Posts Tagged With: anniversaries


I love this poem by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow. It really suits my feelings at the end of a year. I miss those family members gone, and as I go through the rituals of Christmas and the new year, I think of them, little memories tickle in, mostly sweet, some regrets. And, I appreciate the sentiment of “anniversaries of the heart.” Here then, the poem. And, a ritual my mother and I shared for more years than I can remember.

The holiest of all holidays are those
Kept by ourselves in silence and apart;
The secret anniversaries of the heart,
When the full river of feeling overflows;—
The happy days unclouded to their close;
The sudden joys that out of darkness start
As flames from ashes; swift desires that dart
Like swallows singing down each wind that blows!
White as the gleam of a receding sail,
White as a cloud that floats and fades in air,
White as the whitest lily on a stream,
These tender memories are;—a fairy tale
Of some enchanted land we know not where,
But lovely as a landscape in a dream.

img178Orella Elizabeth Moore around 1970 (Copy)

My mother was a hard-working person, who tried to make everyone’s dreams come true at Christmas. She cooked enough on Christmas to practically keep all of us full until the New Year. An early riser, she would get up before everyone and savor those early morning moments with her first cup of coffee and the crossword puzzle from the morning paper. Other than that, she rarely took time off for herself, but the week between Christmas and New Years was hers. She’d set up the card table and begin a jigsaw puzzle. Anyone and everyone could take part. If someone dropped in, she would engage them in the puzzle. Time floats away as you concentrate on working a puzzle and she chose them to be challenging. Then on New Year’s day, the puzzle finished, we took down the tree and put the ornaments away. I kept that ritual going in my home after she died but then, somewhere, I stopped working puzzles. And this year, for the first time, I missed putting my ornaments away yesterday.

A couple of days after Christmas, I got into my stuffed full quilting closet and there, the “anniversaries of the heart”, lay hidden. Memories came pouring out. Lacey doilies she had crocheted. Patches she had made for a bedspread. Her handwriting on wisps of paper pinned to fabric describing its future use. Her button collection.

I kept scraps from clothing she wore or made for my daughters. The closet had so many unfinished dreams, I’ve yet to finish the job.

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With most of the material and stuff I’d put into the closet gone, it is looking much neater on this side. My sewing machine is giving me trouble and out of the closet. I gotta find something better.

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On this side of the closet, those nicely closed drawers were so stuffed full, the bottoms were warped and the drawers couldn’t close.

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My office is practically unnavigable for the stuff I unloaded from that closet. Yes, it was full of unfinished projects, but marvelous memories it contained have inspired me anew to finish them. Thanks Mom. Thanks Henry.

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Larry and Jan Seaberg invited us to a pot luck being held at the family lodge at the park. Mostly regulars with permanent sites, the folks that walk together in the mornings.

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What Larry and Jan didn’t know when they invited us is the party was a surprise celebration of their 50th wedding anniversary two days hence. I don’t know everyone’s names, but Bob, spelled with one-o, (the way he introduces himself) organized the celebration and presented them with a gift of gold inscribed 50th anniversary glasses.

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Larry made a speech about what an event like this means. That long term marriages have ups and downs, and rewards. But he addressed this crowd, like he and Jan, who come from everywhere to beat the cold climate and enjoy their golden years in Palm Desert.  He said, loosely quoted, “Sure we come to this place like all of you. But, we also come because of the people here.  We wouldn’t have continued for eighteen years if it weren’t for friends, our second family. We know they always have our back and are there for us when we need them.”

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Jan, chased a tear and quipped, “Larry, do you think we’ll remember the next 50?”

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I tried to get pictures of everyone.

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People like any opportunity to get together and chat.

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Before the sit-down, Jan made the rounds of people as they gathered in clumps to visit.

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There was a card for everyone to sign.

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And a lovely cake.

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And, that wiley Bob, with one-o, singled out another couple who have been married 60 years. And they, too, were presented with engraved glasses. Whatta nice guy.

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Most likely other long-term marriages exist among the group given we are all seniors.

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I expect everyone here is a candidate.

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I was sitting next to Bob with one-o and his wife Ethyl, in the lilac blouse. They have been married 62 years. It must take a sense of humor. That is what I notice most about people who stay together. We had a lovely time. I ate too much of good food.

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After desert, someone brought out a big  bottle of Kahlua. This lovely lady told me someone gave her a bottle as a gift. She never opened it. “Now, that I know how good it is,” she said, “I’m going to open it.”  I laughed.


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