Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Congratulations to Fontaine and Maxine!

Fontaine and Maxine are parents. Baby Lilliana Kaia Sydney Denton was born Sept. 29 and weighs 8 lbs., 7 oz.. The little family is in England, with Maxine's family. Fontaine sent some pictures that are so precious that I actually gasped when I opened his email. Lilly is a beautiful baby. What an amazing time for them. I added a link to Fontaine's new blog, towards the bottom of the page, on the right. Check it out and read about his new job. There will probably be baby pictures up on it soon. I sent him an email asking if I can post some of the pictures he emailed. Details forthcoming ...
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Put on a helmet

Hey! Set an example, Grampa! What do the grandkids call you? Buzz Buzz?
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Uncle Nick and ... Nana?

We need to think up a cute grandmother name for Mona! I knew a grandmother named Cupcake once. And a Woofie. Let's come up with something original. If Jerry goes with Buzz Buzz, Mona could be Honey Bee...
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Saturday, September 27, 2008

Happy Birthday, Mary Beth!

Last, but certainly not least. Mary Elizabeth, seemingly unassuming and often quiet, is a powerhouse. No more the Mary who couldn't choose an item on the menu for lack of decisiveness. No more the kid sister who would quietly make a joke that went unnoticed until someone repeated it and everyone laughed. She's all grown up, a new lawyer, the mother of two boys, a new wife. I used to feel, when we were together, that I was the tough one, the one who led the way. No more. In the last few years I've trailed along, amazed with her assertiveness and strength. She accomplishes a million tasks a day, never seems to tire until she falls asleep suddenly, almost mid-sentence. But you know what? Paradoxedly (pardoxically? paradoxilly? Whatever.), she's still my little sister that I love and want to protect - sensitive, sweet, funny, loyal. Mary is my sister and the one friend who totally understands. Everything.
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An acquired taste

Poor child didn't have a chance. They were plying her with alcohol while merely a babe. I think we were with the Kirkpatricks when this picture was taken. What with the sizes of our two families, it was easy for Jimmy to slip Mary a glass of champagne unnoticed. She didn't take to it right away but got over that soon enough. There's another picture of Mary, three or four, wearing a one piece blue bathing suit, hand on hip, head back, preparing to take a drag on a cigarette. Again, and I know it seems like I pick on Jimmy all the time, provided by Jimmy. For all I know, he wasn't even there, but when I look at the picture, it screams "Jimmy."
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I've seen this many times

Bill and Mary, talking on the porch, at Fowl River. Bartlett in the background. There was just something about that porch that beckoned. I know we can all remember how that felt.
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No set of pictures of Mary would be complete without these two from a series of three that Jerry took of us, at the River. They're such classics that Jerry has, or used to have, 8 x 10s of them framed, on his wall.
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Those were the days...

Back when people thought I was funny. Unfortunately, I'm pretty sure it was humor at someone else's expense.
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Oldest to the youngest with one in-between

Jerry, Mom, Michael, Dad and Mary. VMI graduation?
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1980


Mary, Terry, me and Michael. We helped silkscreen these tee shirts. I think Michael and Terry did all the work. As usual. Mary and I stood around and talked and acted helpless. We had fun, a bunch of kids crammed into a little car (Mom's Celica?) on a campaigning road trip. Visited Andalusia, a trucking company in Evergreen (the owner was one of Dad's supporters. I still see the trucks, bearing the town's name, on the freeway sometimes), passed out leaflets at a shopping center. Terry provided the details this morning. As usual, all I remember is that someone hosted a tea for us in some small town and there was a buffet! And, I remember the trucking company. And that Joe Wilson's daughter, Angela, was dating Michael at the time, and was with us. She kept us laughing with her outrageous comments (and her relentless, amorous attacks on Michael) about spending her Daddy's "dirty dog track money." She reminded me a lot of my friend, Stacy.
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A bundle of joy

Doesn't she look just scrumptiously cuddly?
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Maury and Mary

It's easy to see why the nieces and nephews love her. As I've said, my kids love her so much that they named a succession of box turtle pets after her. This was a really fun night at the River. Notice how those curtains suggest the movement of water - kind of shimmery blue waves. That's why Mom picked them. Or that's why the decorator suggested them and she okayed them.
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Seeing me off...

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Finally...

I have a sister. And, what a comfort and joy she is.
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Mary, Denton, Mike and Bartlett

I got to drive with Mary and her family from Atlanta to their wedding in North Carolina. It felt like an adventure and Cracker Barrel was one of the highlights.
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Mike has brought the boogie to the family!


Mike is the nicest guy ever and I'm truly grateful that he's come into the family and that he makes Mary smile. Also pictured, L-R, Maury, David with camera, and Ben.
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Mary, Caroline and Micah

Posted by PicasaCan you see why, this same weekend, Mary got carded in the grocery store line? Two different grocery stores. One of the checkers, when asked how old she thought Mary was, guessed 19. Only a couple of decades off. Okay, Mary, I know that the shelf life for this story has expired. Even though it'll be years before I recover, this is the last time I'll tell it. In your presense, at least. At least the story went out with a bang where everyone in the world, with internet access, can read it. Don't despair... the viewers are few. Although, I want to note that Kim, whose birthday I totally missed this month, posted a message while this edition of the blog was still in progress.

At her side...

when Mom christened the USS Mobile Bay. Twenty three years later, when Mom was in the hospital, Mary was at her side, unflinching and constant and I admired her so much for it.
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Atypical

I think this was taken by a newspaper photographer which is why we look unusually civilized. I'm pretty sure this is the first time and last time Jerry daintily sipped from a teacup. I love this picture because it preserves the memory of the kitchen in our Watergate house. And, the sunlight is shining on our little Mary. A more typical scene is reflected in the cassette tape that Jerry surreptiously slipped into the centerpiece that recorded the bickering din and clanking silverware of mealtime. I bet Mom kept that tape and hope it surfaces some day. (In a side note: when I was viewing this picture on the blog, I was stunned at how much Jerry looks like Jimmy. Do y'all see that?)
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Sisters at The Kitchen Table

It makes me feel better to look at this and realize that it's not only recently that Mary and I began to look so far apart in age! Mom bought this heavy, old oak table at a junk shop in Oceana, back when Oceana was basically an intersection en route to the base. Helen Sullivan (my French Godmother, who came to Mom's funeral, still looking beautiful and proud, at over 80 years old) painted the flowers on it. The table, too, is still beautiful and proud. As a matter of fact, Mary's showing her pride and beauty in this picture, too.
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The two girls

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Front and center

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Two Mothers, two babies

I don't need to tell any of you the special place Mary held in Mom's heart, even when she became a big girl.
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Feeling Sassy

Remember when I told you about the hydrangeas on Watergate Lane? There they are, in all their glory, behind this mischievous little girl.
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Is this our house? I don't remember that piece of furniture.
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