A Mother’s Day Memory

When I was little, my family celebrated Mother’s Day in what may well be considered a highly unusual way, but, to us, it was perfectly normal. These early memories remain with me more than the later ones, which were more traditional… you know..taking Mom and the grandmas out to dinner and buying them a 💝 🎁 gift of flowers, candy or something else.

Those later memories are actually kind of nice, too, but ordinary, humdrum and therefore even blurry in my mind, compared to the earlier ones…the ones that I remember from the time I could actually remember anything until I was eleven. So bear with me as I try to reconstruct a Mother’s Day from long ago.

The day would start out normally, I guess. First, we would give our mom her gifts and cards 🎁 at breakfast time. But that was just the beginning of my Mother’s Day memory. I remember how we all got ready early and were out the door by eleven o’clock.

Then, we went to what I considered the very best florist in Cedarhurst, located on the south shore of Long Island. Not far from where we lived, it was also on the way to our ultimate destination.

So we picked out the most beautiful floral basket, and Mom filled out the card to Dad’s mom. (We had already sent some 😊 beautiful flowers to Mom’s mother and had seen her the day before.) And now we were ready for an exciting day where we would create memories that would last a lifetime to the little girl in me. And of course they did because there is still that wonderful feeling of joy that bubbles up inside of me when I relive those special days!

My paternal grandparents owned a summer rooming house in Arverne, New York, a bustling part of the Rockaway peninsula at that time when there were individually owned bungalows and rooming houses on just about every block. Each weekend Grandma, Grandpa and our bachelor uncle Ralph would leave their home in Brooklyn early in the morning to rent rooms in their summer rooming house, Millers’ St. Regis. As many Sundays as we could, my immediate family joined them, too: my dad, my mother, my older sister, Stephie and me. Since Mother’s Day always falls on the second Sunday in May, that was no exception.

I loved the ride to Rockaway Beach every Sunday from April to June that we were able to join the family and extend whatever support and help we could in the summer renting. For some reason, I remember only cool temperatures on those Mother’s Days from long ago. Mom always reminded us to bring a heavy sweater or wear a spring coat. It was usually cloudy on those Sundays, too, and only at certain times do I remember the sun 🌞 sneaking out in between the clouds. But the temperature didn’t affect my happiness and excitement, nor anyone else’s as I remember.

Along the way we would always stop off at Weiss’s Restaurant in Broad Channel. (You can google Weiss’s and see pictures of the restaurant as it was in all its glory! Unfortunately, it is just a memory now. It has been closed since 1973, the site demolished and replaced by a branch of the Queens Public Library and a playground.)

Long before the fast food craze first began, Weiss’s, which catered to all tastes, not only existed, but thrived! You could eat your hot dogs, burgers, French fries, soda, coffee, and other delicious snacks at the outside location, where you could sit on comfortable benches under umbrellas or you could go inside for a fancy dinner experience! When we were in a hurry, we ate outside and considered it a special picnic lunch, but on holidays, we dined inside.

So on Mother’s Day, Dad treated all of us to a fantastic meal inside! And then, filled with wonderful food 🥘 and dessert, we were ready for Rockaway Beach and helping Grandma celebrate Mother’s Day while we extended our support in the summer renting!

Once we were at the roominghouse, much more fun and excitement were in store for my sister and me. Mom and dad helped with the renting, but Stephie and I had fun! So many memorable moments!

After giving our grandparents and uncle a big 🤗 hug and presenting Grandma with her beautiful flowers, we chatted, helped out with whatever we could and waited for our aunt, uncle and cousins to come join us from their home in the Bronx. During the summers, they also lived at the rooming house, which was just a block away from the beach. My Aunt Claire, Uncle Archie and cousins had a suite of three rooms on the first floor because they were a family of six. Usually, my uncle Archie spent only weekends at the rooming house because, being a pediatrician, he couldn’t leave his practice in the Bronx.

My immediate family had a very large room on the third floor with a cooking unit. There were two lavatories on each floor.

But on Mother’s Day and all the other Sundays we spent at the house during renting time, I have very special memories!

When our aunt and uncle arrived with our cousins, there was more excitement in store. My sweet and beautiful Aunt Claire was like a second mom to me. On Mother’s Day and those other special Sundays, I didn’t see too much of my older cousins, Peter and Kenny, but I had a fantastic time playing with my younger ones, Dickie and Cathy, who were close to my age.

When we could sneak away, we explored the rooms, looking for any souvenirs from past residents. I never found any. We ran up and down the front and back stairs and on one occasion even had a chance to explore the dark, scary basement and the mysterious old attic.

In the afternoon Dad rounded us up and took us to Mel’s, the candy store on the corner, and treated us to malteds, ice cream 🍦 sundaes or sodas. Yes, for us kids the day rang of a kind of paradise!

When evening finally came, we said goodbye 👋 to our family, but we knew we would see them again soon. Once we arrived home in Brooklyn, downstairs from our grandparents and uncle, who would arrive much later, Dad bought burgers and soda for us from the local coffee shop, and we demolished them quickly, enjoying every bite!

Stephie and I were soon tired from the day’s activities! So we watched just a little television and went to sleep with memories of the day bringing us a special kind of peace and joy!

Many of my beloved relatives have passed, but the wonderful memories remain! They always will!

Let’s make creative and beautiful memories every day with our family and friends! Those memories will last for life, for with God’s help, the right attitude, faith and hope, isn’t every day a kind of holiday and an opportunity for enjoying past happiness and creating newfound joy?

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