Friday, July 16, 2010

Bittersweet Birthday

Irene (Wolvington) Stewart
July 16, 1926 - July 15, 2010

Dear Irene,
Although my memories of you don't begin until my 4th or 5th year of life, I know that you have always been a part of it. I still remember eating at "our" restaurant when you showed me how Indians fed their babies. I don't remember how old I was. It was sometime during the four years after Charles died, but before we lost Grandma. You dipped my straw into my soda, put a finger over one end, then told me to open my mouth. Once the open end of the straw was over my mouth, you moved your finger, and the soda was released. I believed you at the time, and now it's just a funny story.

I remember chasing (and getting chased by) the geese at your house in the country. Your country home always amazed me. Just up the hill from Faye's, it seemed so little from the outside, but so big on the inside. I remember helping you, Grandma, and Mom in the kitchen, getting ready for one of our big family dinners. Then, eating in the dining room that always seemed so huge. There were three doors off the living room, one I knew led to the kitchen. I assumed the other two led to your bedroom and the bathroom. It wasn't until just a few years ago that I found out you never had indoor plumbing there, and that your home is even more amazing because Charles built that house as a wedding present for you.

The weather here has been kind of unpleasant. Lots of heat and humidity. My mother-in-law's flowers seem to love it. The boys brought home a couple of bouquets from her garden. I don't have many flowers planted, yet. Just my hydrangeas (I've gotten 16 blooms from my tiny little plant this year!) and one rose bush. Jeremy accidentally sprayed my other roses with weed killer. It's starting to come back though. The Lily of the Valleys that I transplanted from Grandpa's are doing well. They've almost completely taken over the entire bed I put them in! I also planted a lilac bush, I'm hoping it'll hide the dumpster soon! We'll be putting new siding on the house next year, and as soon as that is done, I'm finally going to plant my "field" of daisies.

I had planned to call you today, to tell you happy birthday and to surprise you with the news of our visit in a month. I found out yesterday afternoon that if I call, you won't answer this time.  You'll be celebrating your 84th birthday with Grandma, Grandpa, Faye, Charles, and many other loved ones.  Give them all big hugs and kisses for me!  I'll see you next Friday, though, and I'll bring some flowers.



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