Monday, July 4, 2011

The Fourth of July...

Mama was born on July 4, 1904, in the "hills" of Mississippi to parents of Irish ancestry...parents who cherished their six children, three sons and three daughters. As a young woman, Mama had strawberry blonde hair, blue eyes and was very petite. Even at her tallest, before the osteoporosis in later years, she was barely five feet. Although she never had the opportunity to pursue training, she could play the piano and organ "by ear" and sang beautifully. An accomplished seamstress, she possessed an amazing talent with a needle and thread. Through the years, she made much of our clothing, quilts and curtains. She was artistic and could sketch whatever she wanted to create. Down through the years, I would see these same talents emerge in her daughters, grandchildren and great-grandchildren.

In the course of working on my family's ancestry, I found a newspaper clipping from the newspaper in the small Mississippi town where she, my dad and my sisters lived before I was born. There was a description of the large fourth of July birthday party the family gave for Mama and all the relatives who attended. It talks about everyone enjoying the great food, especially the homemade ice cream. I could just imagine all those tables set up outside beneath those tall Mississippi pines on a hot summer's day.

All through the years as I was growing up, and even when my children were young, my sisters and our families would get together for Thanksgiving, Christmas and the fourth of July for Mama's birthday.  In later years, when everyone had their own traditions for Thanksgiving and Christmas, it was the Fourth of July that became our family reunion time...and a celebration of Mama's birthday. It was a fun time with the entire family together, celebrating with an abundance of good food and much laughter. 

After Mama and Daddy both passed away, my sisters and I tried to continue the fourth of July tradition. Eventually, the family grew even larger with an ever widening circle as each of our children married, had children and started traditions of their own.   In time, the fourth of July celebration was just a memory...but a deeply embedded one

My sisters and I...about 1960.