Friday, February 5, 2010

Edith Inez Chaplin

Edith at age one and a half.
Today 61 years ago Feb 5, 1949 my mother Edith died from the complications of Breast Cancer. It was one week before my first birthday. I am really looking forward to meeting her in the next life.

Edith age six.

I have wondered what she was like and what she saw in my father. Remember all kids have a funny view of their parents. What things did she enjoy, her favorite color you know those normal things. Dad didn't tell me much about her maybe because he had a new wife and maybe because it was too painful for him to remember.

Edith with her mother Minnie and her sister Bea.

I can remember when they told me I had a different mother than my brothers. I think I was six. It was the second time, they told me about my mother. They had told me the year before but I didn't remember that. They gave me a compact with an "E" engraved on it and her picture. I unfortunately lost the compact.

I also wonder what she worried about as she lost her battle to cancer and what things she would have like to tell me if she could. She was diagnosed in August and was gone by February, after spending 25 years of my life as an Oncology nurse, I know she had a very aggressive kind of cancer.

Edith with her brother Bill 8th grade graduation.

What I do know about her I know from my Aunt Bea & Uncle Bill her siblings. Her nick name was "The Swede" because she was so blond when she was little, as her picture above shows. As a little kid she had an active imagination and was frequently caught talking to her boys, her imaginary friends. As a young girl of 9 her Dad passed away and she had to fend for herself after school as everyone else in the household had to go to work.

When I went to New York that summer I was 15, the first I did when i walked into Aunt Bea's house was kick my shoes off. My Aunt tells me, "That is exactly what your mother always did as soon as she walked in the house the shoes came off." It made me feel very good to know I had a habit of my mother's even without knowing it. She liked to sing and would sing harmony with Uncle Bob, Aunt Bea's husband.

As a teenager if she didn't want to go out with a guys again, or didn't want to give a guy her phone number she would give them the phone number to the police station. Now that sounds like something I would do. Come to think of it I have. And to think I got all my sass from my Dad.

She worked as a waitress and had office jobs. She eloped at 18 to a guy about 10 years older but that ended in divorcee. I guess when she married my Dad that was a very negative fact to his parents.

I call this picture Edith the knock out.

My Aunt Em, my Dad's sister like both of my mothers and enjoyed them both as much as if they had been sisters. I don't know when or how she & my dad meet. She became a Catholic to marry him. And that is about all I know. I like this last picture of my mother, she looks like a really classy gal. I also think some of the fashions from the forty's had a real classic style and made women look great.

I just remembered one more story. My Mom use to tell me that my Mother and Dad wanted to have children real bad, and they had been married for 3 years before I came along. The story goes that once the doctor told her she couldn't have any children she got pregnant. That was real cool of my step mom to share such a story with me.

As I re-read the letter from my uncle and aunts everyone expressed a lot of love for both of my mothers and that I was always to respect and honor both of them. I think I have.


  1. Mary,
    What a beautiful tribute to your mother!
    Honored both of your mothers? Yes, indeed you have!
    Thank you for sharing this lovely story.

  2. This is from my friend Jane.
    Mary, this is just delightful. I am really enjoying the stories about your mother’s. I so want to do this too. I will watch and learn from you and some day soon I will be ready to start. A few irons in the fire first but this way you can work any bugs out. I absolutely love the way you have the pictures posted with the story interspersed about them. I swear you are a professional. Keep at it.