a newspaper man adjusts his pen

Monday, June 7, 2010

Mom's things

By Scott Beveridge

WEBSTER, Pa. – The most-difficult part of mom's death is behind us, that being her funeral.

The days are easier to get through, despite the task of fingering through her belongings after everyone else has gone home with what they perceive to be the good stuff. Still, it is bittersweet today to find a colorful box holding memorabilia of her long life.

June Hart Beveridge had made countless scrapbooks over time of the little things that made each of her three sons and five grandchildren special to her. They include receipts from trips to hospitals, and those goofy, embarrassing high school prom portraits. Those things and many others all here for us to ponder and laugh.

But, she never made a scrapbook of her life. It would seem that the contents of this small box are just that.

Atop is a portrait of mom's niece, Denise Iva Hart, as a baby dressed in red. The child's middle name is that of mom's mother, and mom saw a lot of herself in this little girl when she became a woman.

There is a smaller photo of mom's joyous sister, Shirley, holding her baby daughter, Tracy, in our Webster, Pa., back yard in January 1972.  There is another of a shy cousin Brian all alone studying a round object in May 1966 and sharply dressed for the First Holy Communion party for one of Aunt Shirley's other kids. Below that is a sepia antique photo of a sad-looking ancestor, Sarah Hart Morris, dressed in dark from bosom to toe and standing in a flower garden. Around her neck is a delicate, handmade lace collar that makes her appear regal.

I continue to leaf through the contents, only to find a glamorous photo of mom taken about 1950 after she had lost weight and undergone surgery to correct her crossed left eye. It's no wonder her beauty caught the eye of our dad.

Then I stumble on a shot of her smiling about 10 years ago with her right hand on the mouse of her first computer - a blueberry iMac. That computer did more to get her through two bouts of lung cancer and the emphysema that eventually helped to take her life about two weeks ago at age 80.

Sorting through the rest of box will come later. It's not the right time.

Still it's a mystery as to how her life ended up inside something smaller than a shoebox.

Did the same relatives who ransacked her house in the days after the funeral put these things there hoping to retrieve them on their next trip to town? Or did mom sort them hoping one of us would finally create for her a scrapbook?

It's anyone's guess. I think I know, though.


Anonymous said...

I think I know too.

Thank you, Scott, for sharing the contents of your mom's special keepsake box.

It's hard enough to deal with the dying and death of someone you love without the extra pain of feeling that their special things have been taken away before everyone has had a chance to know what's what.

Anyhow, thanks again for this post.

Denise Iva Hart :)

Scott Beveridge said...

Thank you Iva. You can steal memories, but you cannot replace those that you never took the time to create.

Mark said...

Hi Scott,

For some reason, I thought it was time to visit your blog, an extraordinary historical and cultural view of the Mon Valley, and was crushed to learn of your Mom's passing.

I'll always remember June Hart Beveridge as the Mom with the biggest heart and kindest soul. I still see her conspiring in her kitchen with my mother, Leona, both hysterically laughing over something in their youth, or worse yet, our youth.

She remains in my heart and mind as the humble and benevolent Baroness of the huge house on the slopes of Webster, who relished in the exploits of Skipper, Scooter, Kelly, me and the multitude of friends that flocked to your house long ago.

Much love to you and your extended family,

Mark Glick
Honolulu, Hawai`i

Scott Beveridge said...

It's nice to hear from you Mark. Nicely put.