Mom? Scandalous?

Mom? Scandalous?

Scandalous runs in my family.  It goes back for generations. In this fuzzy 1973 snapshot of a few well-mannered, if giddy, English family members, the layers of unheard of behavior would make your hair curl!

The woman in the middle: my grandmother. Born in Santiago Chile in 1901, married an Englishman who worked for the BBC.  During WWII her husband would leave my grandmother and these two then-infants and return to England.

Once the borders re-opened after VE Day, these three journeyed by steamship back to England to find that Dad had started another family.  But Granny was a devout converted Catholic (which was a bit daring in those days in England) and refused to grant him a divorce. Scandalous individuality. Granny endured, raising these two jokers on her own, huddled as a team, relying on the structure of the Catholics to provide teaching, love and even housing for her children.

The one on the right is Mom.  She was also born in Santiago Chile, but was mostly raised in England by her single mother and Catholic Boarding School nuns.  She would grow up to find herself in Chicago Illinois at 19, married to Handsome Don at 21 and continue to rely on the Catholic Church for inside support.  See, she too would decide to forgive and even embrace her husband of 20 years, who like her father, dishonored his wife in many rotten ways, and left her alone. Every day she turned her needs over to God and drew from a wellspring of strength winding back hundreds of years.

The world wanted them both to be furious at the treatment they got from their husbands. (um, including me). Instead, they chose to move on, keep their character, and laugh as often as the opportunity presented itself. To this day, Mom and her brother laugh all the time.  

Joy-full is a predetermined way of life.  Trials come, they choose joy.

Uncle Michael, on the left, turned out to be pretty scandalous, too.  He married a woman who was near to succumbing to cancer.  He married Pat, ready to care for her seven children when her diseased body gave in all too soon.

In the moments just before this picture was captured, I imagine he’d just cracked a joke that only the three of them would appreciate, either because it was particularly British or because it struck something from deep in their experiences of a journey decidedly more thrilling than we spoiled Americans would understand.


I celebrate Mom.  And Her Mom.

The more I grow, the more amazing they get.




  1. Ray
    May 9, 2012

    Great story, your Mom is my idol – when she was born, they threw the mold away!

  2. Elana
    May 16, 2012

    So wonderful to meet your mom the other morning. What an interesting life she has and such a big heart.

    • Suzy
      May 16, 2012

      Hi Elana!
      It was great to share her with you!

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