Tag Archives: weddings

Two Funerals, a Wedding Proposal and Mothers’ Day

Two Funerals, a Wedding Proposal and Mothers’ Day

California Republic

Yesterday we returned from a 2 week road-trip (more to follow in a later blog) in California, Nevada, Utah, Arizona and back to California again to catch a plane for the 11 hour flight back home to the Netherlands. Vince celebrated his 51st birthday in the plane (not really, he was mostly trying to sleep) and I got to celebrate Mothers’ Day with a crappy airline breakfast and 9 hours jet-lag.

Things improved once we were home. No. 1 Son, who is surprisingly thoughtful lately had a gorgeous bouquet delivered to the house for Mothers’ Day, I crashed for a few hours and woke up to check Facebook and email yaddayadda. Vacation time is always afk for me, and I had some catching up to do.


Like I could use viagra…fake or otherwise.Gotta luv spam!

Between all the ads and spam and selfies of my nieces and nephews (our generation doesn’t selfie, does it? ), other peoples vacay pics and neat stuff from George Takei, there were three important messages: A friend’s father had passed away, a dear friend of mine had passed away and another two friends got engaged, which rather balanced out the bad news nicely.

mothers day

Mothers’ Day is always a little different for me, hence the apostrophe change when I’m writing. My relationship with my own mother wasn’t great, but I was lucky enough to have come across a lot of women in my life who mothered me at one time or another and filled in the gaps: Ina, Sylvia, Dorothy C., Lavinia, Maribel, Sr. Marie-Patrice, Tecla, Rita, Beatrix, Gloria, the Aunts, Mimi Baba, Jeanne, my mother-in-law, and my dear friend, Terri, who passed away last week. All these women taught me how to be a woman and a mother by example and I am eternally grateful.

Ina just let me be me and seemed delighted when, as a 4-year-old I’d pop up to her apartment and bang out my own little songs on their upright piano for a half an hour. Sylvia taught me how to relativize the situation, whatever the situation. From Dorothy and Lavinia I learned how to be charming. Maribel brought me to the theater and showed me how to argue and win and still be a lady, Sr. Marie-Patrice, where to begin? Her sense of fun made learning so easy and she boosted the confidence of a shy little girl in all sorts of ways without making me an obvious teacher’s-pet. Tecla stood up for me when my own mother couldn’t. Rita gave me a home. Beatrix and Gloria acknowledged my talents and encouraged me. I was spoiled beyond my wildest dreams by the Aunts, Mimi Baba and Jeanne who made a fuss over me when I needed it most…and Terri, we were two of a kind, except my drink is whiskey and hers was Manischewitz and ginger-ale.



Kina Gecesi

I probably saw you then

from my balcony,

playing on the grass below.

We called that neighborhood

Little Ankara”.

Mothers, some in hijab, sought shadow

under chestnut trees in that last bake of September

while the little ones

laughed and chased the wind.

Then I was a new bride

in a strange land;

I wore no henna on my hand.


I didn’t know the word yet


my heart ached with it that day.

Tonight…the moon is high,

full to overflowing and white as a pail of milk.

We dance and eat and talk, and laugh

until the girls come in.

The same girls

from Little Ankara

grown up, singing to the bride you are

Yüksek, yüksek tepelere…

Asri, asri memlekete kiz vermesinler…

Your fist, compact as the chestnuts

that grew on the trees in Little Ankara

resolute in refusal

until the coin is offered.

Your hand falls open

like a white flower

and they paint your palm

with henna.

Ben annemi özledim

With eyes as full as the moon,

your mother lets you go.

* Hüzün – wistful melancholy. 

Kina Gecesi

Ik heb je waarschinlijk gezien,

spelend op het plein beneden.

Wij noemde onze eerst wijk

Kleine Ankara”.

De vrouwen in hijab, schaduw zoekend

onder kastanjebomen in dat nogal warm September

terwijl ‘t kleine grut

lachte en de wind opjagden.

Toen was ik een nieuwe bruid

in een vreemd land

geen henna vlek op mijn hand.

Ik had hüzün

maar kende het woord nog niet

en kon het niet eens uitspreken.

Stukje bij beetje was ik het vergeten.

Vanavond de maan is hoog

overvol and wit als een emmer melk.

Wij dansen en eten en praten, het is feest.

De meiden komen binnen.

Dezelfde meisjes waarschijnlijk

van kleine Ankara,

niet jagend achter de wind aan,

maar volwassen zingend om de bruid jij bent.

Yüksek, yüksek tepelere…

Asri, asri memlekete kiz vermesinler…

Doe je hand eens open,

maar je houd het vastgesloten

voor de henna

totdat het muntje komt tevoorschijn

en je laat je hand openvallen

als een bloem.

Ben annemi özledim

Je moeder kijkt je aan,

je ogen slaan neer.

Maar er valt geen traan.

Photo found at Google

Kina Gecesi