Saturday, December 24, 2016

Happy Birthday Mom!

My Mom Betty Hadfied Tipton with her dog "Nancy", 1963

Today would have been my Mother's 93rd birthday.  

Yes, she was a Christmas Eve Baby. 

All my life I will think of December 24th as my Mother's birthday, Christmas Eve second.

My Mother as a young girl with her two older brothers, George, Jr and Randall and her doll, which she told us that after this photo was taken they tore the head off of her doll.  Life wasn't easy for Mom. - 1928

Not to give you the life history of my Mother (which I've already done numerous times in this blog), but she had a difficult childhood. Her Mother died before she was two years old.  

My Mother looking at a photo of her Mother, the first time she saw this photo which was supplied by a cousin
She often told us that growing up her birthday present (which wasn't much, maybe an orange in a stocking) was always presented to her as "this is your Christmas present too."  Thus, I always made sure to give my Mother a separate birthday card and birthday present wrapped in birthday paper.

Mom with her granddaughters Dawn and Karen - wrapping those Christmas presents - 1976

My Mother died six years ago.  When she died I felt like I lost part of me.  We were that close for most of our lives. Oh sure, the last year of her life was difficult for her and me and my brothers when she began to lose her mental facilities and was frail and often angry.  But for most of her life she literally was the best Mom my brothers and I could have had.  

Me with Mom when things began to become difficult - but me and my brothers took care of her. We kept her out of the dreaded nursing home, unlike her two older sisters who ended up in nursing homes.  We promised her and we kept our promise.

Oh I know a lot of gay guys say that their Mom was the best but I'm telling you, I won the lottery with my Mom. 

Me with my two cousins and Mom sitting down in the center in front (in pink) visiting her older sister Jeanette (to the right in blue) in the nursing home. Mom's other other older sister (red hair with cane) also ended her time in a nursing home. Every time we visited her sister my Mom said "Don't put me in one of these."  I am standing with my cousin Elaine who is the daughter of Aunt Jeanette and my cousin Jack who was (he has since died) the sone of my Aunt Grace (the woman with the cane).  The woman sitting next to Aunt Grace is Jack's wife Arlene. Photo was taken at Simpson Meadows, Downingtown, PA 2005.  Seems like just a few years ago but it was actually eleven years ago.  All three sisters have died.

Growing up I thought all kids had Moms like we had.  When I became an adult and out into the world and made friends outside my localized sphere, I discovered not all gay guys and straight guys had wonderful moms. I have to admit I had trouble processing that information.  I just couldn't compute.  How can anyone grow up without a Mom that wasn't like mine?

Mom with "her boys", which is what she always called us - 1953
I'm reading a book now called "Hillbilly Elegy."  As you know I'm half a hillbilly (on my father's side, Mom came from Quaker stock).  The writer of the book had a terrible mother.  His father was not in the scene.  He credits his success in getting out of the depressed hillbilly culture to his grandmother, with whom who he lived.  

I credit my Mother for both my success and my two brothers' success in life.  Without her I just cannot imagine where we would be today.  

My father was in the scene but didn't really want to have anything to do with us kids.  Early on he "catted around."  My Mother didn't leave him.  She kept the family together and she laid the law down to him. 

My Mom and Dad - young and in love 1942

Unlike the protagonist in "Hillbilly Elegy", my Mother didn't leave my father and get married five times, thus creating a chaotic home life for "her boys."  We were always her first priority.  And of course she loved our father but she always made sure her boys were safe and secure.  Now that doesn't mean she spoiled us, oh no.  We weren't given allowances or showered with gifts.  Too poor for that plus she didn't believe in spoiling her boys.  But what she did do was give us a sense of responsibility and respect. And for that I am forever grateful as are my brothers.  We all loved her unconditionally, even when she became difficult at the end of her life.

Me with my brothers John and Isaac and Mom during a photo shoot appointment at J. C. Penney's - the last time all of us were together

Happy birthday Mom. You will always live in our hearts and, hopefully, one day we will be reunited again and laugh together as we often did during our wonderful, long life together.

My Mom - 1947


Linda said...

How lucky to have had a wonderful Mother! I am happy you have so great memories of her. Take care. You and Bill have a wonderful Christmas.

Jon said...

What a fantastic post, Ron - - a joy to read on Christmas Eve and a wonderful tribute to your Mom. It brought back memories of my own Mother, who died shortly before Christmas in 2009. They are always in our hearts - - the memories remain forever.

pat888 said...

Hey Ron - your posts about your family are heartwarming. I bet your mom was great. But I've got to tell you - mine was terrific too1 Very, very similar to yours in many ways. And my brother and I are living proof of how well she raised us.


Anonymous said...

I thought of you just now and if you were at the Hotel tonight after talking with my parents at the Holiday Inn Express in Rocky Mount Va. With a quite evening around here I do need to scroll thru last week for my dose of Ron.

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