Friday, May 08, 2009

Happy Mother's Day

My mother passed away over nine years ago. There is not a day that goes by that I don't missed her. "Harrietisms" pop out of my mouth a few times a day and they still make me laugh.
I have turned into my mother. I don't mind.

At my mothers funeral, I delivered the eulogy. Her friends would ask me, how did you do that? It must have been so hard. To tell you the truth, it was not hard at all. I wrote it hastily on a piece of paper around midnight before her funeral mass. They say you should write about what you know. Well, I knew Harriet. I took the words right from peoples comments at the funeral home.

Here is what I came up with:

Everyone has a Harriet story. Today, I'm going to mention a few that I heard over the last few days. At least the ones I can repeat in church.

There are four things my mom loved in this world.
1. Her Husband
2. Her Kids
3. Her Grand kids
4. Layaway
Not necessarily in that order.

She seemed to always make scenes in front of priests---Father, you know what I'm talking about don't you?

My Mother NEVER held a grudge.

She was a "child bride"

I believed that the gray streak in her hair was paint until I was 21.

She had hundreds of good times in Conneaut throughout her life. And who will ever forget the infamous "fall under the car"

She went to weight watchers and stopped after every meeting at Eat'n Park for a strawberry sundae.

She was responsible for getting all the guys at Quincy's Pub to quit swearing and watch The Guiding Light.

I guess now my sister and I have to learn how to hang and wash curtains.

She was the only person I know who believed OJ was innocent.

She was constantly telling my father he was hard of hearing when she couldn't hear herself.

She believed there was nothing like a good night at Zalewski's.

She honestly believed the Devinney boys were angels.

We were all sworn to secrecy about how she looked in a bathing suit.

How many times have we all heard my father yell "Good God Harriet"

She was every ones Aunt Harriet. Now even her great nieces and nephews friends call her Aunt Harriet.

You see, she wasn't just a Green or a Quinlan. She was a Devinney, a McGregor, a Gallagher, and an Olzak. She was a Piezak, a Flannery, a Neuch, and a Slemenda. She was part of everyones family.

I always thought if ones wealth is measured by friends instead of money, mom was a multi-millionaire.

I want to thank everyone here for being such good friends to her.

One of the nicest things I've heard over the past few days came from one of our old neighbors. This woman lived next door to us for about two years when she was 7 years old. She was now in her late 40's. When she read about mom's passing in the newspaper, she came to the funeral home because she just wanted us to know what a difference my mother had made in her life in the few short years they were neighbors. They were neighbors 35 years ago!!!

I want to leave you all today with one last thought. There is no need to worry about missing my mother. All of my life I've been told that my mother will never be dead as long as I'm alive. That surely is the best compliment I've ever been told in my life. If I can be half the person she was, or have half the amount of friends in my life then I'll die a millionaire too.

Harriet Green Quinlan
Dec. 14, 1929 - January 19, 2000

As we say in the Quinlan Family: "Be dood to yo muddel Modwet". (Translation: Be Good To Your Mother Margret) Happy Mothers Day.

*Note: The woman I mentioned above who said my mother made such a difference, we lived next door to them when her little brother was dying of polio. My mother helped her mom while he was sick. Jimmy died when he was 5. My father was a pal bearer.


Judi said...

Absolutely beautiful. You're ruining my Friday night makeup! But, I don't's a good reminder for me to stop at CVS tomorrow for some waterproof stuff so when I go to visit my mom at Calvary, I'll look good even after I shed those tears. My childhood friend sent me a pix of my mom in an email the other day that she scanned in (I need to get a scanner!). I'll probably post it on my blog on Sunday. Wouldn't our moms get a kick out of the fact that their pictures are on computers?
BTW--that outfit your mom has on in the pix--I'm positive my mom wore that exact one. She and her ISDA crowd were always having luaus!
Your mom is proud of you Eileen....I know it!
Yes, this was a beautiful post!
Happy Mother's Day!
(and I sure do hope your house is clean when you wake up on Sunday!)

Kathy said...

I agree with Judi, that was such a wonderful tribute to your Mother. She would be proud to have you as her daughter. I think if one of my children ever spoke about me that way I would be thrilled. I'm sure you miss her terribly. The biggest tribute you can give her is to be like her. Happy Mother's Day to you too.

Eileen, Founder, Organizer, Mayor and Chief Cook And Bottle Washer of the Anger Management Girls. said...

Thank you both. And about the outfit, as my mother would say "you can borrow my coconuts, but guard them with your life!

And You are right Judi, she would get such a kick out of this blog. Truth be told, I could devote a whole blog just to "Harriet"

Right before she died, I put an old photo of her for her 70th birthday in the Post Gazette. She was ready to kill me until an old friend called her after he saw the paper. He hadn't seen her for 55 years so he called her when he saw her pic in the paper. She was so thrilled.

zelzee said...

What a great post and tribute to your mother!

I cracked up at the photo with the coconuts! What a special person. Aren't you the lucky one to have all those marvelous memories!!!

Irishembi said...

I'm pretty sure my Grandma had that same coconut bra. In fact, I'll bet Dolores and Harriet would have been best of friends. We used to say in our family she could go to town on the streetcar and come home with three new friends.

That's a nice tribute to your Mom and it's good to know she lives on in you!