The Art of Aging

I phoned my mother this past Saturday, May 19. It was her birthday - she turned ninety-five. I was amazed at how strong her voice was. We often think the aged are frail and wispy.
Not my mother.
Marjorie May McFadyn was born in the year 1917 in Parkbeg, Saskathewan. There was one more year left in the War to end all Wars - World War I. Around 1935 she graduated and moved to Moose Jaw, Saskatchewan for nursing college. Four short years later, Germany invaded Poland and instigated the start of World War II.
While at nursing college she bonded with three other women and every year, for as long as I can remember, they reunited for a weekend of laughter and memories. My  mother is the only survivor of this cadre of friends.
One of these ladies was her bestest friend - Mae. This was the greatest friendship my mother had, spanning time and distance. When Mae married in 1943, mother was her maid of honor. At this wedding, the best man was a handsome army sergeant - Erhard Danielson. Tall and athletic, he cut a fine figure in his uniform. For two years Erhard and Marjorie wrote one another. Erhard propsed in a letter and she responded yes. Early text messaging here.
The war ended and they began married life. My brothers were born in 1948 and 1953, I followed in 1960 (I'll wait while you do the math)..... My mother nursed until she retired at the age of sixty-five, and even then it was under great protest. She wasn't ready to retire, she loved her profession so much, and her love of medicine translated into my brothers. My eldest brother is a doctor and my second brother was a psychiatric nurse in the army.
What I admire most is her practicality and common sense. Mom never gets excited. I guess because she's seen it all. She's travelled to England and Europe. She got her driver's license for the first time when she turned sixty-four. You read that right. Sixty-four. I aged ten years taking her around prior to the driving test. That may be the only time I saw her a bit flustered. It can get dicey when you step on the gas pedal instead of the brake and a pick-up truck almost backs into you.
I asked her what did she do on her birthday - anything special?
She responded, as only my mother could, "Oh, nothing much. Watched TV and then slept. I felt lazy today."
Be lazy, Marjorie May McFadyn-Danielson. You've earned it!


  1. AnonymousMay 20, 2012

    This is such a wonderful tribute to an amazing woman and mother!
    Funny (as in strange) I was reading all this dreary stuff about the NATO summit, the studen protests in Montreal, wondering how we survive all this avalance of bad news and then looking at my inbox I saw your "invitation" to tead this beautiful post.
    Happy belated birthday Madison's Mom!
    Annie Q.

    1. AnonymousMay 21, 2012

      And of course, being the queen of typos, I meant "read"...

  2. My mom is 87 and she's amazing, too. What a wonderful blog.

  3. What a beautiful woman! I know you are proud of her, Madison. Thanks for sharing your tribute.

  4. My, what a wonderful tribute...and hey, I was born in 1961, we're practically twins :-)

    Lovely seeing you here!


  5. Lovely post, Madison. Your mother sounds wonderful!

  6. Happy Birthday to your mom, Maddie. What an amazing role model and inspiration to us all!

  7. I wanna be just like your mom when I grow up! Lucky you to still have her with you.

  8. I loved reading about the friendship that spanned time and distance. What memories she must charish. And the things she must have seen and experienced during a time I can't even begin to imagine. What an awesome tribute.

  9. Beautiful said, what a wonderful tribute to your mother. Thanks for sharing.