It’s been 4 years since I said goodbye to my Mommom. Her name was Marjorie Claire, but to me she was the one and only “Double M.” As my children grow and I watch the relationship they have with their Mommom unfold, it brings back so many memories.
To many, she was “Marge” or “Margie.” It is after my Mommom that I received my first name. Every holiday, every special occasion, she was there. We were together. It was always, Mommom, my mom, my older sister Jill, and me. I was constantly surrounded by 3 strong women. As many people experience, holidays aren’t the same without loved ones. Every Thanksgiving, I think she’s about to walk in the door wearing her leopard print faux fur jacket with her 6 pack of Stroh’s and her made-from-scratch chocolate cake. But no, it never happens.
It’s hard to think about how much I miss her. From her, I’ve received so many gifts. My name, my love of hospitality and entertaining, the joys of cooking (especially for others) and the intention to organize (but never fully realizing the goal). I also have her copy of Gift From the Sea containing her “Marjorie” bookmark.
Mommom was fancy, she loved parties and she loved to tell stories – stories that would make everyone at the table ROAR with laughter. She always said she’d come back as a feather. I can’t help but see them everywhere. That’s what inspired me to choose the feathers on the header in this blog.
I recently went through some old cards that I gave her and later took when we cleaned out her apartment. One is from when I was in college or just graduated and I told her how much she meant to me but also how I’d felt closer to her than ever at that time. Let’s be honest here – Mommom loved to drink beer, and so did I back then, so we had many fun times, sometimes just the two of us. There was the time we called the local pizza place and begged them to deliver us a pizza, even though they didn’t deliver.
I’m so grateful for the time that we had together – many, many special memories, not all of them perfect but the kind of memories that are in a family’s story. Like the time I jumped out of her car while she was driving – I was 4 and wearing a Winnie the Pooh sweatsuit. I did NOT want to go to her house for a sleepover and I was SERIOUS. Or the time I introduced myself to her bank colleagues at her retirement party and they said, “Oh, Marjorie, we heard about you!” In the worst way possible. This was clearly a direct result of my rebellious teenage antics. But it doesn’t even bother me. It’s all a part of our story.
Some of the best memories are when Sean and I turned 21 within a month of each other, Mommom took us both to Atlantic City for the night! We stayed in an ocean view room at Bally’s and she took us to steak dinners and we all frolicked around the casino together – her favorite place to be. She bought me this hot pink pleather pocketbook in the overpriced lobby gift shop because I loved it. I felt so grateful yet bad – it was pricey. I used the bag often and will never part with it. It was one of the most special gifts I’ve ever received.
A few weeks before she passed, I remember one particular afternoon where me and Brady hung out with Mommom at her place. She told me stories about her friends at work and other fun memories she had of different travels. My favorite memory of her happened then. We were sitting on her sofa and as she was telling me the stories, she turned and looked at me and gave me the most genuine smile and laugh and said, “Hey, this is fun.”
Most of the things I took from her apartment after she left the earthly plane include jewelry and kitchen stuff. Her infamous blue mini wine goblets which always had milk in them for me and my sister. Her black cardigan with a hot pink “M” embroidered on it. Her frying pan. Her coffee pecolator. Her fancy deviled egg tray. Her butter dish. Her tablecloth with matching napkins. Her huge pile of recipes complete with her beautiful handwriting. Her potato hand masher. Her roasting pan. When I wear the clothes and use the cookware and dishes, I feel like she is with me.
I purchased my Mommom’s car from my aunt and that too is a special daily reminder of the woman from whom I learned so much, who will always be a part of my story. In the glove box there are three things that I will never part with: a tablet that lists her gas expenses from 2006, a photo of her at her wedding and a photo of her wedding guests eating. She always threw the best parties.