A month in the life of Mom 30 years ago

A Month in the Life - This year I have been writing about my mom, and what she did thirty years ago. My sister recently gave me mom’s diary from 1989 and as I’ve read it I’ve mentioned the things she and my step-dad did that were interesting. I’ve also included a few “Legacy Questions” that your children would find interesting about you, but that they may have never thought to ask. This is the last month and the last newsletter I’ll be writing about my mother in, and giving you topics to either discuss with your parents and children, or write down the questions and the answers for your children to “discover” later. Christmas would be a great time to have this discussion. If you want all the questions I’ve included in this series this year, just send me a note. We’ll get them right out to you.

December, 1989

Two different songs sat atop the charts in December, 30 years ago. They were “We Didn’t Start the Rain” by Billy Joel and “Another Day in Paradise” by Phil Collins. Andre Ware received the 55th Heisman Trophy. Soviet General Mikhail Gorbachev and President George H.W. Bush declared that the Cold War was over. The movie “Driving Miss Daisy” was released. It later won the Best Picture Award in 1990. “The Simpsons” debuted on Fox. Vice President Daniel Quayle sent out 30,000 Christmas cards with a misspelled word (beacon – beakon), not helping his reputation any. Romanian Dictator Nicolae Ceausescu was ousted from power on the 22nd. Three days later he and his wife were put on trial for genocide and personal enrichment. They were convicted and executed before a firing squad the same day. And, finally, Wayne Gretzky and Martina Navratilova were chosen “Athletes of the Decade” by the Associated Press.

The month of December had Mom and Papa Edmond still painting and wallpapering their rental apartments and houses. Their renters became their friends, who often invited them over for a meal. Papa Edmond was 77 and Mom was 76 years old at the time, and they took their time when they were working on a project. Mom wrote much about the food they ate and the people they spent their time with. December was no different. Papa Edmond was an insurance agent with Nationwide (one of their more successful ones) and he and Mom attended the year-end company party in Raleigh on the 16th. From there they drove on down to Greenville to spend the holidays with my sister Carolyn. They also enjoyed their time with my little sister, Donna, and my family while they were in town. My wife had been planning a surprise 40th birthday party for me and I loved reading Mom’s account of the party and my surprise. On New Year’s Eve Mom fixed dinner for Papa Edmond’s two sons and their families, and brought in the New Year having a long conversation with my sister Donna on the phone.

Papa Edmond died in December, 1996, and Mom passed away a few months later in August, 1997. Mom was interested in politics, but it never seemed to be important enough for her to mention in her diary. Her interests were focused on her husband, her family, her friends, and the enjoyment she got from a delicious meal. She had a very close relationship with her Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, and often wrote her prayers in her diary.

In reading her diary for 1989, what stands out to me is that in all her writing she never had the first bad thing to say about anybody. If I didn’t call her for awhile, she never criticized me for it. She was just so happy when I (or any of her children) did. Her entire diary was uplifting and encouraging. As far as I know, she and my step-father never had a cross word that year. They worked together on their properties, in their garden, on their home, and they each loved the other’s children as if they were their own. If there was ever any marriage to emulate, it was theirs.

Thank you for reading along this year as I discovered and shared the life that my mother lived 30 years ago. I miss my mom (and dad, who died 58 years ago), and enjoyed bringing her back to life this year from the pages she so faithfully wrote each day. Even though most of her entries consisted of what she and my step-father had to eat and the aches and pains they suffered as they got older, I could still hear her speaking those words and I was warmly comforted by them. Thank you, Mary Beth (my sister, keeper of the family stuff), for sharing mom’s diary with me. I hope you all have a wonderful Christmas and I will see you all Happy in the New Year!