ever shine on you.
May the perfection of His actions
be seen in all your works,
that nothing may be found
at the last day
but that for which you may be
May His Sacred Heart
be your Refuge
when beset with temptation and
tried by affliction.
May you enter the Divine Heart of
Jesus through the pierced heart
of your Queen and your Mother.
May your last hour be
your best hour and
May the Names of Jesus and Mary
seal your lips till we meet in Eternity.
I miss my mother every day and I’m so grateful to have found her special box.
For more Quick Takes, visit Conversion Diary.
Copyright 2012 Ellen Gable Hrkach
what a nice tribute to your Mom. She was so enthusiastic about life. I’m glad that you found her treasured box. Obviously education and family was very important to her.
Thank you for sharing the contents of your mother’s special box here. I’ve been through the parent house clean out parent and I know how difficult that can be, but there’s often enough sweet to temper the bitter. And there’s always the question of whether, why, and how (and how much) to preserve the life of our loved one through saved mementos.
Thanks so much for your comments, Lee and Nancy. Lee, you’re right that education was important to my mom and she always recalled with fondness her years at high school. Nancy, you’re right that there was enough sweet to temper the bitter. While the sorting was difficult, it was worthwhile, for sure…
Ellen, this was so lovely to read and the pictures are beautiful.
Thank you for sharing your books on Kindle – I’m looking forward to reading them:)
Thanks so much, Vicky! I really do appreciate your comments. And I’m happy to share my books. I hope you enjoy them! God bless!
Thank you for sharing your book- I started right away and I am greatly enjoying it!
I am so happy you found your mothers box and for sharing it.
You’re welcome, Mary! I’m so glad you’re enjoying my book! Thanks so much for commenting…
Off-topic but the Nashville Dominicans were in the news in the last few years because they had a number of young postulants.
Totally off-topic but your sister’s order was the subject of an NPR report in the last 2 years because they have a number of young postulants.
Yes, I know, Jen! And not totally off topic…My sister’s class originally had 26 postulants and was the largest class of postulants in many years. Her novice class has 22, I believe, which is still quite a high number. The entire class came to my stepdad’s funeral last month…they are such beautiful and radiant young women!
A very special box indeed! Now you will have the chance to share it with your own children. Wish I’d known you were coming to NJ. I’m not far at all from the area you were visiting.
So true. Barb, I’m usually in NJ three to four times a year. I’ll try to remember to let you know the next time I’m coming!
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Thanks for sharing the contents of your mother’s box. When we can know how our parents lived before we were born, it can be very inspiring. I wish I had written down some of my dad’s stories – and mom’s, too, before they died. It’s an age long past but has much to be cherished.
You’re welcome, Barb and thanks for commenting. I also have the many letters we wrote back and forth and that makes me more fully appreciate her unique humor and no nonsense approach.
This brought tears to my eyes. Thank you for sharing the contents of your mom’s box with us. It is amazing how such simple items can open up feelings and memories of our loved ones.
Thanks so much, Carol. I’m so thankful I found the box because it brought tremendous consolation not only to me but to my siblings. Even though it’s been nearly five years, we all miss her so much…
What a beautiful post. Thank you.
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