Friday, May 10, 2013

MOTHER dearest..............


The Messier Family
Manchester, New Hampshire 
Circa 1924


This Mother's Day I'm celebrating my mother-in-law. My own late mother was a wonderful woman whom I usually honor here on Mother's Day. This year, because Bob's mother is in such frail health, I wanted to say a few things about this amazing lady.


Berta (Bertha) Messier was born in 1918 in Manchester, NH into an already large French-Canadian family from Quebec. She was the youngest of the ten children. Like so many others seeking employment, the family moved to New England to work in the textile mills. Manchester, on the banks of the Merrimack River, housed the Amoskeag Manufacturing Company the largest cotton textile manufacturing center in the world.

When Bob and I married and moved from Washington, D.C. to Manchester, his hometown, in 1965, I was warmly welcomed by this lovely lady, known since childhood as "Connie". I was fairly new to America and had a lot to learn regarding how to run a household in my adopted country. It was a time where I often cried for my own mum, wishing she was close by to give me pointers, and later to help with the children. However Connie was always the best mother-in-law, and my late father-in-law was also a gem of a man. Some of the happiest memories are of their fabulous hospitality toward my own parents when they crossed the pond to visit us in New England.

Connie and I got along swimmingly from the get-go - she taught me a lot and took me places as I didn't even drive at that time. We shopped a lot and, as she was very careful with money, showed me where to find the bargains. With many factories still operating in the mid-sixties in Manchester, there were great outlets for furniture, clothing and shoes. Those were the days when quality items were actually made right here in America - and even back then I loved furniture, clothing and shoes - I had come to the right place!!!!!

She knew a lot about nutrition and plied me with articles on eating right and cooking fresh. She taught me how to make special dishes so new to me - spanokopita (because she had many Greek friends), and tourtiere, the French-Canadian savory meat pie(enjoyed prior to becoming vegetarian), and the best vegetable soup which she would pour into big jars for us to take home. We often bought fabrics from the mill outlets and sewed together using her machine as I couldn't afford my own until later!


Bob and his mom - Pennsylvania 2005

Over the years, after a few moves, we ended up here in the Southeast, and Connie moved to Pennsylvania to be close to her daughter.
We visited Connie a couple of weekends ago, sad to see her now struggling to make her 95th birthday next month.
Although those dark piercing eyes of little Berta are no longer, and she was unable to talk about the old days, we hope and pray she knew we were there, that it was us whispering in her ear. 
We will always be so grateful to have her as our very special mother. She is the last remaining person from this family photograph.
Happy Mother's Day dear Connie and thank you for everything.

Here's wishing you a very happy day too.

Note: The above family photo was discovered online just last week when Bob was searching for Messier family members. It was a shock to him and his siblings, none of whom recall ever seeing this beautiful photo previously. We all feel blessed to have this and will be sharing with our family members.



Linking this post to Claudia's Saturday party - A Favorite Thing - over at Mockingbirdhill Cottage.

25 comments:

  1. Mary, You are truly blessed to have such a wonderful mother-in-law who obviously loved you when you joined her family. Not everyone has this luck. That's amazing that you found the photo online! One of the joys of the internet! I think that Manchester is a huge center for outlet shopping now. Linda

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  2. A very sweet tribute, Mary. I know how special it is to have one's mom living well into her 90s.
    I wish you a delightful Mother's Day weekend, my friend. ~ Sarah

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  3. Dear Mary - a beautiful, very moving tribute to your mother-in-law. What lovely memories Connie and yourself have shared, and how amazing to think that she has been there for so much of your married life.
    The photograph is lovely - it was out there waiting to be found by you at this very poignant moment.

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  4. Wow! How fortunate to find this family photo online. Amazing to know that Connie is the last surviving family member from that group. She obviously has lived a long and wonderful life. God bless her! Best wishes, Tammy

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  5. What a beautiful tribute to your dear mother-in-law, Mary. She sounds like an extraordinary woman - and a warm, loving presence in your life. Thank you for sharing her with us in this post. My prayers are with you and Bob and Connie. My mom is declining ever so slowly. My dad can't even get her to talk on the phone anymore. The mom I knew has left us, with only an occasional glimpse of her remaining. Mother's Day can be especially poignant.

    Love to you and thank you so much for joining in this week.

    xo
    Claudia

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  6. A lovely tribute Mary. What a treasure to find that picture.

    Hugs, Penny

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  7. A wonderful post / what a blessing she's been to you ! :)

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  8. Hi Mary,

    I truly enjoyed reading this tribute to your mother-in-law, along with the family photos. How interesting that your husband came across the photo online! I can still see the little girl in Connie's face; her kindness shines through.

    Happy Mother's Day!

    poppy

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  9. Your beautiful post to your mother-in-law brought tears to my eyes. How very lucky you have been to have such a close bond with her.

    Big Hugs,
    Susan and Bentley

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  10. This is a lovely and loving tribute to your Mother In Law. Wishing her and you a happy Mother's day.

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  11. Good Afternoon Mary, What a lovely tribute to Connie, your mother-in-law. To have been so far away from home, but to have had such a lovely person to take you under her wing, is very special indeed.
    She sounds like someone I would loved to have known.
    Best Wishes to you,
    Daphne

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  12. What a lovely tribute, and what a cute little girl she was!

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  13. How amazing to find this wonderful photo online recently. I would never have thought to even look. What a lovely tribute to your mother-in-law. How special to have had her assist you in your journey as a new wife and mother.

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  14. What a lovely tribute to your mother-in-law. How wonderful that photo was discovered!
    Hugs,
    Penny

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  15. Beautiful heartfelt tribute! The family must have been quite progressive. All the ladies have very modern haircuts for the times.

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  16. Your mother-in-law sounds like a wonderful lady and I'm glad you both got along so well over the years. That doesn't always happen! This is a lovely tribute to her. How wonderful to find that old photo on line! Amazing! When I saw the last name of Messier, I thought that it is French. Hundreds of Maritimes went to the 'Boston States' to work in the last century. My great aunt lived in Mass. for a few years. That is a lovely photo of her with Bob too. It's nice that you got to visit her recently to say your farewells. I wish you a blessed weekend. Hugs, Pam

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  17. Mary, what a wonderful woman and such a lovely tribute. Cannot imagine how happy you both were to fine such a beautiful image.
    Sending love and hugs.
    Rose H
    x

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  18. A beautiful and heartfelt post Mary. It is indeed lucky to have found that photo. I know the pleasure from finding such things. I found many photos when I did our family genealogy. Happy Mother's day to you and all the mothers in your family.
    QMM

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  19. Such a beautiful post honouring your dear mother-in-law Mary.

    How amazing that Bob discovered that photo on the www!
    Connie was a marvellous friend to you, those early days in a new family are not always easy, but I'm sure she would tell us that you were the best daughter-in-law in the world too Mary.
    It's hard for both you and Bob - the frailty of old age is so sad - a difficult time which touches us all.
    Treasure all the wonderful memories of happy times you shared together.

    I've just done a post about my darling Mama too!
    Take care
    hugs
    Shane ♥

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  20. What a lovely post and tribute to your belle-mere! The old photo is certainly a wonderful find and precious.
    Many of my Nova Scotia relatives went to Manchester in the early years of the last century. They stayed and were my 'American Cousins'.

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  21. A very beautiful tribute, Mary. Isn't it wonderful to have found that family photo. This is one of the good things about the Internet. My husband has reaped such blessings also, and now has a photo of his own mother, who disappeared when he was 7 or 8. A distant family member found via a genealogy research site, forwarded it to us last year.

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  22. WOW What can I say except that my wife and I are so proud to have wonderful Mary in our lives as a sister in law. She is a gifted writer and captures my Mother in her essence. Fantastic words written by a fantastic person. Thank you so very much Mary. I pray that my mother will recover enough to some day read those beautiful words.
    John and Mary

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    1. Thank you dear John and Mary - the best brother and sister-in-law anyone could be blessed with. It was a sad visit to see mom like that, however, deep down, I feel she knew it was us, could see and hear us, and will always know we were there for a little while trying hard to let her know how much we all love her. What a special woman she has always been, and how fortunate we are to have had her for such a long time.
      Hugs - hoping things get better your way soon too!
      Mary X

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  23. Lovely tribute Mary. I bet she took you to the Pandora factory ( when Pandora meant sweaters, not beads or radio) which was a pilgrimage of sorts from Vermont in my teen years. Thinking of you often.

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    1. How right you are Janet - Pandora was such an awesome outlet and we shopped there at least once a week! How about the 'shoe shops' too - always great buys as they were made right there..............I doubt hardly a shoe is made in the USA now! My MIL actually worked in a shoe factory for a short time - such hard work, as were all factory jobs.
      Janet dear, we miss you - I won't be able to get up there for a while but when I do I'll let you know so that hopefully we can get together.
      Love to you and Bob.

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