I remember Dolores on Mother’s Day

She was a child bride, in all definitions of the word.

Frank and Dolores, 1954?

Frank and Dolores, 1954?

Dolores was 18 when she wed 19-year-old Frank. I’m not sure if the magnificent photo of them above was at her high school prom or my Aunt Marion — my mom’s sister — and Uncle Chet’s wedding. Both would have been a year or so before my parents’ wedding.

I came along a year after, forever the eldest son of a young mom and dad.

Dolores and Frank, circa 1975?

Dolores and Frank, circa 1975?

And that made for an interesting childhood, growing up with them, really, me 8 years old before my sister Fran was born and 10 before kid sister Dory completed the family unit. As I think back now with all my might, now my generation’s job to recall the times in Brooklyn and Levittown and Stony Brook, I seem to remember hush-hushes about several miscarriages between me and Frannie.

Good times, bad times, I knew they had their share. Heard the fights. Unfairly had to referee too many of them.

Mom and Nana, same Christmas as above.

Mom and Nana, same Christmas as above.

The divorce came when I was away at college, and Dolores moved away to Florida with her guy named Lucky. We three kids, 24 and 16 and 14, piled into my new Ford Escort in Maryland and drove non-stop from my place to attend their wedding. My sisters missed her so on Long Island.

When that went wrong, they were thrilled to accept her back north. By then I lived in Syracuse when I heard word of Dolores tying knot No. 3, with her childhood sweetheart another guy who grew up in Brooklyn but had moved to Long Island, Walter.

My mom was really happy with Walter. They were regular visitors upstate to see her first granddaughter, my Elisabeth.

When they arrived, their car was stuffed full with presents for all of us. Too much stuff. Clothes for the kid, and me, and my first wife. Stuff for our house. Toilet paper. Bungee cords. Lamps more eccentric than the Leg on “A Christmas Story.” Stuff that made me raise my eyebrows. Stuff that made me say, mom, slow down. Stuff that made me realize, when visited my mom and Walter’s house on Long Island, that either she or he or both were somewhat of a hoarder as they planned the presents to haul to my house and Fran’s house and Dory’s house.

But she was my mom, you know? Her intentions were nothing but good, I said to myself.

Besides, during my dark times and divorce, Dolores was a pro-Mark ringleader. And all of that stuff certainly helped fill up the trailer I rented up here.

Along I went regaining my stride. Dory became pregnant, due around Thanksgiving, and the family was thrilled that the second baby was coming more than a decade after Elisabeth.

Loving her son.

Loving her son.

Then in June 12 years ago, I got the 2 a.m. call from my brother-in-law Jim. Dolores had died of a heart attack while walking in the lobby of a Connecticut casino with her friend from Levittown, Kitty Dorazio. She was only 65, no previous history, but the paramedics immediately on hand could do nothing to revive her.

Happy Mother’s Day, mom. I know you loved us dearly and showed us every which way you could. I miss you.

Do you have Mother’s Day plans, and if so, what are they? What’s your happiest Mother’s Day memory? What’s your favorite memory about your mom?

84 thoughts on “I remember Dolores on Mother’s Day

  1. Thru all the ups and downs, we are always family. A beautiful tribute to the good times with your Mom. The bad times? Put them in the past where they belong. Tell Karen that I wish her a belated Happy Mother’s Day. I’ve unplugged for a bit, but will return. ๐Ÿ˜‰

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  2. This is such a great story of your mom. You managed to include not only her high points but still with respect and love. I just love this. i’m sorry you lost her so young. I did too.

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  3. Wonderful post about your mom, Mark. You’re able in very few words to paint an interesting and objective portrait of a real person: A complex and flawed human whom you loved deeply and lost too soon.

    A beautiful Mother’s Day tribute to her.

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  4. Wonderful tribute to your mom. Finally, a little unconditional loving without judgement would make us all better and the world a happier place ๐Ÿ™‚
    Thank you !

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  5. I appreciated reading that heart warming family recollection Mark, thank you for sharing that part of your family life and history, a beautiful tribute to your mum, you have a lovely caring heart mate, proud to know you here.
    Emu aka Ian

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  6. You know I love your mom, Mark! I honestly feel like I’ve come to know her from your writing. The part about the stuff…oh my, my paternal grandmother from Scranton is like that. She’s inching toward 100 years old.

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  7. I had read some past stories including some facts about your family, but this one really is a treasure chest full of facts, information and LOVE! I enjoyed the aspects or your running down to the wedding with a car load of siblings, Mark. I also am so glad you all embraced her choices. She sounds a bit like I was, seeing the ‘best’ in each of my 3 choices. I feel she did as best she could, as you mention there was a cheerleader in her for you, I am sure she did this for the others, too.
    I somehow laughed a bit at the story when she brought just about everything but the kitchen sink on her visit to see you, Karen and her grandbaby, Elisabeth. You know what? When you reflect back you may wish a few things to be different but no family has perfect situations, as we realize this more and more, as we grow older and handle our own challenges in life.

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  8. beautiful post M – and that couch photo at the start really grabbed me the most — the dress – the couch – the child bride (my mom was too) – the smiles – the innocence – the love feel – and did I mention that dress (ha! yes i did) – well that dress is just fun. I also love the “loving her son one” – โค and I just read how she sniffed out the bargains – well she and I would have that in common – ever since I was young I felt like the deals found me. ha!

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    • Y the bargain hunter! The things I discover little by little, my friend. ๐Ÿ˜‰ I got that gene from Dolores, I truly admit. I won’t shop at Kohl’s unless my peel-off says 30 percent off. Ha!

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      • well not so much the hunter – but I wisely decide where to get things – if you know what I mean – but it sound sleek you do with the dolores gene.

        even though sometimes time is worth more and if it is on a trip or something – but many things just make sense to get for a bargain – and like you said about Kohl’s – yeah, yeah baby! for us, their surprise in-store sales have really come in handy at Xmas when getting a few gifts for others – like they have those mini bottles of gift perfumes and minty lotions etc – – and I think my hubs bought our keurig there – at 30% off – ha!

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      • Yes, I go for the basic black Crocs, the first models ever out, holes in the front. Most comfy summer sandal shoes I ever had. I’m on my second pair, Y. The first pair I still use as knock-around, and they lasted a decade!

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      • wow – a decade? well we have loved ours over the years – we have had the real ones and some knock off pairs – but the real are better (and obviously your decade proves that) – and I guess these are a technology shoe when you think of it, ya know – whatever that material is – sure is nice.

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      • yeah, but not all knock offs are bad – like I think it was 2009 – but my son had a pair of these light orange ones and they were a tad bit softer than reg crocs – and super durable. I also have a pair I use in the garden (white) that are very similar to crocs, but I think were made for nurses and they are just as good and maybe even better (dare I say that) – they cost about the same as crocs at retail (but of course I got mine on sale – ha!) but not all knock-offs are cheapies – however, the ones from wal-greens for 6 bucks – well those likely will fall apart and have chemicals – who knows – but how cool that you have had yours for a decade –

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      • OK, here’s where I quibble with you, dear Y. And it’s on the semantics of the situation. I only call the cheapies knock-offs. The other good ones, the ones that are durable and last and maybe even better because they’re a little different, and, oh yes retail at the same price but of course you look for the big sale — those are alternate brands. ๐Ÿ˜‰ โค

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      • well you win the quibble – I fully agree – knock offs imply the 6 dollar ones – and the funny thing is that i was even thinking about it after I left the comment – like it felt off – and coming back it confirmed why – so si senor – I like the alternative brands….

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  9. What a sweet image of you and your mom, as well as the red-hued photo of your folks on a couch that reminds me of a similar one (only velveteen), and your Nana’s awesome crocheted shawl on an equally interesting couch. Curious about the eccentric lamps. 65 is sure too young. That’s how old my mom is now. I can’t imagine.

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    • My mother would buy anything she deemed a bargain. The woman sniffed out a lot of 90-percent off items. Or at least that’s what I thought they must have been priced when I took a good look at the design and motif, Kerbey. ๐Ÿ˜ฎ Thanks for appreciating my find of family photos. I knew you would like the one of Dolores and Nana/Chalotte/Tess. ๐Ÿ™‚

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  10. my mum can drive me a little crazy at times but she is right there for me – mums are often like that; our biggest help in times of need. love that your mum was there for you in the tough times.

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  11. It’s a wonderful son/daughter who loves the perfectly imperfect parent Mark. We love our children strongly. Even when we don’t do it “right” or without mistakes anyway. What a great tribute. I love the picture of the picture of the two of you at the bottom. It just says….hey, we love each other. ๐Ÿ™‚

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  12. Sounds like Dolores was a bit lost at times, and shoved into grown up life a tad early, maybe? But look – beautiful you resulted from that. ๐Ÿ™‚ I’m so sorry that you lost your mom so soon Mark. Love your tribute to her. โค
    Diana xo

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  13. Hello Mark. We’ve talked before about the impacts of growing up in a less than Beaver Cleaver environment. And yet with the love of a good mother, most kids grow up to be just fine. Or even better. Like you. Thanks for introducing us to Dolores. That first picture makes me smile. All that tulle and possibility in one image.

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    • I was going through my envelope of photos, and that might be my parents’ wedding day, Barbara. I looked some more after I wrote this, and I have one other in which their attire perhaps looks similar. And the date on the back would be their anniversary! Holy cow!! They’re babies themselves. ๐Ÿ™‚ Thanks so much for sharing this moment with me today, and your kind words of friendship, as always. I hope you are able to make the most of your day with Jen today, my friend.

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      • That is so sweet of you, Mark, to remember my Jen on this day. You are a special one. I found a tremendous amount of understanding for my own parents’ missteps when I realized they were 23 or 24 when certain decisions were made. Sheesh, such kids, as you observe.

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  14. My mother is Cher from Mermaids…if I had to give you a visual. I was Winona Ryder with no hesitation in my admission. Our life mirrored the movie in incredible ways. My mom is still at knockout and she charms everyone with a sincere heart. Your mother showed her love for you, Chum. She raised a great man. Celebrate her memory day. Happy Mother’s Day to Karen. Hugs.

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  15. Pingback: Day 860: M words | The Year(s) of Living Non-Judgmentally

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