Thursday, May 26, 2011

Memories of Mom, 1914 to 2011

SPOKANE -- A short distance from Mt. Nebo Cemetery in Spokane is Fort George Wright where Mom took me and my sister, Claudia shopping at the Post Exchange in about 1945.
Mom was an Army wife when Dad was drafted, serving with the occupation forces in Japan post World War Two. Dad was not amused and Mom must surely have felt stressed raising two children by herself while we all lived with our grandparents and rented out our house on 29th Avenue. With the post war economy Dad tried to figure out a way to support the family, returning for a short time to a retail sales job that he disliked. Dad’s story is similar to the Dana Andrews character in the movie “The Best Years of Our Lives” in that he wound up in the junk business.
We held graveside services Friday at Mt. Nebo in Spokane for Mom, Gertie Zarkin, 96, who died May 20 in a Seattle convalescent facility.
With Mom I could share my joys and some frustrations, including a byline story in the Idaho Statesman or a photo I took of Lucky Peak Reservoir in winter that I was sure was a masterpiece. I enshrined it in a frame from Grand Central that I refinished and mailed to Mom for Mother’s Day. When Mom and Dad left Spokane she gave me the photo with the card pasted to the back. Now it hangs on my living room wall.
Mom at 96 remembered as a child being on a train from Toronto to Spokane and that the soldiers returning from World War One were courteous and attentive to Mom’s family.
Recently Mom would ask: “Are you keeping busy in retirement?” So I had pleasant conversations with Mom when I visited her in Seattle. She was an avid reader and years ago subscribed to the Readers’s Digest book club. She loaned me her books including Betty Macdonald’s “The Egg and I” when I was in grade school, but she would not let me read “Marjorie Morningstar” or “Peyton Place.”
Mom loved the lake and she is pictured here at Spirit Lake, Idaho, in the late 40s where the local movie house showed “Abbott and Costello Meet Frankenstein” which she wouldn’t let us see because scary movies gave us bad dreams. (See post on “Beer Hall Babies”.) Cousins Jan and Stan got to see that movie which my son Mike showed me a couple of years ago. Memories of my Mom.


Mike Zarkin said...


Thanks for sharing the photo and fond memories of Nana. I didn't get to know Nana and Grandpa Phil as well as I would have liked while I was growing up, but I will always have fond memories of the letters, birthday cards, and their visits. I have particularly fond memories of the time I got to spend with them back when I was living in Boulder, CO ('94-95).

Dave Zarkin said...

Hi Thanks for sending "Memories of Mom".  I enjoyed reading it and can relate to a lot of it. Andy
David, I loved your Memories of Mom.  I was so sorry we couldn't get to the funeral on Monday and have been having lots of memories of Auntie Gertie myself.  Because we lived farther away than Janice and Stan, we didn't get to share all the cousin times at the lake and with our mutual Grandparents and I always felt we were missing out.  I loved the visits to Spokane and Loon Lake and remember your home so well. I will take over for your Mom and remind you to keep busy in retirement.  I hope you are well.
Love, Linda 
I saw the article, very well done. I also sent a link of your blog to David Kaplan, who used to live in Spokane and is a good buddy of mine.