Tuesday, January 1, 2013

Happy New Year 2013 - Tribute To Mom

Well its the new year and although there have been a  few rough spots in 2012 for the most part it has been a good one.  Growing up, New Years day was always a big celebration in our house because it was my mothers birthday.  My grandparents rarely celebrated her birthday because it was so close to Christmas but when she married my father he decided to make it a big deal.  For my poor dad that was no easy feat  because my mom was very very picky.  My mom rarely kept what he got her each year, more often returning it to get something more practical. That never dissuaded my dad who would still go out of his way to buy her something each year even though he knew she would probably take it back.

Well we lived in Queens and not far from our house in Ridgewood was a store called Jay Rose.  It was very exclusive for that time and my mother would longingly look in the window when we passed by but she would never go in.  So one year my dad decided to buy her some things from Jay Rose.  Now my dad was no Tim Gunn and had no idea of fashion. He was a big guy, over 6 foot and not so light on his feet.  When we got to Jay Rose my dad bounded into the store like a bull in a china shop.  The bell over the door jingling in triple time.  As we entered everyone stopped and starred, not sure if they had ever seen the likes of my dad entering their store.  A sales lady quickly came over wanting to help. My dad looked around the shop, his eyes resting on a mannequin dressed  in a yellow plaid pleated skirt and vest accessorized from head to toe including a yellow clock pendant.  Probably feeling uncomfortable in this very feminine place my dad pointed to the mannequin and said "I'll take everything on that mannequin".   I was only 6 but I knew that outfit was nothing that my mom would ever wear.  I think the sales lady noticed my shocked look and tried to persuade my dad to go in another direction but he was hell bent on that outfit.  Next thing I knew every sales person was called into action and they were pulling all the clothes from the mannequin, putting everything together in one big box with Jay Rose printed in big letter across the top.   They even wrapped it for him including a big pink bow.

On the way home I was nervous for my dad.  He really went all out, going to a place way outside of his comfort zone to try and give my mom a great present.  I could picture my mom opening the present making a face and returning it the next day.  So on New Years Day, my moms birthday, after we had cake, my dad brought out the present.  Mom unwrapped the box and gasped as she saw Jay Rose printed on the box.  Tears came to her eyes and she whispered  "Oh Joe".  I held my breath as she lifted the top of the box anticipating her usual negative reaction.  Instead she screeched in delight.  Wow was I off on this one.  I thought for sure she would hate this gift but she seemed to be in love with it all.  My dad was so excited.  He thought he had finally gotten it right.  He was on cloud nine the rest of the day.

Well he never seemed to notice that my mother never, ever wore that outfit.  I remember her putting it on a few times, looking in the mirror, taking it off and hanging it back up.  Over the years she cleaned out her closet many times, packing  up clothes for Good Will but that head to toe yellow plaid outfit remained in her closet for over 30 years.  I think she knew that it was not about the outfit but about the thoughtfulness and love that it represented.

So today on my moms birthday New Years Day she will be in my thoughts.

Happy Birthday Mom

Mom and Dad one of the few pictures of have of them together.  My dad is not looking too happy.

Every New Years Eve their friends threw a New Years Eve costume party.  My mom was very creative and was always trying make a better costume each year.  Because of his size she would always make my poor dad  a women.  He did seem to enjoy it.

Here is a picture of my mom with my kids and an anniversary party for my Aunt and Uncle.

I will be back soon with some more of my crafty ideas and projects.

Visiting Time Warp Wife today.


  1. Your Dad was a great husband, so thoughtful! I remember your Mom, but didn't realize you got your creative talents from her! I loved her New Year's Eve costumes - your Dad was a great sport! I actually dressed up as one of the Marx Brothers myself one year (one with blonde curly hair) when I worked at a Senior Citizens Residence and we had our yearly Halloween party.

    May your Mom rest in peace.

  2. Mary Ann, I just LOVED this story! Over the years, some of my favorite gifts were things that weren't necessarily my taste, nor anything I'd pick for myself, but because of who DID pick them out, I'd never consider returning them, so I think I can understand how your mother felt in this case. While she may never have worn the outfit out, I think you're exactly right that she treasured it for the feelings it brought to her and likely the memories of your father going to pick it out for her. Thank you for sharing and HAPPY NEW YEAR!