In a timely twist today in the mail was a postcard invitation to the Day of the Dead reception this coming Saturday at Casa Ramirez, right after I started to pull things together for my ofrenda this year. Since some of the pictures used last year were put away so well they have yet to surface again, it had to be a fresh start.
Again, there are pictures of my mother and her brother, born in 1923 and 1920 respectively. My mom's 90th birthday would have been last week, which is hard to realize. They were both born here in Houston where their parents moved when they married after the end of WWI and for the most part lived in the same neighborhood or nearby to where we are now. They seemed to have a very happy childhood from all accounts. Both my grandparents were from large families, so there were literally dozens of cousins they spent a lot of time with whenever possible. Their names were Roy Jr. and Althea, but both went by nicknames all their lives, known as June Boy and Boukie.
Those pictures seem to be when they were around 18 and 15, or maybe a year or two older or younger.
This is a closer view of Boukie. Included are other photos, a coffee cup because she loved to drink coffee, a coke because she liked those, too, candy and things representative of her interests. There are flowers, feathers, leaves and nature elements, because she was always collecting things like that to bring inside, brushes and paint because she was an amateur artist, a cat because she always had cats and a tiny bottle brush tree. That makes me laugh, because after there were no kids at home my dad would ask hopefully every year. "So, you don't want to put a tree up this year, do you?" but to his disappointment, she always did.
That is a snapshot of her holding me as a fairly newborn infant.
A globe because she liked to travel, although she never got to any far-flung places and books because she had a stack beside her chair and bed at all times.
I don't have a lot of her things to remember her by, some pictures and the baby shoes and a very few other items. I'm not sure what my dad did with her keepsakes. She liked to paint and plant flowers, fish and play cards. I don't think she ever got over the loss of June Boy in June, 1940. From all I've ever heard they were great friends and it was a terrible blow to all who knew him. It is very comforting to me to think of them finding one another after her death so unexpected in 1983.
All Saints is one of my favorite church services of the liturgical year. I look forward to this coming Sunday as a time to remember my mother, the uncle i never knew, and their parents, the best grandparents ever. Before that we'll go to Casa Ramirez and look at the altars others made this year and hear their memories. October is a wonderful month, but a bit on the melancholy side. And that's okay. Remembering fondly and respecting our relatives is a fine tradition.
Does your community celebrate the memory of loved ones this way?
Till next time,