Wednesday, September 4, 2019

Marjorie Ellen Smith Arden

If only my beautiful Mother had been born 50 years later. I think she would have been so much happier. Women of her generation were expected to marry, have children, and stay married. She was brilliant at University graduating Phi Beta Kappa. Her father, a well known minister in Denver, forbade her to marry the love of her life and instead she married my father. I don't think she regretted marrying my Dad but neither do I think she was ever truly in love with him. But, he was her best friend and a good partner in the life they made together. She was a voracious reader, could play the piano but had the worst singing voice ever, could sew like a Parisian couture designer and loved clothes- she was always beautifully turned out. She spoke three languages-English, French and Spanish.  And she was the most disciplined person I've ever known. As a young woman she disliked her speaking voice and so modulated it to be lower- and spoke that way the rest of her life. She was always slender and when she was 80 bemoaned that her stomach wasn't flat anymore. She believed fat people lacked willpower and while I know she loved me she always believed I was a little less than. I miss her.

Monday, September 2, 2019

Richard Johnson Arden

My father and I had a rocky relationship. I don't know why -if it was how he was brought up (which I have been told was an upbringing that contained a large measure of physical and mental abuse) or generational (children should be seen and not heard) but my father never told me he loved me, never played with me, never hugged me. When I was told to kiss him goodnight I was always uncomfortable.

Let me be very clear- I was not abused. It's just my father was someone I didn't know. He worked constantly, and when he wasn't working he was at my grandparents home-120 Arlington. He had divided the home up into apartments that he rented to single men. The proceeds went towards helping to keep my Grandmother- who was mentally very far gone at that point-in a mental hospital. And he was over at 120 all the time fixing things, meeting renters- all the tasks that go into having a rental property. When he was home during the summer, he sought refuge in his garden. It was a magnificent vegetable garden and I was given the excess produce to sell to neighbors (and was allowed to keep the money.) I started my little vegetable business when I was 6 years old. And I bought my second bike-an English 3 speed- when I was 7 with the money I earned.

My father was a hard working provider for his family of wife and four daughters. When I was in my late teens he was retired and we spent more time together. He still wasn't much interested in me except for the fact he couldn't understand why I wasn't skinny like my mom and sisters- I think those are the most personal comments he ever made to me!  He was a fantastic musician and if time had been different I think he might have been able to live a much happier and fulfilled life. 
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