May 13, 2006

Mother's Day - Remembering my Mom


Eleanor Suiter

My mother died a couple of years ago and I still miss her. She was a sweet and loving person who had a good word for everyone she met. There's a brief notice about her on the University of Chicago Alumni Magazine site.

She did not dwell on the past but in her older years she had a few favorite stories about her childhood. One was a memory of summer vacations spent in a beach home on Lake Michigan. Her father remained in Chicago to work during the week. He had a boat and used it to travel to the beach house for the weekend. Mother remembers standing on the beach watching for his boat to appear on the horizon, becoming excited as it drew near.

Their regular residence was in Riverside, Illinois. Mother went to the University of Chicago where she met my father. She said that in order to take their honeymoon they borrowed her father's car - it was the early 1940's and not every young person had a car. While traveling (I think they were in Upper Michigan) she phoned her parents and was told that they needed the car back! Her father had been called back into active duty by the Navy because the war in Europe was heating up.

They were again on vacation when Pearl Harbor was attacked. Her father was stationed in Florida and she and my dad were visiting him. They went to the beach together and a boy selling papers was calling out "Pearl Harbor Attacked." "Oh my God!" said my grandfather. "I've got to get back to the base!"

Later my dad joined the Navy too. Like many other women, my mother had to worry about both her husband and her father until the war finally ended. After the war both my dad and grandfather got jobs with the Veteran's Association. My parents settled in Northern Virginia and lived out their lives there.

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