Your monthly dose of memories from Memoir for Me.
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This month, we bring you TWO blogs celebrating amazing moms and a tribute to a much loved daughter, sister, and mom.
I recently celebrated my 23rd birthday, and weeks before the actual day, my mother called (for the third time that afternoon) to clarify (again) what kind of birthday cake I would like during my weekend at home in Milwaukee. She didn’t want to know what flavor or how I wanted the woman at Sendik’s to decorate it; she wanted me to choose (from memory) a dessert from the well-worn, handmade recipe book that narrated my upbringing.
My mother is an incredible baker of her own tradition. In the day to day, she owns and manages a consignment shop called Ivana’s Trunk in Milwaukee, but that’s never stopped her from baking something stellar for every occasion (and I use occasion in the broad sense of the term, because a less-than-24-hour visit from me is always considered an occasion). Read More
Like most human relationships, the connection I have with my mother is a fluid one. We had our battles during my adolescence, mostly around boys and apparel. Shockingly, we had different viewpoints on what was considered appropriate in both hem length and young men. Disagreements were followed by silent treatments (both guilty), tears (both), and slamming of doors (me).
I remember thinking my life was over because I couldn’t go to the U2 concert with a bunch of boys from Deerfield High School (Achtung Baby tour–still stings a bit) or that no, she wouldn’t buy me those pink Guess jeans that cost more than anything in her closet. Read More
Featured Story: Anne Kathleen O’Connor BucherAnne Kathleen O’Connor Bucher lived a full life in her 45 years. She was a loving daughter, a confidant of a sister, a star student—especially in math, an accountant, a lover of all things chocolate and Irish, a wife, and a mother. But to her family and those closest to her, she was, above all, loved. Cancer may have taken her in 2013, but thankfully, the stories remain.
“Growing up, all 7 of us were each others’ best friends,” said Jeanne. “We thought that was the norm that your sibling was your best friend.”
Skirmishes were inevitable, though of all the O’Connor children, Anne usually stayed out of the fray. That is, except for that one time.
“When she was in first grade, her older brothers—who loved her dearly—gave her a haircut,” said mom Kathleen. “So she had new bangs for her first grade picture. That’s how kind they were to her.”
Though the now infamous hair incident of 1974 remains sharp in Kathleen’s memory, Anne’s hair did grow back and she grew into the role of peacekeeper for the family.
“Anne didn’t fight with anyone,” said Jeanne. “I can come up with a million stories of everyone else, who they argued with at any given point. Because in a family of seven, there were always sides to be picked.”
That didn’t mean Anne was a perfect child. Jeanne recalls a time when she and her siblings were upstairs playing with a toy iron Anne had recently gotten for Christmas.
“We were all supposed to be asleep, but we took all the sheets and blankets off the six beds to ‘iron.’ Of course my mom heard us because how can you not hear 6 kids running around taking all the sheets and blankets off. By the time my mom got to the top of the stairs, Anne was the first one in bed.”
She was no saint—Anne knew just how not to get caught.
“Anne was the instigator! It was her iron,” pointed out Jeanne. “She just knew how to pull it together in time. “
Read More Stories
In memory of Anne Kathleen O’Connor Bucher
October 9, 1968 – December 20, 2013
Thanks for reading. See you next month! – Nora