After escaping Saint Peter’s Hospital after her first brush with death — CHF, heart attack, and unexplained blood loss that just “stopped on its own”, she decided to have a party. In the hospital, she was sad that she’d never had a chance to say “thanks, i love you” to a bunch of people. She was going to fix that. Since she was walking and talking I was happy. Confused (What else was new?), but happy? So I say: “OK! What would you like to do?”
She, with that impish gleaming smile that all Irish girls can unleash when they really want to turn a man to putty or something else, said: “I want a ‘Thank You’ party where I give out some gifts.” “Like a Christmas Party?” “No more formal.” “Like a wedding reception. With everyone happy.” “OK, a wedding reception, without a bride and groom, where you give the gifts. Sure, we can do that.” “And, I want all the pictures of my life lined up for everyone to see how lucky and blessed I’ve been.” “OK.” “And, I want to pay for it out of my money. And, you can’t change anything.” “OK, for you Princess, anything.” … and I don’t have to pay anything. Sounded to good to be true. So she threw herself into it. And, pulled it off. I was pushed out and the woman folk took over.
At the party, I find out she’s written a little speech.
Here’s that speech recreated from her notes.
To all our friends and extended families:
We are extremely fortunate to have all of you in our lives. Cherished memories we have of all the good times out smiles on our faces every time we think of them.
First, I would like to thank everyone for coming. It means a lot to me to see all my family and friends.
I would like to begin by thanking some people who couldn’t be with us today. Mainly, my parents Peg and Jack.
We didn’t grow up with a lot of money, but we knew we were loved. And, they instilled in us a great sense of caring and charing. Also, discipline was a “big” word in my Mom’s vocabulary and I thank God everyday for having wonderful parents.
Also, John’s grandparents “Grandma & Grandpa” who loved everyone unconditionally.
A cute story about Grandma. Everyone called her “grandma”. My nephew Scott had a black friend named Eric. One day Scott and Eric rode their bikes to my house. I asked what they were up to. Eric said: “Oh we just visited Grandma!”
One of my treasured compliments in life was when Grandpa Ed told me “I was a good little driver for a girl”.
Next, I would like to thank John’s Mom for raising a caring and loving son. She worked very hard to see that he received a great education. My Mom told me when I met the guy I was to marry make sure he and his mom have a strong relationship because how he treats his mom is how he will treat you. So please raise glasses and toast Marge for a job well done. Also to Diddy, John, and Patti for always being their (sic) for John as he was growing up.
To Aunt Kay, for always sending special cards for all occasions. We always look forward to receiving them.
Aunt Jenette, my Godmother, for letting me eat lunch every school day at her house when Mom was working.
Now Scott. My favorite memories of Scott growing up was playing catch. One day I made the mistake of doing play by play as we were throwing the ball. I’d say: “Ball hit to Silvay. Throw to Reinke at first. Batter out.” Well from that day forward we could never play catch unless we did the play by play. Also we would be out there for hours and I’d get tired so I’d start throwing the ball over his head, or way to his left, and make him chase the ball. It took him a long time before he realized what I was doing. Based on this story, (giving him a picture of her brother Jack with Scott who was wearing a baseball uniform) I hope when you look at his picture, it will remind you of the hours we played catch.
Megan. The best memory is our trip to California where Megan got introduced to Dungeoness crabs and we would go to the warf every day and have crabs for lunch. After SanFran, we went to LA and Meg’s big thing was to visit Hard Rock Cafes. As we walked in, Meg saw a denim jacket with the Hard Rock logo on it. We got seated for lunch and Meg scarfed down her hamburger and fries. She said: “Auntie Ev, can I go see how much the jacket is?” I said sure. She comes back and says: “It’s only 80 dollars.” Folks that’s almost 20 years ago. $80 was a lot of money. I said we’d have to think about it. On the way out, softy Uncle John hands Meg $100 and says “Get the jacket.” Well that jacket was worth the money. She wore it everywhere and was the only one at school with it. Every time she wore it, people would ask where we got it. In keeping with tradition, Madison please come up here and see Auntie Ev. (Giving her a Hard Rock jean jacket)
Jacki. What can I say. We laughed, cried, and laughed again. My fondest memories are at the beach house where every summer you’d swear you were not going home but staying at the beach. Also our late hour runs to the boardwalk to get zeppoles.Here is a token of our friendship that I cherish very much. Also, thanks to Jackie’s Mom, Salie, for raising a caring and generous daughter.
To my buds CJ and Matt. For keeping me young. All our after school chats. Our trips to McDonald’s, Wendy’s, the Sub Shop, Confects. And all the fun times at the beach house. Uncle John and I love you very much and are glad you are part of our lives.
Last but not least. John. What can I say? How could one girl from Bayonne get so lucky to find a terrific husband. On our wedding day, you told me how important our vows meant. In sickness and in health. Well health was good for a short time. In sickness, you were there every day for hours at the hospital through every procedure making sure I got the best of care.
For richer or poorer. We were pretty poor in the beginning. Military didn’t pay a lot. Remember on our way home to visit our parents, we would sing in the car: “We don’t have a barrel of money, maybe we’re ragged and funny, but we’ll travel along side by side.”
For richer. You have provided a freat life for us. All our vacations. Anything I want, all I have to say and you get for it me.
Also you have been very generous in helping family members in need. Never asking questions.
So here is a gift (an inscribed watch) that I hope that every time you look at it you will remember just how much I love you and I thank God every night for bringing you into my life.
— 30 —
[JR: This is her recollection. I’m sure there are some ‘memory errors’ that diminish her role, and magnify mine.]
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