Celebrations, Losing a Parent, Menopause

Myrtle: A Love Story


When my mom was nine, her best friend Bona Lockwood gave her a panda for Christmas. Mom named the bear Myrtle.

It’s not hard to guess, from her appearance, that Myrtle has led an exuberant life. Lots of love. Plenty of adventures.

Myrtle’s favorite piece of jewelry is a red wooden heart. My Uncle Byrt made the pin when he was thirteen. She’s worn it ever since.

In 1942, Myrtle and Mom went away to college. More good times!

Enter a new love for Mom. Myrtle wasn’t especially pleased.

After my parents married, Dad promised Myrtle an allowance of two cents a week. His benevolent gesture improved her spirits.

Over the years, Dad worked to keep up a good relationship with Myrtle. You can see by the expression on her face that she’s a discerning bear, a careful judge of character.

For sixty-four years, Dad sometimes surprised Mom by having Myrtle move around the house. She’d go from the bedroom to the kitchen, from the family room to the study.

Two years ago, my father lay down for a nap and never woke up. When I arrived the next day, Myrtle was sitting on Mom’s bed.I figured Mom had moved her. A touch of comfort at a heartbreaking time.

“You’ve got Myrtle on your bed. Nice.”

“Dad put her there,” Mom said.  “Three days ago.”

And that’s the end of this story.

Except that true love stories, as you know, never really end.

Happy Valentine’s Day! Celebrate the love stories and the characters in your life.


Fashion, Losing a Parent, Menopause

Dad’s Ties

My father loved neckties.

When he died suddenly two years ago this week, he left several racks of elegant ties in his closet.

“Take some,” my mom said to family members who visited the apartment.

And we did. But when my turn came, the pickings were somewhat slim. (Which was fine with me. I was touched that so many young people wanted  Dad’s ties.)

Dad was not known for careful eating. The ties I brought home featured large blobs of who knows what.

I let the ties sit in my own closet for two years. Time, a few weeks ago, to decide what to do with them. I brought them out and pondered.

My son-in-law- to-be, Matt, surprised me by wearing one of Dad’s ties  on Easter. My cousin Jon sported one to my niece’s wedding in June.

Dad’s ties are alive in the world!  The stained, unwearable numbers I inherited could go.

I kissed the kangaroo tie and the tie with tiny dogs goodbye and put them in the outside garbage can. Seeing them in the indoor garbage for a few days would make me too sad.

Then I went for a walk.

Halfway through that walk, I changed my mind.

I came home, opened the garbage can lid, dug deep inside, and fished them out.

I’ve heard some amazing dry cleaning stories. Worth a try.

Thanks, cleaners! You are miracle workers.  The ties look as good as new.

And this fall, I just might turn myself into an older Annie Hall.