Saturday, February 23, 2013

Welcome Home, You Need Not Be Blue Any more!

Blue were the skies and blue were your eyes
just like the blue skirt you wore.
Come back, blue lady come back.
Don't be blue anymore.

Blue Skirt Waltz

Basic shyness often hinders expression of emotions--deep feelings. My Dad was a shy man! At times, I am convinced that he had difficulty outwardly expressing what he inwardly felt -- very deeply felt.

My Mom was not shy! Sometimes it was obvious that she "wore her heart on her sleeve", and she certainly could be outspoken, perhaps even brazen. Mom cried readily. When Mom was filled with emotion, whether that emotion was sad or happy, the mode of expression was often with tears.
And to me, it seems totally probable that these two opposites would and could be attracted to one another.

Over the past few years for Mount Michael Abbey's table reading at our evening meal, we have listened to several books that deal with WWII. The two books that really stand our for me would be: The Best Generation, by Tom Brokaw and Unbroken by Laura Hillenbrand.               .

While I must admit that I have really enjoyed these books, hearing these true stories about individuals that were involved in WWII is emotional for me. The stories are very similar to the stories of my Mom & Dad. At times, I think there is a novel in me that is crying to be written. And the two main characters would be my Mom & Dad. However, suffice it for now that their story is just an ancedote on my blog.

For both Mom & Dad music, singing and dancing were important aspects of life. My Mom sang alot -- it was her way of lulling us children to sleep. She had a good voice. My Dad could sing as well. But remember, he was shy. He did not outwardly sing like my Mom did.

My Mom loved to dance! When she was a young girl she took tapping dancing lessons from one of her teachers. I am relatively sure that this teacher eventually became her sister-in-law-- Mildred Paulson, who became Mildred Borer-- Dennis Borer's wife. Dennis would be one of Mom's older brothers. Recently I came in possession of photos of Mom's family that I have never seen before. Below is a photo of my mother
either twirlling her dress or the wind had just caught it right to show the moment. I prefer to think of it as a little dance.
Some years ago when I was involved with doing musicals with Marian High School in Omaha, I came in contact with teachers from Marian who were teaching dance. I decided to ask about tapping dance and tap shoes. Sure enough, I was able to get some tap shoes. So that Christmas our family surprised my Mom with a pair of tap shoes. At the family Christmas gathering, I got her to put these shoes on, and she gave us a bit of tapping dance show. It was great to actually see this after she had talked it about it for so many years. The only problem with it was -- her breathing. Mom suffered from terrible asthma in her later years and the wind that was needed to really tap dance was not exactly available for her. But as the photos show, she did dance and she could make those shoes tap!

Dad played the accordion. I have no idea where he first had gotten an accordion, but I do know that he played for some wedding dances. I understand that he played for my Aunt Claire's wedding dance. Claire was one of my Mom's younger sisters.

One Christmas my Dad, too, was surprised with a new accordion-- a button accordion. My oldest sister, Sally, found one for him. It was not really easy for him to pick up playing again. He had always played by ear and not by notes-- I am sure he could not read notes, but he could play. He complained about this accordion being so different than the one he had played on years ago.

There are some pictures below of Dad playing the accordion.

Perhaps one of the favorite pieces of music that Dad liked to play would be a waltz. Although he liked to play polkas as well, I think that he preferred a waltz. I know he preferred to waltz in regard to dancing. So as I grew up, I will always remember the: The Blue Skirt Waltz.

Also recently I have come to discover some details about a blue dress-- perhaps not really a blue skirt, but a blue dress.

There is a famous photo of my Mom on her wedding day. The photo is of her and her two bridesmaids. They are my Mom's sisters--Rita and June. Rita is wearing a blue dress and June has a pink dress.

Although the color is a bit faded, it is clear that there is a blue dress here. Again this is one of Mom's wedding photos. She and Dad were married on January 3rd, 1945. Dad was home on a furlough and shortly after their wedding he was sent to the European front of the war. He was at the famous Battle of the Bulge and then after that he was sent to Japan after the bomb was dropped. Below is Mom & Dad on their wedding day -- January 3, 1945.

Of course, the war was over and there was not really danger in Japan like there was on the European front, but he was anxious to be back home with his newly married wife. Recently, I came across one of Dad's letters to his mother while he was in Japan. The letter was written in 1946-- January 1st. The letter is in very good shape and is very legible. He expresses his anxiousness to come home and there is a moving prayer that he reproduces for his mother. But it is obvious that he is also speaking to his wife, my mother, Sally. At one point in the letter he expresses how BLUE he is. But then he quickly recovers and says that he is making the best of it for he certainly cannot give up now.

I did not know this until recently, but that blue dress would come back into the picture of things. There were two weddings in my Mom's family that year -- 1945. Mom's wedding was in January and her sister's (Rita's) wedding was in the same year of 1945, but in December. And yes, some of the same dresses were worn, most likely because they could not afford others. This time my Mom was in the blue dress. My Mom was one of the bridesmaids for Rita's wedding and she wore blue.

Below is Rita and Jim Daly's wedding photo.

Since reading Dad's letter written on New Year's Day, 1946, I hardly think that he was home for Rita and Jim's wedding to see his wife dressed in blue. I am sure that there was a dance on that evening of Rita and Jim's wedding, but I am not even sure that The Blue Skirt Waltz was played and danced that night. But I do know that Mom loved to dance and Dad loved The Blue Skirt Waltz. I can't imagine that they are not dancing regularly in the blue heavens now!! And Dad you never will be blue again! Welcome home for you have Mom forever now!

You were the beautiful lady in blue...

I was in heaven just waltzing with you!

And we danced in a world of blue.

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