Recently on Facebook someone asked the question to the universe of FB friends, family, and those who read your posts but don’t comment, to quantify one’s age, but not in numbers. I posted that I was Howdy Doody and Good Humor old. That should give you a clue as to my demographics, more or less. Howdy Doody was my friend and cloth covered companion until a family friend, who’s house I left it at…I was four, tossed it down the incinerator thinking it was just a worn out and battered toy. That was a growing up moment and a first loss.
Today my mother would have had her 94th birthday. When she was four, and she lived in Germany, they celebrated a meld of Hanukah and Christmas, which I recently read was a thing then…called
“Chrismukkah, according to the Jewish Museum Berlin, was first used in 19th century Germany by German Jews. Except the term was in German, not English: Instead of Chrismukkah, they called the holiday Weihnukkah. Like how Chrismukkah is a combination of Christmas and Hanukkah, Weihnukkah is a combination of Weihnachten, Christmas in German, and Hanukkah. The more you know!” (credit to a cool website called Hey Alma!)
I always think of the questions I would like to ask her, which of course I could do, but I would be unsure how she would send me that answer from wherever she might be in the universe. Another loss but then, it is the way we move through life, managing the losses, experiencing some miracles, celebrating the ordinary and the extraordinary. She would like that sentence and that itself is an answer, when we can still predict the words of those who are not around.
I would ask her if she skipped as a child. I dreamt last night that I was skipping around, in my current 65 year old self. I was quite impressed with myself. I wasn’t much of a skipp-er as a kid. I was a tripper and fall downer. Not full of grace, ever. I often dream that I run, not in the sense of a monster chasing me, but more like a distance runner, metered and in a lovely cadence. One of my favorite dreams. I think that some dreams are better than the reality. I know I will never run like in my dreams, but I will always enjoy the dreams where I run.
Today we celebrate the day with the earliest sunset. That’s different from the winter solstice which is still a few weeks away. I would ask my mother what she remembered of December. I know a story she told of the day she turned seventeen. She worked in a factory in New York City at a company that made bows. It was the day after Pearl Harbor and she told the story of how all the employees silently gathered around the radio to listen to President Franklin Roosevelt tell the citizens of the U.S. that this was day that we would declare war against Japan, and enter W.W. II. It was the day my father, who was a supervisor at the same company, would turn to my mother and mouth the words “Happy Birthday” as they listened to the speech.
History is in the making every moment, every day. For some it’s personal, for some it’s just another day. Happy Birthday, Inge. I remember you every day and I imagine that you liked to skip.