My mom’s birthday is today, so I’m going to show you a few photos of her that are my favorites. Her name was Marjorie Evlynn (Friesen) Bangs. She was born in 1922.
This one is from her high school performance of Pirates of Penzance. She was the piano accompanist. She kept that dress, which was maroon, until I was old enough to try it on. She asked me if I wanted it, but I couldn’t think of anything to do with it (those sleeves!) so she discarded it. How I wish I had asked her to save it. I had no idea in those days that I would love vintage clothing and fabrics the way I do now.
High school graduation.
She weighed 98 pounds when she got married at age 19. That dress was a dressmaker’s sample in a small size that had been displayed in a window, so she got it for $25.00. I wore it at my wedding (I weighed 115)and she said it fitted me better than it had fit her. My girls are 5’8′ and 6′ tall, so they will never wear it.
Okay, just one more.
That’s me, of course. Probably 1957.
Just a bit more about my mom. When she was 12, she fell off her brother’s bike and broke her leg. Her dad took her to a chiropractor instead of a doctor (in the days when chiropractic was in its infancy), and the leg was never cared for properly. This set her up for arthritis in her hips, which was so bad by the time that she became pregnant with me, they didn’t want her to gain much weight. She told me they had extra people there to hold her legs in place so she wouldn’t damage her pelvis and hips during the birth. I weighed in at 5 lb. 7 oz.
When I was little, she had metal hip replacements in both hips, which back then was experimental surgery. I have early memories of her using metal forearm crutches, and lots of trips to K.U. Med Center for physical therapy, which was a pretty boring place for a 7 year old. I always heard from my dad that at one point they never expected her to walk again on her own.
She did walk again, through her determination. For a long time she only used a cane when she left the house, although her legs were different lengths. Twenty years later, those hips wore out, and she got one of them replaced again, which didn’t go well. For a while, though, her legs were the same length. She refused to have the second one done again because of the horrible pain from the one that went wrong. The thing that impressed me most was that she never complained. Not once. Not in all those years.
I had a dream a few days ago. I dreamed my dad came to see me. He looked really young, maybe younger than I ever remember him. I told him I was glad to see him, and I asked him how Mom was doing. In response, he showed me a vision of a woman dancing down the street, just twirling in a flowing skirt. I couldn’t see her face, just a swaying, turning skirt and heeled shoes, very carefree.
I don’t have any set beliefs about the significance of dreams, but I like the message this one sent, no matter where it came from.
So Happy Birthday, Mom!