Best Gift EVER!

A few short years ago, I started a sibling Christmas gift exchange.  The reason was a simple one.  After the death of our oldest and youngest brothers, I just wanted the remaining four siblings to connect.  The idea was to be nothing fancy but should be handmade or recycled or at least had some kind of personal aspect.  We all were living in different places so far away from one another.  Lori in Grand Junction, Mark in Colorado Springs, Robin in Austin and me in Tucson.

blog map The first year I had Mark’s name and made him a calendar with footprints of his grand kids and family photos. The second year, I made Robin an ornament using some of Gram’s old costume jewelry. I cannot say what I did this year for Lori, because it would ruin her surprise!

I loved the gifts that Robin and Lori bestowed on me the previous two Christmases. This year, Mark had my name. Imagine my surprise to see a huge package all wrapped in cardboard and taped together by our front gate yesterday. As soon as I began cutting the tape, I realized just what my gift from the heart was.

Some years back, with the blessing of Gram,  I signed over the deed to her house to her niece, whom I affectionately called Sissy.  This house shared a split deed with Sissy’s home since the day they were built.  Gram’s home was built in the late 1800’s and Sissy’s house built in the early 1900’s.  Gram’s house at 4500 Perry Street in Denver, was the original family home of my great grandparents and was built by my great-grandfather and other friends and relatives.  Years later, in 1906,  my grandma was born in the front bedroom of that little 2 bedroom home, as was my mother in 1927.  To say that this home had sentimental family history that always touched my heart, is an understatement at the very least.

After Sissy passed away, my cousin had both homes demolished.  Gram’s home was nowhere near modern building code and would have been cost prohibitive to bring it to building and safety code.  After the demolition, Mark made the trek from Colorado Springs to Denver and managed to salvage a little 24 inch door for me.  It must have been a difficult thing to see the house gone, but still, he did it because I asked.  I had to hold back tears as I removed the layers of cardboard and packing and tape to discover the door that Mark took the time to grab and then store at his home for several years.

I have so many ideas for this door. Shall I make it into a kitchen table? Maybe a wall hanging? In the meantime, my first instinct was to dress her for the holidays. And here she stands in her glory showing off a new wreath. Thanks, Mark. You made my day. No, not day. You made my Christmas oh so special, and I love you so much for your thoughtfulness. 12 19 2013 3

Grandma Tabor

Marjorie Grace.  Born June 14 1906 – on Flag Day – before there even was a Flag Day!  Born to James Benjamin  Daigle and Mary (Minnie) Victoria Gardner (Daigle) in the family home at 4500 Perry Street in Denver.  A mere 21 years later, my mother would be born in that very same house!grandmataborholdingmomat4500perrystreetdenvercolorado

Gram was the youngest of four children.  Two older brothers died at very young ages (one from an accidental discharge of a rifle and one electrocuted from felled power lines near their home.  She was, admittedly, very spoiled and that carried through until the day she died in 2004.  When Mom would take us to visit Gram in Denver no less than twice a year, everything revolved around her and care was taken to make certain that she did not prepare a meal, wash a dish or vacuum a floor the entire time we were visiting.  When Gram visited Grand Junction, also twice a year, everything revolved around her and care was taken to make certain that she did not prepare a meal, wash a dish or vacuum a floor the entire time she was visiting.  Déjà vu all over again!

Gram’s one and only chore during any visit was to take me shopping.  The famous phrase still rings in my head “we need to buy you a new top!”  Off to the May D&F or Fashion Bar we would go and I would return with no less than 4 blouses each time.  In my much younger days, I received pinafore dresses with layers of crinoline complete with hoop petticoats, matching socks, shoes and sometimes even a bonnet – her word for a hat.  When I was 3 or 4, I was dressed up in a pale pink dress layered with a pinafore.  A pale pink hat was placed atop my head, brand new shiny white paten leather shoes atop the pale pink ruffled socks, AND the piece de la resistance, white gloves.  The dainty kind that just barely covered my hands below the wrist.  I cared not where we were headed when I was walked to the 1952 dark maroon color Chevy with the most enormous steering wheel I have ever seen.  I was only concerned with not scuffing my shoes or soiling my pristine white gloves.  After a short drive, I was out of the car and walked into a big building which was all quiet and hushed-like.  I dutifully sat in the bench style seat next to Gram like the little lady I was.

I don’t know exactly when it was that I realized there was a dead body in an ornate box at the front of the building.  I felt so betrayed.  Why would Gram have me all dressed up in my signature pale pink color attire to bring me to sit on a hard bench looking at a box with a dead person in it.  I should be going to Luby’s for lunch and taken to another store to shop!  Nothing was ever discussed about that quiet day.  But I do know that I learned some grace from Gram that day.

Happy Birthday to Gram who left us in this world to watch over us from another.  I think I hear her voice now … don’t wear that.  You look like a hussy! 

and then as quickly as they arrived … it was time for them to depart.

Ricky and Mateo and Marluce left early in the morning for the airport and their return trip to beautiful northern Virginia.  The paints and crafts were all back in their rightful place.  The house was too quiet.  Nobody asking for snacks.  Nobody asking to play in the water.  Nobody trying to talk their daddy into a little more screen time.  Just the quiet.

I do not accompany my kids to airports, if I can avoid it.  I am too emotional.  Watching them walk into the building and having them beyond my grasp is just too much.  So, I leave that to the other son or the husband.  Although, I am certain you wouldn’t have to look too close to see a tear in Jeffry’s eye as the glass doors of TIA closed behind them.

I remember the many times we would leave Grandma Tabor’s house for our return trip to Grand Junction, and we silently giggled at the fact that “uh oh.  Grandma is crying again”.  I think I can hear her voice in my ear asking “well, how do YOU like it?”

I don’t, Gram.  I don’t like it at all.

TIA sunrise

Recipe 2 from the Grandma Tabor files

Fish Balls

O.K. (Fish Balls,) cod, boiled potatoes, cayenne pepper, egg, butter. mashed together and formed into balls and fried. Kind of bland but yet addicting, next time will use citrus and or cocktail sauce, onions garlic and pepper.       Jane and Mark

Okay, Jane.  I could do without the cayenne pepper and citrus.  But add all of the rest of that stuff and send over!  – C

cod balls

the last time

The day was November 26th 1988 – the Saturday after Thanksgiving. Mom, Dad and Grandma Tabor had the motorhome packed with their travel belongings after a few days of visiting and enjoying Thanksgiving dinner with them and my special “little sister” guest, Leisa. We had managed to fit in a huge holiday feast; the requisite shopping on Friday after, and of course, several rounds of Bingo at Papago Bingo. I had stuffed the traveling refrig with container after container of Thanksgiving leftovers. This was a special one as I had never known my mother to leave her home for that particular holiday. This was the first and only one in my life. One year she was sequestered on a murder trial as a jurist, and the judge had ordered the jury dismissed just for that day and they had to return to sequestration Thanksgiving night. Mom had made a detailed list of everything I needed to buy a week prior to the holiday with detailed instructions on how to prepare what and how and when – like I didn’t already know after being her right hand gal since the age of 10. Even on a several week jury trial, she still insisted that the family dinner would be held on North 18th Street, and no amount of reasoning was going to change her mind. And so it was. So, I was quite surprised when she called and said they were coming for Thanksgiving. Mom had suffered a bad bout of the flu in several weeks prior and I thought maybe she was just worn out. So, I didn’t question it. I was excited to host Thanksgiving at my house in Tucson. Of course she insisted that everything would be just as though we were in Grand Junction. She would do all of the cooking and baking. Gram was in charge of peeling 10 pounds of potatoes and I was charged with setting and decorating the table. I didn’t give a second thought to Mom’s comments here and there. “I do not ever want to die in Tucson.” When I said what an odd thing to say, she explained that we had that doctor here who transplanted hearts. And what if he took hers out and replaced it with someone who was mean? Would those unprincipled traits be transferred to her? I kind of just shrugged it off with a smile. We were sitting in the living room relaxing one afternoon, watching an old rerun of Designing Women where the ladies had designed a New Orleans style send off for a young friend who had died of Aids. Mom stated that she wanted her funeral to be like that with upbeat music and lots of flowers. Maybe I should have paid more attention.

After a nice breakfast at Coco’s, the three musketeers were on their way home. I didn’t envy them. The drive from Tucson to Grand unction is almost unbearable for me; hours of dry dusty desert with no cell or radio reception. It is, nicely put, miserable. They didn’t seem to mind. As long as Mom was in her motorhome, she was good. Cristopher was out with friends. Ricky was at a U of A game enjoying his time with friends in the kids Knothole Section. Bob and I were set to enjoy a movie night out with 4 year old Jeffry in tow. As the movie time slowly approached, Bob reminded me that we needed to get on our way. But, I felt uneasy and did not want to leave the house that night. When I relayed that to my husband, he just nodded okay and went about his evening. He was used to me changing my mind so nothing unusual about that.

If memory serves, it was around 7 in the early evening when the phone begin to ring. It was still in the time where the phone hung on the wall. Bob held the phone out saying it was my dad and if they had car problems, I was to find out where they were and he would be on his way. Before I put the phone to my ear, I quietly said to Bob “honey, my Mom is dead,” He just looked at me, admonishing me with his stare about the inappropriateness of making such a comment. As I lifted the phone to my hear, I could hear my Dad’s voice saying “Mom’s gone”.

I felt the tears as Daddy explained the chain of events leading up to this call. And then the blur of the night began. Laundry had to be done for five people making the 780 mile trek to western Colorado; arrangements had to be made for Jeffry to stay with my Tucson friend, Peggy for a week. Calls had to be made to my siblings. And in a flurry of tears and questions and travel arrangements, we finally fell into bed after midnight. And then came the long and drawn out sobs as Bob held me tightly until finally exhaustion and sleep took over. And this day was over.

My Mom was gone.

Family History Links to Page for DAIGLE

https://gdovingirl.com/gdovins-and-more-family-history/daigle/