Today we celebrate my mom on her 83rd birthday. It’s funny how women hesitate to share how old they are, until at a certain age, each trip around the sun turns into a badge of honor. I often thank her for being a young mom. I’m sure it wasn’t always a picnic wrangling four kids in such rapid, stair step succession as she did. Of course we were perfect and always well behaved (just ask her!) but still, she had me at 18, Gayle at 22, and Mike and Jill in the middle. She was a busy mama! Still she had time to lead my Bluebird group and Mike’s Cub Scouts and go to all the little league games. We always had everything we needed and most of the things we wanted, without being spoiled.
Mom and dad raised us Campbell Kids on twenty mostly wooded acres, with a big, grassy backyard. We played baseball, (mom was a real slugger!) and learned to ride our bikes on a narrow sidewalk behind our house. One afternoon as we kids sat around our big dining room table eating lunch, there was a knock on the door. Not seeing a car in the driveway, mom was a little hesitant, who could it be? When she opened the door, there stood a tall woman, with short, crazy hair, all dressed in black holding a machete. Mom laughed later relating the scary thoughts that raced through her mind in those moments, but all was well. It was Betty Moe, who owned the forty acres adjoining ours. She hacked a trail through the woods so we might explore nature and maybe play with her boys sometime. As we got to know her, we discovered she played a mean ragtime piano and even gave Jill lessons for awhile.
Imagine school clothes shopping with four kids! Not even taking into consideration the budget constraints of such a big family, but the logistics of keeping track of us. Colby Avenue in downtown Everett was where it was at. All the stores were there. JC Penney, The Bon Marche, Sears, not to mention Kress, Newberry’s, Woolworths and various independent shops that catered to young fashionistas. I remember being mid block and mom saying, “Come on, the light’s green, we can make it!” And away we went like the tale of a kite, our mom being the kite, flying towards the intersection. I know a few times she must have panicked when a couple of us hid silently in the clothes rack, such a perfect place for playing hide and seek. Back then, the only shopping mall was at Northgate, and it was open air. She would load us all in the car and away we’d go from our little hometown of Snohomish off the the big city of Seattle. The coolest stores were there and then we’d get to go to Farrell’s for lunch before heading home.
Time has a way of rolling along, we kids grew up and had families of our own, making our mom not only a grandma, but a great grandma. So many great times, strung like pearls on a necklace lovingly made, as well as so many lessons learned along the way. Today we celebrate our grande ~ dame, Happy Birthday, Mom, we love you!