Nothing says summer like a three day holiday weekend. Even if it is the last one of the season, Labor Day weekend still lift’s our spirits like no other. It beckons families to take advantage of the final opportunity to party together before September, brings a halt to those crazy, hazy, lazy days and the kids return to school.
All across America families are enjoying parades, baseball games, picnics on the beach and of course, back yard barbecues!
While I am working on my book, “Unforgettable (Trudy’s Story)” I am flooded with childhood memories of summer fun growing up with my “one of a kind” mother.
Labor Day weekend brings one very distinct memory to mind. My parents had been invited to a wedding. For the life of me, I can’t remember who it was that was getting married. Whether it was a cousin or a family friend, I’m just not sure. Fortunately, whose wedding it was has no real bearing on this story.
What I DO remember about this particular nuptial event was that it interfered with our weekend plans. My parents had been hoping (as was our tradition) to take us away for a final summer fling. We would usually head Up-State New York where we would check into a Holiday Inn to enjoy the mountains, the pool and of course, mom would have three days off without cooking or cleaning! However this year, the plans were canceled in lieu of the wedding.
I was to babysit for my three younger sisters while my parents went off to the celebration. It was an afternoon wedding so they wouldn’t be home late. Not that it mattered, I was about fifteen or sixteen years old, had been assisting with the kids for more than half my life and was extremely responsible. My parents knew that the girls were in very good hands.
Although the calendar may have been telling us that summer was over, the temperature begged to differ. In spite of the oppressive heat wave, my parents looked cool, calm and very dashing. My dad had opted for his dove gray silk suit and my mother wore a beautiful off the shoulder gown with a sweetheart neckline and an empire waste. They looked to me to be something out of a storybook, as they bid us kids’ farewell and headed on their way.
After dinner the mercury was still reading in the low nineties, so my sisters and I slipped into our bathing suits and took a dip in the above the ground pool that my dad had put up in our yard. My youngest sister Sharon was only a toddler so I was swinging her around in her little inflatable tube while Janice and Theresa swam about taking turns calling out for me to watch any number of water tricks they thought they had mastered. About seven thirty in the evening, just as I was planning to get the girls out of the pool and ready for bed, my parents arrived home.
They came strolling into the yard hand-in-hand. My mom was holding her elegant silver sandals in her free hand and the pair looked very happy to be home.
“How was the wedding?” I called out from the pool.
“Hot!” answered my mother. “Very, very hot!”
It seems that most of the reception had been arranged to be outdoors assuming that the weather would have been more cooperative. My parents were hot, tired and very happy to be home.
My mom came over to the side of the pool and stuck her hand into the water.
“Oh that feels divine,” she said with a sigh. Then laughing she added, Make room for mommy, I’m coming in.”
We all laughed because she almost never came into the pool. Even on the hottest, stickiest of days, she always seems to maintain her cool and would sit outside, under the umbrella, sipping an iced tea as she watched her children romp around in the water.
“Why are you laughing?” She asked us kids.
I explained that we were all quite aware of the fact that she was not much of a water person. I felt it had a lot to do with her not wanting to damage her perfect hairstyle or destroy her flawless make-up.
She put her hands on her hips in indignation and proclaimed that she was not a “fuss pot!” In her effort to drive home the message she even added, “I’m so hot I would even dive in just like this!”
Even my dad had to laugh now. Outraged, my mom turned to him and asked, “What are YOU laughing at?”
“Let’s face it Trudy,” he replied, “This isn’t an Ester William’s movie. You won’t emerge from the water with a fully dry gown and a bunch of sparklers twinkling around you. You’ll just be a woman, who doesn’t like to be unkempt, in a very expensive waterlogged dress. That’s not you”
We kids giggled at the description.
“So, you all think you know me so well, do you?” my mother demanded as she slowly made her way up the ladder to the pool. When she reached the top of the ladder she sat down on the step. She had her gown lifted around her knees and she asked her children, “If I DID jump into the pool in my gown, what would you do?”
“Laugh our heads off!” one of the girls replied.
With that, she yelled “Make way for mommy!” and jumped into the water with a splash.
Dad was stunned, as was I, and the girls became hysterical with laughter,
“Mom, you ruined your beautiful gown!” I said, still in total surprise.
“Yes, but I made ya laugh!” she answered as she playfully splashed water my way.
My dad went into the house to get her a towel still shaking his head in disbelief. As she laid back onto one of the girls inflatable floats, I said to her, “I still can’t believe you would ruin your gown!”
“C‘est la vie” she replied. “Summer’s over. Where else was I going to wear it?”
Now granted when I say my mother was wearing a gown, we’re not talking about high-end couture. But you have to understand, having to save for that gown on a blue collar income, it was probably more expensive per capita, then for a wealthy woman to be dripping in Chanel. Still to make her children laugh, it was throughly worth the investment for my mom.
Hope your Labor Day weekend creates wonderful memories for you to look back on.
Until next time,