Memorial Day – Flowers for the Graves

We are the benefactors of true wealth – family love and beautiful memories.

For as long as I can remember, just before Memorial Day, my mother, her twin sister, and their younger sister, loaded the van with flowers and drove a three hundred mile loop around central and western Oklahoma to lay flowers upon the graves of many of our relatives. For years, no one was allowed to go along. It was their day alone to sing old songs and be together with memories of family who had died and visit places of their childhood.

Later, different ones would go along to drive them. I’ll never forget the years that I joined them on our “Family Memorial Run”.  From the moment we hit the road, it was as though they turned into little girls again; being silly, giggling, and singing all their old favorite songs as we drove. But their love for family resonated as they lovingly groomed the graves and placed bouquets of flowers on each one.

Now, my mother and her twin are first on the list for flowers as my daughter and I lovingly groom their graves. Mother’s surviving sister still enjoys visiting the local graves. Her memories are clear, her sharing family stories are treasured, and she still beautifully sings all the old songs.

In memory of my mother, Elsa Rector Leatherwood, and Aunt Eva Rector Leatherwood.

 

In Memory Elsa Rae Rector Leatherwood 1931-2015

I could never have imagined that the summer I decide to begin a family history blog

Amanda and Momma
Amanda and Momma

the work would be put aside while I sat with my Mother in her final days on this earth. Now she rests with Daddy.

I am a benefactor of true wealth. Mother taught me many things but the most valuable lesson I learned was not taught, it was a life of love, laughter, tears, hard work, and that a loving family is priceless. I miss our daily conversations but can still hear her voice.
Now, it is with great honor that I begin again.G 2

Happy Birthday in heaven Elsa Rae Rector and Eva Mae born 1931

Eva&Elsa5 more family scans_0010

Thinking of my mother on her birthday.  She was sassy, spicy, and wonderful. Her great grandchildren call her Grandma Cookie. She would say that she has had a wonderful life. How rewarding to be 84 years old and completely content with life’s journey even when dealing with health issues. I’ve talked with her many times about her life and am amazed by her story. She was quite a woman. I admire her and am grateful for all the years with her.  I love you momma.

Update, I am sad to say that Mother died 18 Sept., 2015 at the age of 84 years and 3 months.

 

Memorial Run – Flowers for the Graves

Elsa, Eva, and Wynona at the grave of their parents.
Elsa, Eva, and Wynona at the grave of their parents.
Silly sisters.
Silly sisters.

For as long as I remember, just before Memorial Day, Mother and her twin, Eva, would load the car with flowers and drive a three hundred mile loop around central and western Oklahoma to lay flowers upon the graves of many of our relatives. This was their special day of the year to go off by themselves For years, no one was allowed to go with them. Then their younger sister, Wynona, joined in and as years passed, different family members would go along to drive them. I will never forget the years I joined them on the “Memorial Run”. From the moment we hit the road, it was as though they turned into little girls again, being silly, giggling, playful, and singing all their old favorite songs as we drove. But their love for family resonated as they lovingly groomed the graves and placed bouquets of flowers on each one.

Now, Aunt Eva receives her flowers at her grave. At 84 years old, Mother can no longer make the Memorial Run. This year, my daughter and I will go alone. It may be raining but we will go anyway, just as Mother and her sisters did, rain or shine. We will make it a day of celebration. I am excited to take my family history book along to show my daughter pictures of each ancestor and tell her a little about their lives. I am grateful!

Elsa Rae & Eva Mae Rector Leatherwood Born 6-13-1931 “Happy Mother’s Day”.

eva&elsa

My mother, Elsa Rae, and twin, Eva Mae, were born 13 June, 1931 to Robert Earl and Jennie Rogers Rector. The red headed, petite girls, lightly peppered in freckles, were identical by sight. No one excluding their mother could tell them apart, even though, their personalities and expressions were as different as night and day.

However, their parallel lives were a clear example of twin connections. In 1948, they married Leatherwood brothers. In 1949, they had their first children. Many times, at family gatherings, they would show up separately, wearing matching clothes.  One year, without prior discussion, mother came home from vacationing in south Texas with her ears pierced. Her twin also had pierced her ears at the same time. They had never discussed ear piercing.

During difficult times and good times, they were never far apart, supporting one another with love and compassion.

Aunt Eva “went home” in August, 2001 to be with the Lord and the love of her life, Uncle JB Leatherwood. Mother misses her very much – as well all do. My mother will soon be 84 years old. Thankfully, she is still spunky and spicy.

I love this picture.