Thursday, October 14, 2010

Happy Birthday, Mom!

All four of us “kids” will be in New Hampshire this weekend to celebrate Mom’s birthday. Dolores Barbara Roberts Haropulos will be 80 years old. Mom was born in 1930, early in the Great Depression, to Barbara and Frank Roberts. She remembers rationing of butter and sugar, and as a child, longed for a birthday cake with butter icing an inch thick!

Mom met John Haropulos in 1948. He was a WWII veteran, completing his electrical engineering degree at the University of New Hampshire. They married in December 1950. Alexandra Susan was born in 1952, me (Laurel Anne) in 1955, Althea Alene in 1959, and Jason John in 1963. We grew up in Rockville, Maryland. All of us were educated in good public schools, and went to college on our parents’ middle-class incomes, with a little help from academic scholarships and government loans. Our wonderful Dad passed away at the age of 74 in 1999. Mom and Althea share a home in Manchester, NH.

Deciding on a gift for Mom’s birthday was a little challenging. At an age where she has no interest in having more “stuff”, Mom has asked us not to buy her presents. My older sister had a great suggestion – for each of us to write down enough childhood/family memories for Mom to have one for every day of the coming year. We’ll type them up, print them on small pieces of a lightweight card stock, fold them like fortunes, and present them to Mom in some sort of attractive container. Great idea!

Dolores Haropulos 2009
The reality of encouraging my siblings to actually produce their “Memories for Mom” has been a little stressful, given that we are all hopeless procrastinators and the immovable deadline is looming. Speaking for myself, however, the process of recalling the memories has been really pleasant. I have been daydreaming, mentally meandering through my happy childhood, making notes, and smiling or wiping tears. What I’ve received from my sisters and brothers so far has been fun to read, reminding me of things I hadn’t thought of in years, and providing an interesting perspective on what snippets of life have shaped each of us as individuals. I hope the end result of this project is something that will touch our mother…a gift of cherished memories from her children.

Thanks for everything, Mom. We love you.

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