Friday, September 26, 2008

Missing Mom

Seventeen years ago, Sept 20th, my mom was killed in a car accident when the whole family was in Boston for my brothers wedding. I was 36 years old, a recently divorced single mom with two children ages 8 and 4. My mother loved me with the kind of unconditional love I feel for my own children. She was the most powerful force in my life giving me the wings to take off and live the life that I wanted. She supported me through my painful divorce from a husband who wasn't happy and shared so many difficult traits of my father. There are days that I would do just about anything to see or talk to Mom.

Mom, Phyllis, was a brilliant, sensitive, creative and loving woman. I see her photo every day in my living room and remember her just as beautiful as that day. Mom grew up on the South Side of Chicago in a large Irish Catholic family. She had three sisters and one brother. Her immediate family was quite large because her mother, Leila, and her sister, Helen, married two brothers. She attended St Philip Neri school. She went to a special high school/college program at the University of Chicago. When Phyllis was 27 years old she married Roman. I was the oldest of her four children.

Palette 'n Pen was the name of her art studio. She was an artist that created magic with a paintbrush and calligraphy pen. Her paintings hang in just about every room of my home as the palette she used include my favorite colors. She painted with watercolor, oil and acrylic on canvas. Also, she was a Master Calligrapher specializing in illumination using gold leaf.

Impulsively, I left for Chicago last weekend and spent time with my family on the day of the anniversary of the of the car accident. It has been a long time since I have been to her grave, but instead of going there, Aunt Florence, her sister, and I went by the house that she designed and I grew up in. Fortunately, the current owner was in the driveway and graciously gave us a tour of the house and all the remodeling that had been done. His daughter, Natalie, who is now in her 20's grew up in the same bedroom that I had. Isn't that special?! The house looks stunning filled with the most beautiful art in every room. I was most taken by the feeling that the rooms were so much smaller than I remember ... but I haven't been in the house for over 25 years.

Over the years I have hear my moms voice and words echo out of me. She is still so much a part of my life.

Sunday, September 21, 2008

My Brother's family

There are times as a parent that you think time is moving so slowly... but in reality .. our kids grow up soooooooooooo fast. Roger and Judy's kids are getting so old! This was a perfect chance to go to Chicago and connect with all of them! I loved getting to spend time with the family! It is good to hear that Roger, who is in the financial world, is doing "fair." He is glued to the TV and the reports of the financial state of the country. But, hopefully the Bears will win their first game today!

Aunts, Uncles, and Cousins in Chicago

On an impulse and encouraged by my cousins, I flew to Chicago for the weekend to catch up with family. There was a small family gathering organized by Uncle Bill (mom's brother) and it wasn't a funeral.... I am always going "home" to funerals... so this was a refreshing way to see family without the tears of the loss of one of my relatives!
I have so many of my mom's and grandma's photos.... and I am trying to put together another photo album for the cousins in my generation... so I need more info and photos you guys!!!
I need photos of your families.... I'll try to get back to you...
I am working on a book for us called the "colnon cousins."... the P. and A. Colnon families.
Here are some photos of our dinner.
Love all of you!!!

Saturday, September 13, 2008

Cottage with 8 Girlfriends

A white picket fence furrounds the front of my cottage in Long Beach, Washington. The weekend of Sept 13th was perfect weather.. unlike we typically see in the Pacific Northwest. I sent out some emails and 8 of my girlfriends came to the ocean to spend the weekend there. I can't wait to do that again! Thanks for all of you for coming there to play!