Monday, July 20, 2009


There was a memorial in Kenwood for my mom yesterday at my brother Michael's house. My dad drove me up from the Bay Area. Other family members in attendance were Michael's wife Janelle, Michael's son Joshua, with his wife Joanne and their son Calvin, my sister Karla and her family, husband Tino, Tino's dad and Karla's son Eli. Karla brought the members of a choir she conducts and several people who have helped take care of mom and others over the past few years were there as well. Thanks to everyone who attended and to those who couldn't be there in person but were there in spirit.

Karla handed out folders of keepsakes mom had collected over the years to give to her kids and grandkids. Among the souvenirs in mine was this photo from 1948, seven years before I was born, when my mom worked as a model. Back then, a family newspaper didn't give a second thought about publishing the name and address of a model in the newspaper, and while she looks all grown up, she was sixteen at the time.

It was a different world.

Mom liked it when I sang old fashioned songs, so since this picture comes from seven years before I was born, let me choose a song from seven years before my mom was born. The Jerome Kern-Oscar Hammerstein tune Who? is from the musical Sunny, which was a big hit back in 1925. I searched around on The YouTubes, but I didn't like the versions available, so I'll just publish the lyrics. If you know the song, feel free to sing along.

Who... stole my heart away?
Who... makes me dream all day?
Dreams I know can never come true.
Seems as though I'll ever be blue.
Who... means my happiness?
Who... would I answer yes
To?... Well, you ought to know who.
No one but you.


Anonymous said...

She will love reading your blog today Matty. Very nice!

Margaret Benbow said...

What a beautiful person. Thank you for telling us about her. You must have many, many good memories...the best inheritance.

Dr. Monkey Von Monkerstein said...

Your mom at 16 is very hubba hubba!

Karen Zipdrive said...

Totally hubba hubba.
Tell her to look up my Mom in Heaven...she's a scream.
I feel for you, pal, I really do.

CDP said...

What an adorable picture. She looked like Reese Witherspoon in "Pleasantville".

Mauigirl said...

So sorry about your mom, sounds like it was a lovely memorial.

Matty Boy said...

She was very lovely. The actress she was compared to the most often when she was young was Joanne Woodward.

She was an usherette at the Paramount Theatre in Oakland, and she tells stories about being hit on Xavier Cugat, who had a serious thing for the young girls. As a model, she was sometimes asked to be another person at a dinner table for Hollywood stars when they were in town. She remembers that Roddy McDowall was a perfect gentleman, which corresponds nicely with every other story I've heard about Mr. McDowall from people who knew him more closely.

namastenancy said...

She was a lovely lady and I know that she will be much missed. I thought of you when I read this; it's one of my favorite prayers for the time of mourning.
In the rising of the sun and in its going down,
We remember them.
In the blowing of the wind and in the chill of winter
We remember them.
In the opening of the buds and in the rebirth of spring,
We remember them.
In the blueness of the sky and in the warmth of summer,
We remember them.
In the rustling of the leaves and in the beauty of autumn,
We remember them.
In the beginning of the year and when it ends,
We remember them.
When we are weary and in need of strength,
We remember them.
When we are lost and sick at heart,
We remember them.
When we have joys we yearn to share,
We remember them.
So long as we live, they too shall live,
For they are now a part of us,
As we remember them.

Words from the Book of Jewish Common Prayer.

namaste! n

Tom Degan's Daily Rant said...

Nice tribute to your mom, Matty Boy. You can never go wrong with Jerome Kern:

They asked me how I knew
My true love was true

One of the greatest songs ever written. Oscar Hammerstein was a great lyricist, also.

Condolences to you and yours.

Tom Degan

dguzman said...