Wednesday, May 15, 2013

This year Mother’s Day and my father’s birthday fell on the same day

My father was born on May 12, 1906. Last Sunday -- May 12, 2013 -- was Mother’s Day in the United States. Dad would be 107 years old now if he hadn’t died at the age of 61 in 1967.

My father was older than Mother’s Day. Wikipedia says that the modern holiday of Mother’s Day was first celebrated in 1908, when Anna Jarvis held a memorial for her mother in Grafton, West Virginia. She then began a campaign to make “Mother’s Day” a recognized holiday in the United States. Although she was successful in 1914, she was already disappointed with its commercialization by the 1920s.

That Wikipedia article also includes these fascinating bits of information:

“As the American holiday was adopted by other countries and cultures, the date was changed to fit already existing celebrations honoring motherhood, such as Mothering Sunday in the United Kingdom or, in Greece, the Orthodox celebration of the presentation of Jesus Christ to the temple (February 2nd). Mothering Sunday is often referred to as “Mother’s Day” even though it is an unrelated celebration.

“In some countries the date was changed to a date that was significant to the majority religion, such as Virgin Mary Day in Catholic countries. Other countries selected a date with historical significance. For example, Bolivia’s Mother’s Day is the date of a battle in which women participated.

“Ex-communist countries usually celebrated the socialist International Women’s Day instead of the more capitalist Mother’s Day. Some ex-communist countries, such as Russia, still follow this custom or simply celebrate both holidays, which is the custom in Ukraine.”

There now, wasn’t that, er, fascinating?

But I was speaking about my father.

Dad was the youngest of five boys, which probably drove him a little crazy, which probably played a part in driving me a little crazy too. His father’s name was Elmer Ellsworth, which didn't help. His mother’s name was Edith Lillian; Elmer called her Lil. The boys were Arthur Everett (Art), John Henry (John), Leo Ellsworth (Leo), Daniel Eugene (Dan), and my father, who was Clifford Ray but was called Ted, which didn’t help either. In his younger days he was known as Ray Clifford, which also was undoubtedly a contributing factor.

Not that there’s anything wrong with being a little crazy.

I recommend it.

Grandpa Elmer was born in 1866 in Pennsylvania and died in 1949 in Iowa at the age of 82, just before my eighth birthday. I had never met him but I remember being very upset, crying buckets of tears that he had died before we ever had the chance to meet.

Grandma Lil was born in 1877 in Minnesota and died in 1938 in Iowa at the age of 61, three years before I was born. I never met her either, but I never cried buckets of tears for her. Go figure.

It strikes me now for the first time that my father and his mother both died at 61 years of age, which I had never noticed before.

As none of this is probably of any interest to anyone but me, I will stop now.

After all, I promised at the top of my blog to do my best not to bore you, and I always keep my promises.

My mother was not from Bolivia, but her battle began the day she married Dad and didn’t end until the day she died.


A Lady's Life said...

All women seem to have the same problem with men lol
Men will always be men.:)

Nice to know your grand parents.
Sad when you don't.But sometimes you don't have a choice in the matter.

rhymeswithplague said...

A Lady's Life, men will not always be men. Some of them take steps to become women. I am not speaking of myself. I suppose it would be more accurate, therefore, to say that some men will always be men. 'Tis strange times in which we find ourselves living.

Pat - Arkansas said...

Both my grandfathers died before I was born. My grandmothers lived into my adulthood. My mother told me that her grandfather (I don't know if it was on the maternal or paternal side)used to jiggle me on his knees. He died when I was about 2 years old. I wish I could remember him.

Hilltophomesteader said...

I was born to an unwed mother back when it wasn't the norm. I knew one set of grandparents and, though they are long since passed into eternity, I will treasure them all my days! I still have the old wood wheelbarrow my Grampa would let me ride in while he wheeled it up (yes, up!) the hill into the woods to get some firewood. Why did I tell you this? Dunno, just wish everyone & everything was more like it used to be, I guess.

LightExpectations said...

I never knew either of my grandfathers, so they both hold a sense of mystery for me. It gives me great appreciation for the fact that my kids have all four of their grandparents. There is so much to learn from one's grandparents!

A Lady's Life said...

Men will always be men, regardless if they want to become women lol
Women will always be women, regardless if they want to become men.
Both sexes can be whatever they want to be but they will always be in the package they were born in.
The rest is irrelevant.

rhymeswithplague said...

I have been a little derelict in my responding-to-comments duty. My thanks go out to Pat in Arkansas and to HilltopHomesteader in Washington and to LightExpectations in southern California for your thoughts on grandparents, and to A Lady's Life in British Columbia, Canada for sharing your thoughts on men/women. Even the package can be modified; it's the DNA that remains the same! LOL!