This is my Mom, Melody, in the picture below….and today is her 84th birthday. (Happy Birthday Mom! I wish I was there to celebrate your day with you, however, I want you to know that I have been thinking of you all week) I believe she was all of 15, maybe 16 years old in the picture and about to marry my Father, Nick, within a year… give or take a few months. She was a majorette for her high school in the sleepy little hillside hamlet of Brisbane. Out by the then called Candlestick Park, where the SF Giants played ball, and just a couple miles south of San Francisco. She was 16 when she married my father and she gave birth at 17 to my eldest brother, Jim, in 1949. Then came my brother Tom in 1952. He was followed by my brother, Dan, in 1954. And, of course…as far as I’m concerned anyway…she saved the best for last. I’m still the baby…which I eagerly and happily accept nowadays…being born in 1957, a few months before my Mom’s 26th birthday.
Four, count ’em…four boys! All born by the time she was 25. All barely 2.5 to 3 years apart. All full of, as they said back then…piss and vinegar! I’m sure there was a great reason for that term…but I can’t seem to recall it. Or, maybe I’ve just blocked it in denial that it was absolutely true. We drove her crazy. Almost. That said, my Mom has always been strong…. Always! Four rowdy boys, all hungry…all the time…and my Father. She was a kid having kids and living a full metal jacket adult life at such a young age. She had to be strong. And I have not a clue how she did it and remained the pretty and sweet and funny girl back then…much the same as the pretty, sweet and funny ‘little old lady who still can do’ that she is today. She had, as she does now, an inner strength that has seen her through a life time of ‘life…and all that goes with it’! Kids, a young mother and wife, 3 major car accidents, divorce after 20 years, a single woman making it on her own for 40 plus years…and a hard working career spent constantly on her feet at Safeway for 26 years…life and death as it must be….she has weathered it all. And all more gracefully than I could ever hope to and with an attitude of optimism…always finding that often over looked Silver Lining. I’m glad I got her as my Mom.
Strong as she is internally…my Mom has also tried to stay fit in her retirement. It can be a challenge. I know first hand. I’m built like her…and she has always been a damn good cook. Much like her…I’m shorter in stature by a bit over an inch in the last decade…measuring in at a towering and intimidating to baby fawns… 5 foot 6 inches tall. Barely. And, insult to injury, my feet are now wider and flatter. Yes, we are the shorty pops in the Guice Family…and it’s just fine by me. As I relate to my Mom’s stature and general being, I have been elated to observe and hear about her life as a Gym Bunny in retirement. She says she feels so much better when she exercises, so I encourage her to do so as often as she can and will. It makes a huge difference in her physical self, as well as her inner self and happiness quotient. She has been a member of the Monterey Sports Center, where she and her ‘Italian Friend’, Diane (They bootleg Limoncello together at the Holidays. I ‘m giving her bail money this year, most likely…) were gym regulars.
At 84 years old…my Mom loves to work out! And I am so proud of her for staying strong…for staying in the game…and for being the Mom that she is to me. So, again….Happiest of Birthdays to you, Mom! And as I always want to support and encourage you to be fit and healthy and ‘strong like bull’…..please click on the link below and to the right of your picture. Your Membership will be ready and waiting for you by noon tomorrow (Thank you to Buck & Chris for pointing me in the right direction). I hope you use it fully and that my brothers and I have you strong and here with us for many more years to come! (oh hell…what am I saying? She’s made it this far…she’ll probably outlive us all. A son can dream can’t he?) I love you, Mom…and I’ll see YOU…at the Gym! T.