2021: N – April A to Z: Mama in Photos…
I’m back for my sixth year (2021)… can you believe it… of participating in the yearly April A to Z challenge… and I’ve had quite a time in deciding on my “theme.” I had a few running through my head, but as I lost my mother last November, I thought I’d honor her through the many photographs I have of her… and tell the story of the photograph… as every photo has a story.
I’m fortunate that my mother had many photos of herself growing up… and I’m honoring her this year as the theme of my April A to Z… especially as was she was an April baby. Mama would have turned 91 this year… but she’s now back home celebrating this birthday with her parents and brother on the farm… where I believe she was always the happiest. The past few years my mother was fighting off dementia, while still managing to live alone until the last couple months of her life. I miss her every day… thinking of her daily and remembering all she did for me. She was the storyteller… She supplied me with my stories… and it’s because of her, that I write!
N… Nickname is Angel
I bought this stained glass frame for mama one year… anytime I found something with Angel on it, I often bought. We always arrived with birthday gifts as we usually visited in April… Mama was born on April 6, 1930.
My mother’s real name is Helen Rebecca McKinley… and was always called Helen until she began working at The Holiday Inn as a bartender. Her “bestie” worked there also as a waitress. As she often travelled late at night in going home, she bought herself a CB radio for the car. Her handle quickly became “the 1 Angel”… and the nickname of Angel soon started right after. It may have been the truckers who gave her that name… as she looked after them in the bar, keeping them out of trouble and they looked after her on the way home.
Mama often talked about how she kept order in the lounge and was always able to talk someone into leaving who’d had too much to drink. It’s not easy managing people, but she always had a way of talking to them. Of course, it was like old times with her bestie, Willie Mae, also working there… even having a few tete a tete issues… but their rumpus never lasted. They were friends to the end!
The truckers dominated the late night hours on I-20 with their CB’s… and often chatted with mama all the way home… making sure she was safe off the highway in the late-night hours. In those days, no one had a phone, so unless you had a CB… you had no contact for help unless someone stopped to help you.
Mama’s grandchildren never called her grandma, or any other name except for Angel… my son would tell people… “she’s not my grandmother, she’s my “Angel.”
I brought this beautiful Angel home from Mama’s on a previous trip… she was sitting alone in a corner… I wonder where this one came from?
Mama became obsessed with angel statues… and she scattered them throughout her house and gardens… they seemed to just come her way; we always brought a new one when we came. As I walked through her gardens for the last time, I packed up a few to bring home, but sadly many had broken through the years. (more pictures to follow of the ones packed in the car at present)
I have no clue where mama picked up this cute little angel… but she hung it up. I don’t know where I’ll hang it, but I rescued her to bring home… she will be my guardian angel.
I cleaned up this sign I found outside at mama’s… I’ll hang it on my fence in her memory. Mama always believed someone was watching over her… she said her father was always there keeping her safe. She felt him strongly when she lived on his farm… sometimes at night his favorite rocking chair would suddenly begin rocking… and while that scared her bestie, Willie Mae, she never felt scared to think of him nearby.
Mama loved hanging her favorite signs on the screen door!
Mama always said she wanted a white rose laid on her gravestone… so I left two… one for her, and one for Boo. I also left a few of her garden treasures… the little kitty was for Boo; hope they are there when I go back. I wish I could have planted a white rose bush at her grave, but I’ll plant one in my garden and put her Angel statue by it. (photo forthcoming)
Missing you Mama, especially today as I didn’t get a call from you wishing me a Happy Birthday, but I know you’re still thinking of me. Missing you so much!
Hope you’re watching over my shoulder and laughing at all your photos I’m posting… but I have one question… what made you really cut them all up? There’s so much information in the backgrounds that I’m missing! I’ll be thinking of you always… especially when I see a rainbow, as I know you’re in heaven at the other end!
My previous years of A to Z Challenges:
- 2016: A to Z Southern Foods and Memories… they said write what you know… and being a girl born in the South… well this was what I knew.
- 2017: A to Z Conversations with Mama… it was a somewhat easy one for me to write as I’d journaled our conversations for years… I researched favorite topics to write.
- 2018: A to Z All About Nancy Drew… this one has been my favorite topic so far, and I don’t know if I’ll ever come up with another one to equal it
- 2019: A to Z Italian Famiglia Foods and Memories… I felt it was time to finally write the favorites of my husbands family foods.
- 2020: A to Z Family Stories… writing the stories of my husband’s family.
For more A to Z of Mama in Photos… click HERE!
© 2021, copyright Jeanne Bryan Insalaco; all rights reserved