Memorial Day is meaningful for remembering those who have given
their lives for our country. For parades and gravesites decorated with
wreathes of red, white and blue. For waving flags and remembering
to take them down at dusk. For the trumpet which sounds, “Day is done,
gone the sun…” that etches a memory for me of my Dad. His sensitive eyes
would fill up when he heard the mournful first notes.
Along with the serious side of Memorial Day, there are the wondrous
buffets of picnics, fishing and playing games with family. I am always
thankful for the sight of my Dad rounding the corner of their little
retirement cottage on the cliff of Vermilion on Lake Erie. He would
have a life preserver over his shoulder, a handful of those styrofoam
multi-colored “noodles” my kids loved, along side of him would be
the croquet set up or a badminton net all for my three children who
didn’t realize every grandpa was not so playful and fun loving.
I am excited about staying up in Cleveland to see my mother in her
senior apartment. Last year, it was the “Attack of the Flies” story that
made my blog. This year, who knows what mischief, malaprops said,
or other adventures Mom and I will get into? We usually sit in our p.j’s
and have wine, we enjoy Hallmark or the Clue channels! Always there
are memories and a midnight walk with her little dog, Nicki.
I will be traveling with her to the grocery store, we go to the bank and
often she wants to drive past our home in Bay Village. We may go over
to Huntington Beach and stop in for an Italian meal at Vento’s which
I mentioned last summer. It is a restaurant that Patricia Heaton and her
sister own. Patty is known for “Everybody Loves Raymond” and “The Middle”
comedy shows’ fame.
She was a resident of Bay Village and would have been grade wise between
my youngest brother and my other brother who is only 18 months younger
than I am.
Her brother, Michael Heaton, was in my graduating class of 1974. He
writes in the Cleveland newspaper, The Plain Dealer. His column’s title
and his famous persona is “The Minister of Culture.”
I wrote last year around Christmas that he wrote a true story that was made
into a Hallmark movie (Dec. 21, 2012.) This touching movie is about a
heart transplant that transforms several peoples’ lives. It is called “The Christmas
Vento’s has a black board listing the specials along with the choices available
On the patio are tables with umbrellas where the view is a beautiful setting
where the Huntington Playhouse currently have live theatre productions. The
Huntington Arts used to hold outdoor watercolor classes, for example.
Vento’s serves light fare along with a delicious variety of the Italian pasta
dishes you would love to eat. The desserts are also varied and includes
cheesecake and a fresh fruit salad. I am not sure what else would be served
since it has been a year.
My mother likes to look around this neighborhood that was the one
I lived in from my 7th grade until my senior year of high school. From
BGSU, I would come home from college on breaks, got married and then,
my parents retired. They spent the rest of their time together traveling
around in their RV. They went from Maine to Florida and then from Ohio
across the West to California to a NACA reunion (what NASA was called
when it first began.) Then they would follow their travels by stopping to see
their grandchildren, my kids, in Delaware, Ohio. At last starting summer
in their Vermilion home with their Memorial Day weekend extravaganza!
We won’t go to Vermilion with Mom because that is where she remembers
Dad the most and she cries and wants to stay there. It is not a safe place
anymore for her. Last Spring, we made a family decision that is difficult.
I want to take her there but I remember it is for the best not to.
Thus, I will venture there while Mom is sleeping in on either Saturday
or Sunday mornings. I will visit her neighbors, let the air into the house
and wander around the cottage. I will walk the beach looking for the blue
glass and special little rocks that we always loved to bring back and drop in
the rock garden.
I may weed a little and hope that it won’t take too long. Our man who mows
will have weed whacked and hopefully, there will be potential buyers this
Spring and Summer! Neighbors may wave and cross the street to talk.
They usually ask about my mother who was there on her own for 11 years
with a lot of neighborly love and friendship going both directions.
My brothers will have a barbecue with Susan and I doing a minimum
of preparation and sitting with my mother on their sun porch. They are
fortunate to have a place across the street from where they placed Mom.
My sister in law and younger brother have a beautiful “century home” that
is a pretty yellow with black shutters. Adorning my brother’s large yard is
a Randall Oldrieve (other brother) sculpture that brings cars to a halt or
slowing down at least to see!
I will bask in the sun at some point in time, be it on a walk at the beach,
sitting on a large rock or on the pier at Showse Beach in Vermilion. I may
choose one of the benches at Huntington Beach in Bay.
My favorite place to perch is on the steps my Dad built down the cliff. This
was a place that no matter how high the water was, we could count on them
to be able to survey the lake. I can look out and almost see Canada on a clear day!
The sun setting or the sun rising are gorgeous to view there. From this perch, the
clear, ‘no city lights’ deep, dark night sky is heavenly!
This Memorial Day I will think of my father who really loved retiring from
what was a challenging career. He worked hard at NASA as a rocket scientist
or an engineer in the lab working with the mechanical arms testing the metal
that would produce a part on the space shuttle.
What we remember is sitting in a simple rowboat looking at the stars and casting
out a fishing line.
Those times were filled with the great expanse of water and sky filled with stars
and we didn’t have to talk to know we were loved.
Happy Memorial Day to everyone! Feel free to share your favorite memories, too!