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Trip down memory lane as Mom celebrates 90

By Staff | Feb 26, 2010

Opening the cedar chest in our bedroom, I retrieved the stack of harvested fabrics representing my childhood and beyond. The bright, bold navy blue, red and carnation pink polk-a-dot fabric that was the first summer jumper my mother had sewn for me. Another was the color of tomato soup with crisp white Chinese figures she used to make me a pair of pajamas. Beneath this a dusty plum with black plaid design which was a remnant from one of her maternity top she wore while carrying me. Next was the purple violet fabric from my Grandmother Lydia. Then came a cluster of bright pink peonies with green leaves-this was a summer dress for Mom. A modern swirl of mustard, black and grey double knit-this top introduced me to the Frisbee. The red, white and blue striped fabric was a from the two piece dress she wore to my high school graduation. Each piece of the collected cloth evoked another memory of Mom.

How is it that a son connects deeply to his mother? Is it by her abiding and never failing love, her encouragement, or perhaps her voice of care? Maybe it was the first time she shared a Bible story, a poem or the busy afternoon she made time to walk you to a field to catch the first crocus of spring. Was it the friendly invitation to cook and create in the kitchen? Could it be the time you passed her bedroom and found her reading her Bible, maybe it was the tears that came as she stood over her mother’s grave on Memorial Day. Or was it the time she told you “keep your chin up.” For me, it was all of the above and many, many more.

My Mother celebrated her 90th birthday last week and in her honor my dad, my four brothers and our families hosted an open house. I knew I wanted Mom’s birthday celebration to be special, and I also wanted it to have a theme. Therefore, a ladies pump became the symbol of her special day. On her invitation was a cutwork pump stating that mom was “Stepping up to 90,” and “in her honor, with a parade of pink and her silver service, come and celebrate the day with her.”

I have always appreciated parties that have a theme and a planned color scheme. The color scheme was easy as pink as always been my mom’s favorite color, and next to that red. A confirmed pack rat, I never toss anything that may flirt with my imagination. A stack of vintage fabrics, and a mountain of masonite were the key ingredients for centerpieces of success.

As my scroll saw began to cut 90 pumps, I knew this was going to great. Of course, it’s the extra ingredients of a big buckle, a curvy heel, a flourish here, a look alike Jimmy Choo, that made these pumps kick up their heels. Once all the vintage fabrics and others were glued to these shoes, I admit I had created a bit of my very own Prada. The stands were fashioned from a two by four from Rugby Lumber. I knew Jim and the boys would need a bit of encouragement for this project so I showed up armed-with a homemade almond cake! True to form, they cut 90 shoe pump stands that had the gathered party souls buzzing with delight.

The program centered on my mom stepping up each stage of her life: daughter, nurse, bride, mother, grandmother and now stepping with grace to assisted living at the Turtle Lake Memorial Hospital. We held her celebration at the fellowship hall of the Trinity Lutheran Church which is located across the street. Pastor Betty Stedman, along with the congregation, has an outreach program for residents of long term care. Mom so enjoys being part of this outreach.

A fun and delicious white cake with pink polka dots was the centerpiece for the serving table. Joining in arrangement were ham spread on pumpernickel bread, spritz heart shaped cookies with pink rose buds and green leaves, flat bread, lemon bars, cranberry salad, krumkake, vegetable tray, punch and coffee. Our selection featured family favorites-some which were often made by mom. As you make your list of delights for a party, it is always good to consider your guests, and also the guest of honor. We knew there would be several little grandchildren so naturally we had to have scotcheroos. However, I did see many of them enjoying ham spread and krumkake as well.

Many of the serving pieces used at this party had been used at mom and dad’s wedding and family celebrations over the years. It is a tradition that I feel makes your party very special, especially when you look back on the treasured photographs of these days. You see familiar dishes that have been part of family celebrations for generations.

It is, however, the supreme importance of family and friends that mom and all of us will treasure from this day. All of our work endeavors, creative ideas, photographs, singing, planning, sharing of family heirlooms and even ham spread with carrots, can’t overshadow the importance of family. Mom has set the example by spending her energy on loved ones and making them the core, and on this day her investment in love and caring certainly had an abundantly stimulating homecoming.

Repnow is a Rugby resident.

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