Laughing Dog Arts

Saturday, May 10, 2014

Miss you, Mom

I have wanted to write a blog tribute to my Mom for quite some time now but things keep coming up and I kept putting it off.
So today, in honor of Mother's Day I am finally putting together my tribute to Patricia Ruth Cherkezov.
Patsy Ruth Cherkezov

 When she was a little girl, growing up in Portland, Oregon, she was called Patsy.
Mom's parents, Theodore and Betty Cherkezov

 Her parents emigrated from Bulgaria to Portland, Oregon in the 1920's.  That is a whole other story that I will tell on another day.  I'm sharing this photo of my grandparents because I love it.  They played music together and sang Bulgarian folk songs.  I have Grandpa's Dobro mandolin but I gave Grandma's guitar to one of my nephew's.  He is very trustworthy and knows that it is a special guitar with history.

Betty Cherkezov and baby Patsy, 1931

 Mom's parents spoke mainly Bulgarian at home and so did Mom as a child.  She didn't learn to speak English as her main language until she began school.  I recall her telling me that there were words in Bulgarian that had no counterpart in English.  For instance, in Bulgarian there was a word that meant what your socks do when they fall down inside your shoes and bunch up around the arch of your foot.  I don't remember what that word is though.  The only words I remember of Bulgarian I can't say here.

Patsy, her brother Stan and Sparky

I must have gotten my love of animals and especially dogs from my mom.  Funny that I remember the dog's name too.

Mom graduated from Grant High School in Portland, Oregon, must have been in 1948.  Soon thereafter she met my Dad, Bill Brattain.

Pat and Bill

They got married in 1949 and the babies started coming.  First Rick, then Steve, and then me!
Unfortunately that marriage didn't last and they were divorced in the mid 50's.  Mom stayed slim and pretty and always had a great tan.  She loved laying out in the sun, listening to the radio and smoking her cigarettes.  That was what got her in the end, those cigarettes. 
Mom and little Jannie

She loved music, loved to dance and joke around.   She loved Elvis Presley and Waylon Jennings, always had the pop or country music station on the radio.  Everyone called her Pat during the years she was raising us kids.  She married a second time and she and Dex had my sister Debbie.
Rick, Steve, Mom, Jan, Debbie, and Mike, my first dog.  I love this photo of us.  See how I only have eyes for the dog?

Mom was a typical housewife in those days, staying home, cooking and cleaning, ironing, smoking cigarettes, taking care of the yard, growing flowers and vegetables, visiting with the neighbor ladies who would stop in for coffee and a chat.  We lived in a typical little suburban neighborhood with houses all around.  Once when she came to my school play, wearing a turquoise blue blouse and a modest black skirt with flat shoes and I knew she was the prettiest Mom there!  Mom and Dex liked to get together with friends and play the record player loud, drinking beer and partying till the wee hours.  We didn't have a lot of money but we always had enough of what we needed.  Mostly what we had was Mom's firm hand that wasn't afraid to give us a swat on the butt when needed and I'm sure we needed it plenty of times!  But the love was definitely there and we all grew up to be good people.  We siblings are still close, thanks to our Mom raising us well. 

Steve, Jan Debbie, Rick and Mom

 I can remember hearing her in the kitchen, cooking beans for dinner, singing a silly song from the radio, "♫My mommy said not to put beans in my ears, beans in my ears, beans in my ears!♫"

She did her best for us but I think she wasn't as happy as she could/might have been.  She had an artistic side and I wish now I had one of her oil paintings.  I have an afghan she knitted and a small stained glass hummingbird she made.  Her marriage to Dex wasn't all sunshine and roses and ended in the '70's.  She worked in an office to earn money after that.  She was a very fast typist.
She took pride in us kids.  She raised us to be healthy and happy adults.
 Sometimes we raised her!

Hal and Patty

She had a boyfriend for awhile who called her Trish (her full name was Patricia), but then she met Hal and married one last time and it was a good marriage.  Not so wild as her days with Dex.  Hal and Mom were both slim and youthful and liked to go out dancing.  I loved seeing them together, they were the cutest couple.  Hal took the most loving care of his Patty after she got sick.  I remember the doctor at the hospital asking if they were newly weds because they were always so lovey dovey but they had been married about 18 years by then.  They would sit in one chair together, both so small they could fit.   Hal was such a blessing to Mom.  He stopped working and took care of her at home.  She passed in her own bed with all of us kids by her side and the radio was playing a song by Neil Diamond from the Jonathan Livingstone Seagull album, something about flying away up to the stars.  It seemed so appropriate.  I know Mom is flying free now, no more worries.

Aunt Edith, Mom and Me in 1992, the summer before she passed

She lived her life as best she could.  One of my favorite memories of her in her later years is watching her in the living room, holding her little black cat Toro in her arms and dancing around the room, singing along with Bob Segar, "♫Keep playing that rock n roll, that kinda music just soothes your soul, I like that old time rock n roll♫"

Love you Mom.  Miss you always.  Happy Mother's Day.