Monday, February 19, 2007

George Birthington’s Washday

This phrase was a joke my father always made every year which used to embarrass me when I was in high school, but now makes me miss him and his light humorous comments on life. Now that we have Presidents’ Day, we slide over the real birth dates of Lincoln and Washington. To further confuse the issue, both of my parents had February birthdays that were close. I have to look into the genealogical records to remember which is which. My father, Clarence “Andy” Anderson was born February 19, 1896 in Taylorville, Illinois, and my mother, Winifred Barnes Anderson was born February 21, 1895 in Kansas City, Missouri. More than a century ago.

They have both been gone a long time now. When I lived in Missouri I could visit the gravesites in Forest Hill Cemetery and many times Windy went with me to tend the burial places, and to leave flowers and mementos. Once, when Andy was visiting, he left a half-buried baseball by my mother’s headstone. I had told him many times that she shared his love of baseball and she never missed a radio broadcast of the World Series. Her team was the Brooklyn Dodgers.

They were wonderful parents and I have many happy memories of my growing up years. They passed on to me a passion for freedom, a legacy of protest of war and other injustices against mankind, and a commitment to protecting the environment. They taught me to read at an early age and filled our home with books and conversation. Few knew my father was deaf. He spoke very clearly, read lips, and with the help of a hearing aid kept up with all that was going on around him. He was an early advocate for the disabled and worked all his life to open doors for other deaf people.

Much of what I believe in today and most of what I do to make the world a better place is a result of growing up their child. They gave me love and wonderful gifts for which I am eternally grateful. At this time of year, I want to honor their memory.


Post a Comment

<< Home