Monday, June 9, 2008

Remembering Mom

Memorial Day found us in Idaho, visiting my childhood home and my mother's grave. The headstone had been installed the week before.

Born Melba Darlene Stoddart, she always hated her first name, and went by Darlene. Karianne is named after her. I remember mom saying once how everybody names sons after fathers, but nobody thinks to name daughters after mothers. When I was pregnant with Karianne, we decided to add Darlene as a middle name as a tribute to my mom. We also named Susan after Tom's mother, Marjorie. I think it's cool, and my daughters agree.

Speaking of middle names, I always wanted one (which is partly why I gave middle names to my own daughters). When I complained to mom about it, her reply went something like this: "When you get married, you'll have a third name, and can use your maiden name as your middle if you like. If you're like me, who started out with three names, and then picked up a name with each marriage, you end up with entirely too many names."

And that was that. My suggestion that we could go before a judge and add a sweet middle name like "Marie" or "Christine" was unceremoniously dismissed. Of course, she dubbed me with many nicknames. Over the course of my childhood, I answered to such appellations as "Liza June" and "Monsterella" and "You Little Bugger!". Very rarely did she call me "Lisa" unless I was in trouble. Of course, without a middle name, I couldn't tell the difference between being in a little bit of trouble and being in REALLY BIG TROUBLE. That would have been useful a time or two. Knowing when to run and hide could have saved me a few spankings back in the day. Not that I got spanked much. I was a good kid. Really, I was!

But I digress...

On the back of the headstone is the list of her children.

Yep, I'm the caboose. My oldest sister, DeAnn was 16 when I was born, and Peggy was 10. So I was waaaaay the youngest.

Seeing my own name on a headstone got me thinking about purchasing cemetery plots. Assuming that Tom and the kids and I live long natural lives, the day when we'll need such a thing is in the distant future. I don't even know where we would want to be buried. If I buy land in our current town's cemetery, what's to say we'll be living here 40 years from now? Even if we were, is this where we want to be buried?

Weird thoughts, indeed. Maybe we'll look into buying a few plots in Idaho, where land is still cheap. Or, maybe we'll just hope that the millennium will come before we die, and then cemeteries will be obsolete anyway.

I think I like that solution best.


  1. And she was called beasty, muggins, Lisa June, Leesel, about anything that came to my mind. And she was/is a good kid.

    Being the caboose that she is, I'm the caboose of my family. My 89 year old sister died and in the funeral line, my 84 and 82 yr old brothers and I (72) all nearly white haired, were in a line, and I introduced us as "Hope's little brothers". And I have an 80 yr old brother that couldn't come!

  2. Thank you for sharing the pictures of your Mother's headstone. I think it is beautiful. I love the graceful lines and the asymetrical elegance. It really does make you think of her--she was a very classy woman. And she raised a very fine caboose!