Sunday, September 21, 2008

Aunt Ozina

On January 25, 1995, I had the pleasure of interviewing my Aunt Ozina. Born Ozina Cora Marotte to Alphonse Marotte and Lovina Theroux on Aug. 15, 1908, she was the oldest of 9 children, with my mother being the youngest making them almost 19 years apart. She spent most of her life as a Registered Nurse and became one in 1933. She was also an accomplished organist and in June, 1979 she became Grand Organist of the Eastern Star. Her father had a Model T, it was the first model that did not need to be cranked. She learned to drive in it. She shared with me about her mother and how she played the piano and had a great green thumb. She would spot a plant along a path that looked like it was dying; she would bring it home and nurse it to good health. When she got too old to have any more children she was very upset about that.

Not having any children of her own, she was like our grandmother as she had passed away before we were born. She outlived two husbands, Eugene Baron and Dexter Stripp.

She taught me how to knit, crochet and sew my own clothes. She was also a great cribbage and Scrabble player, who taught us all so many things about life while we were all growing up. Everytime we play either game, we always think of her and how much fun we had each and every time.

Remembered: Ozina C. M. B. Stripp 1908-1997

Thursday, June 26, 2008

Teaching Me to Pray

After my mother's death, I was raised and lived with my Duncan grandparents. "Jean, is it your prayer time?". Grandma Duncan was reminding me that it was time for bed. I was just three years old.

We'll have family prayer with grandpa and Mick in a few minutes, but we need to have a few words of prayer alone." She led me into the big dining room and closed the door.
We knelt down beside the big chair by the door. As I peaked through my fingers I could see the heavily carved mahogany chair back and the deep red velvet seat.

"We will always have family prayer, but I know that there are special things that you will want to talk to Heavenly Father about" she said. "I will? " "like what?" I opened my eyes and unfolded my hands. The discussion might take a while. "Well, ask Heavenly Father to help you be good enough to see your mother Elaine again some day" she explained. That did seem like a good idea to me. "Pray for your dad. Heavenly Father could help him find happiness again." She looked at me for approval.

I closed my eyes and folded my hands again. Grandma started to teach me to pray. I repeated her words at first. After a few prayers on my own, I began praying for other family members and friends and our dog, but I always included in every prayer during those years "Please help me to be so good so I'll see my mother some day." I closed my eyes and folded my hands again.

In Memory of Violet Duncan 1885 to 1970

Sunday, June 15, 2008

The Glistening Sun Catcher

Hanging in the window of my kitchen is an array of stained glass sun catchers placed in just the right position to bring into my kitchen a kaleidoscope of colors for me as the sunlight streams through them. Sun catchers are amazing little things and so pleasing to the eye.

One sun catcher brings more delight to me than just its’ beauty. Whenever I gaze at it, I am immediately taken back years to my own mother’s kitchen where it also hung enchanting her with the same beautiful rainbow of colors. This sun catcher is shaped like musical symbols and reminds me of the love for music that existed in my mother’s life throughout my childhood and hers.

When my mother was a child, her own mother taught her how to play the piano, but her love of music continued beyond that. She was always a part of a church choir and took the time also to teach her own children how to play the piano. Later in life, she became a member of the “Melody Bells”, which was a large female barbershop group. She would spend hours practicing and participating in many competitions, bringing much joy to her life and all those who knew her.

Music was such a part of my mother’s life that she carefully planned the program for her own funeral. When that day came, the “Melody Bells” sang her favorite song, “On Eagles Wings”. Her memory and her love of music lives on through her children and grandchildren. Today many of them are either in choirs, singing groups or learning to play the piano. But I am particularly blessed, for I inherited the musical sun catcher!

Dedicated in memory of my mother, Claire V. M. Brisson 1927-1998