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.