Dear Mom,

All of this Coronavirus calamity started in the U.S. in January so it’s been going on for some months now. I believe I’ve been locked out of Wyndemere and unable to see you since March 11th, hoping that the week after Easter I might be allowed back in, but I doubt it because President Trump has asked that all Americans Stay at Home until April 30th, except for essential visits to the grocery and pharmacy and gas stations. So, if the virus lifts we will be celebrating a BIG Mother’s Day together this year.

Mother’s Day. Charlie calls this the “high holiday of the Midwest,” because his family never celebrated Mother’s Day out in Philadelphia. Isn’t that strange? How could Pinkie Philbrick not care about Mother’s Day, or her family not care about it? I guess that’s possible if her mother was no longer living and I believe Pinkie’s mother died when Charlie was young. 

We LOVE Mother’s Day and I cherish my memories of celebrating with you. Last year, our Jessie surprised us by coming home from St. Louis! I brought you a surprise, flowers, raspberries and quiche breakfast in your apartment that morning, took you to Christ Church and over to Uncle Jay’s for brunch. This delighted your Mama heart because one of your New Years resolutions is to see Uncle Jay more, that 90 year old rascal! Kind of hard to do during the Coronavirus, but if the virus quarantine lifts we might try to do the same thing again this year. How about that idea? 

Mother’s Day Breakfast 2019

I remember some highlights from Mother’s Day celebrations of the past:

Eating homemade chocolate cake and drinking champagne at 21 Highgate Course with Charlie and Goggie and Aunt Jessie, when Charlie and I were dating. 

Eating chocolate cake and drinking champagne in Lilac Park in Lombard with all our kids and some friends. Jessie made Goggie’s cake and surprised me.

Eating chocolate cake and wanting to drink champagne at Uncle Jay’s with Jessie last year, but we never opened the bottle of champagne that Jessie brought so Uncle Jay gave it back to her. Jessie again made the chocolate cake surprise. Thank you!

Celebrating with brunch at the Mill Race Inn on the Fox River after church at the Lutheran Church and eating those grainy “Margaret’s Chocolate Sundaes.”  Pastor J’s sermons bored me to tears, but I loved Mrs. Margitan’s singing. Sorry, I know you gleaned encouragement from his sermons, I was a little too young for all those Corrie Ten Boom quotes.

Picking almost ALL of our next door neighbor Mrs. Downs’ tulips and giving them to you. I was little then and would not do that today, as an adult. You made me apologize. Now I buy your tulips at Andrew’s Garden or Marianos.

Serving you breakfast in bed when we were little and trying to make the tray look as pretty as the one in one of my favorite childhood books, Bread and Jam for Francis.

This included a vase of violets which Francis somehow managed to have inside her lunch box.

Creating homemade cards with lots of decimated paper doilies pasted and then glued on to make them look fancy.

Chocolate cake, chocolate sundaes, chocolate fudge, chocolate kisses…chocolate.

I want to thank you for corrupting me with chocolate. I remember you making Kappa Alpha Theata’s hot fudge sundae sauce (Prissy’s sauce) and bringing us hot fudge sundaes after we’d gone to bed. This happened in the summer when you put us to bed at 7:00p.m. despite the bright light outside. We hated going to bed so early, thankfully you improved our lives by bringing us those sundaes in bed. Also, dad would make his chocolate fudge at night and bring us pieces of fudge in bed. This is a bit unusual since parents tend to worry about the state of their kids’ teeth and cavities, but this was back in the days of our baby teeth so I guess you figured it didn’t matter— they’d fall out anyway. Thank you for doing us this incredible kindness. It must have made quite an impression since I remember it. The JOY of waking up in the morning with a dried up hot fudge smeared glass bowl on my nightstand or crumbs of chocolate fudge on a small plate. Thank you, thank you! 

We can also thank Goggie and Jessie for our love of chocolate. They began the tradition of making the “Brown Beauty” birthday cakes with the melted hot icing poured over them. Goggie used to serve the cake with icing in her dining room at the Valencia, but always with a pitcher of Aunt Jessie’s hot icing on the table so we could pour on more! She also poked the cake with a toothpick before icing it to help the one-of-a-kind chocolate seep inside the cake.This is the recipe we all use today and when our Jessie brings us those surprise cakes she uses it too. Do you remember the secret ingredient in that cake? If not, I’ll tell you when we have it for Mother’s Day this year, and we will have champagne and we will toast ALL the healthcare workers and staff at Wyndemere who are going way beyond the normal reach of their jobs to keep you healthy and safe.

When I left a bottle of face lotion in the bins stacked in the hallway outside the front door, because it must sit for 24 hours before they can bring it to you, I had to use a pen from the ziplock bag labeled “clean pens” and then place the pen in the bag labeled “used pens” to avoid any germs getting to you. All of this takes careful management and creativity and your healthcare workers are overseeing every detail so thank them today when you see them! Don’t hug them until the quarantine lifts, but thank them!

All my Mother’s Day love every day,