2013-08-02 / Columnists

Slice of Life

By Beth Hanning

Last Saturday night I attended the wedding celebration of my cousin Patricia Walsh to Albert Manning. As I stood there watching Tricia take pictures and welcome guests I was so happy for her. But like all family occasions and milestones I looked around and thought to myself “someone is missing.” That someone is my mom.

Twenty five years ago this week my mother Marianne Lydon passed away. Not a day goes by that I do not think about her. Every beautiful beach day I can see her in her kelly green terry cloth beach cover-up with her visor on enjoying whatever book she was reading that day. I honestly think she probably read about a thousand books while sitting in her beach chair. My children know that one of the reasons I love Rockaway and the beach is because it makes me feel connected to my mother.

But it is the milestones and celebrations that often make me reflect and miss her the most. I know my mother would be so proud of Tricia and I know she would have loved Al. She definitely would have enjoyed the local wedding right on the water she loved so much. Add that they got married at St. Camillus where my parents got married and the day was complete.

Marianne would have adored her grandchildren. Marianne, my daughter, resembles her so much. Not just in her looks but her spirit as well. They would have read the same books and had long conversations about how the book is always better than the movie. My mother would have beamed at the thought of one of her grandchildren attending Manhattan College. She would have insisted on driving with us the first time we dropped her off at college. Megan, my spitfire, would have gotten away with anything at grandma’s house. Ever since Megan was a baby she had the smile that makes you know she is up to something. I can imagine me yelling at my mom, telling her she can’t spoil Megan. I can also hear my mother telling me I am too hard on Megan, even though she was so strict with us.

Olivia, my niece, is so lovable. I can see Olivia sitting on my mom’s lap while my mother reads her a book. The baby of the grandchildren is Riley. Riley can get my father to turn on the lights during the day. I can only imagine how my mother would have adored Riley and her blonde curls.

Twenty five years is a long time. But not too long, other people also remember her. One of my old neighbors recently told her daughter-in-law that my mom would be so proud of me. That made my whole day. My daughters are often so touched when people tell them their grandmother was the best. I tell them all the time, but it is such an honor to have other people tell them.

Another Rockaway legend is gone too long this week. Peter McManus has been gone twenty years. As I typed this column from my front porch on Newport Avenue I could see him riding his bicycle past me waving and smiling.

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