Sunday, January 30, 2011

" The Spelling Bee Incident "

It's been a long, cold winter. I've had plenty of time for thoughts and memories to roam free in mind although I've also had plenty of time for absolutely nothing to roam free in my mind as well.

I have been thinking about my mother quite a lot this winter. It has been just over a year since her passing and this February 20th will be her second birthday since her arrival in heaven.

Most days I feel as though I'm alright with the fact that she isn't here with us anymore but in reality I know better. Her passing is still affecting me in ways that I feel I am not quite aware of.
Last night while I was remembering things about my mother, I remembered a trait, for lack of a better word, of hers that I inherited.
That trait being her hysterical fits of laughter. 

If you've read my blog long enough you may remember me telling of these fits. They come at the drop of a hat, over something meaningless or not so meaningless. They can emerge anywhere at anytime of day. And I have yet to meet anyone who shares this trait more strongly than my mother and I did.
I am speaking of uncontrollable laughter. Rolling on the floor trying not to wet yourself laughter. Tears streaming down your face, sore stomach muscle laughter.

This was something that my mother and I had to keep in check. Especially when together and when in public as all it would take is one word, a glance at each other and we knew.
We knew that we were risking ridicule and stares from strangers.
This could be especially dangerous for us during church services.
 No offense Pastor. Mom loved your sermons.
I'm going back to 1994. We lived in a different house back then, just a few miles from the one we would end up buying. Our present home.
I was pregnant with my Katie who is now 16.
My oldest, my son Frank was 16 at the time and a bit of a quite  person he was. And still is. Frank will only speak if he has something he feels is important to say. He is also very good at one liners.

My oldest daughter, Ginny, was 13 that year and academically brilliant. A vivacious, intelligent girl who went on in life to receive her Bachelors and Masters degrees in journalism.

Here's where my story begins. Ginny had been competing in several spelling bee's and ended up qualifying for the county spelling bee.
An exciting event for our family as you might imagine.

The following photo was taken that very year, it may have even been that very day as my mother was coming along with us to one of the local churches for the spelling bee.

My son Frank (16) now 31. My mother, just a few years older than I am now, 57 years. My daughter Ginny, (13) now 29.

My husband was home at the time and was luckily able to attend this event. Being an over-the-road truck driver he wasn't always able to see milestones in our childrens lives, so this day was a good one.

The spelling bee took place at a church in town that we had never been to. I remember Jake trying to find it and when he did there were so many cars from all of the attending families.

Once inside it was crowded and hot. I was very uncomfortable being pregnant with Katie. None the less we managed to find seating.
I remember Jake sitting on my left. My mother on my right and Frank next to my mom on her right. I was happy that we all were able to sit together, nervous and excited for Ginny who had to take her place on stage with the other contestants.

Now this is the part that I have trouble remembering. I asked Ginny about it but it seems she has trouble remembering too as she was so nervous at the time. 

We can't seem to remember how many words that she spelled correctly before being disqualified. But that doesn't really matter now, what matters is what happened when it came time for her to spell her word.
She came up to the podium. The entire church was silent. Silence is a key factor during a spelling bee. Our family was sitting there nervously awaiting the word to be given to her.

I'm sorry that I don't remember the word as what happened next was just so horribly embarrassing to me and most likely my husband as well.

The word was read. 

My son Frank, the quite one that is good with one liners, 
whispers so that only my mother and I could hear him....

"Could you spell that please?".

My mother looked at me and I at her. And that's all that it took.
We did everything in our power to hide the fact that we had burst into an hysterical fit of laughter.

We covered our mouths with our hands. Tried not to look at each other which was quite difficult to do once one of these fits came over us. Tears were streaming down our faces. Our shoulders were jerking up and down so fearsly that I am sure the people that sat behind us in the audience must have thought us totally rude or crazy. 
Probably both.

I do believe that my husband shook is head at us as he was used to these outbursts.

We tried calming ourselves by not looking at each other and taking deep breaths.

And Frank. Yes Frank. 
He just sat there with a self righteous grin on his face.

Ginny didn't go home that day with a trophy but we were all so proud of her none the less. When I asked her about this incident this morning she said that she didn't remember noticing it happen but remembered us talking about for years after the fact. 

Today I am the only one in the family that these "Incidents" still happen to as mom is gone now.

I can be on the phone with Jake or Frank or Ginny and it only takes a word, no particular word, said in a certain way to set me off.

The really funny thing about this when it happens is that on the other end of the line while I am just shrieking with laughter,
All I hear is silence and the occasional "sigh" as if to say
"There she goes again".

Still it's not nearly as fun as when mom and I would have a fit together.

But at least my family doesn't hang up on me!

Mom with Katie the day she was born. Just a few months after the spelling bee incident!



Lynilu said...

I love that kind of memory!! That is how we should remember our moms and dads and all those who are gone .... remembering the fun and/or funny things in our lives with them is such a good and healthy thing!

Thank you for sharing the memory of your mom with us. :') and :D

Jules said...

I love your memory stories about your mom. It is so neat how close you were. That's special.

Lois Evensen said...

What a wonderful story!

My daughter and I have that same (fun) "problem." I'll never forget after a long formal dinner when we were both past ready to take a restroom break (not proper at the Captain's table) when Catherine leaned over to me and, quoting the Scotty of TV fame quietly said, "Captain! She can't take any more!" I thought we were both going to wet our pants laughing. And, you know how hard it is not to laugh when you are trying not to!


Rebecca said...

How I would have loved to have been at the spelling bee - sitting behind you guys!

And Diana, I'm sure I don't have to tell you how beautiful your mother is (not "was" - because she still lives, just not the same way)! That picture shows her to be "HOLLYWOOD" beautiful!!!!

Anvilcloud said...

They say that laughter is the best medicine. I once got the giggles in front of a class. And then for some reason tried to protest that I wasn't drunk. Which made the students think that I was drunk.

Barb said...

I believe your Mom may be having hysterical laughing fits in Heaven, Di - perhaps you're not laughing alone after all. Hope your weather is nicer, and you're still dreaming about a makeover for your back yard. It was "warmer" here today, but we are told more frigid is coming.

Teresa said...

Oh Di,
I just knew it!!!I know exactly the 'fits of laughter' you experience. I have this very terrible and embarrassing habit too, and it always comes on so unexpectedly, sometimes even when I am alone, I can start having a 'laughter fit'...I have a friend that has 'laughter fits' too and when we are together, our sides hurt, and tears stream down our eyes, and people around us are sure we are crazy. I am thinking you might be that kind of friend too! Somehow I think Eileen, could be infected too!!!!

Love TT

Diana said...

Hi Lyn,
Funny thing, most of the memories that I have of mom were good. I seldom think of the bad ones.
Love Di ♥

Hi Jules,
The strange thing is that I didn't realize how close we were until she was gone. Love Di ♥

Hi Lois,
If my daughter had said that to me, I would have busted out laughing. Probably would have had to excuse myself! Love Di ♥

Diana said...

Hi Rebecca,
I'm glad that you weren't sitting behind us I was so embarrassed!
And Thank You, Mom was a beautiful woman, inside and out. Love Di ♥

Hi AC,
I'll bet your students got a kick out of just thinking that you were drunk!
Love Di ♥

Hi Barb,
I'm sure that mom is hanging out with my grandmothers and that they are all laughing!
About the weather, it's been in the 40's and sunny, finally, for two days. Now they are saying ice storms for the next three days! It's getting OLD!!! Love Di ♥

Hi T !
I am sure you are right about Eileen. How fun would it be if we could all plan a trip and just laugh and have fun?! Love Di ♥

Dee said...

Diana, What a blessing to have such good memories of your fun to be able to laugh like that...Sue and I laugh like that when we back road wander..I am one of those people who giggle or smile when they get nervous...hate that! My two Franks are just like your Frank...quiet with one liners. Must be a Frank thing. :)Have a good day and thanks for sharing your laughter. Dee

Diana said...

Hi Dee,
That would be odd if it was a "Frank" Thing!!! Love Di ♥

anupama said...

Dear Di,
Beautiful post filled with the loving memories of your beloved Mother!
Your Mom looks sooooooooo beautiful and cheerful!
I can relate so well as I often can't control my laughter.
Your Mom will be so proud of such a wonderful daughter like you!
I do enjoy being at your space.
Wishing you a wonderful night,

Lena said...

What a heart warming story, Di!
Your mum and you were so close...
Oh, girl... All I can do is send one huge hug to you... You have this way of making me smile!!

Tons of love!! XXX

DeanO said...

That is a very good story. You know the same events trigger my wife who lost her Mother 5 years ago - just before Christmas. My wife will sometimes share those times but usually she just keeps to herself, quiet and I know what's going on.
God bless,

Wanda..... said...

Your post was as warm as it was funny Di, but they always are. You do have a gift for writing and holding ones attention. Hope you continue to have your laughing fits!

Diana said...

Namaste Anu!
Thank you for your kind words. They always mean a lot to me. Mom was a beautiful person all the way through her soul! Love Di ♥

Hi Lena,
I will take that hug! You always make me smile as well! Love and a Hug to you! Love Di ♥

Hi DeanO and welcome! I lost my mother on Dec. 5th 2009 so yes it is still hard. It seemed unreal to me for the longest time. I so understand how your wife may feel. I still break down at certain times.
Thank you for visiting!
Love Di ♥

Hi Wanda,
It's been awhile but I am starting to have them again. They do feel wonderful. I hope things are alright over there. I am sorry for your families loss. Love Di ♥

GutsyWriter said...

I've only had laughing fits like that with my best friend in Denmark and we still giggle when we're together at age 53. What a great relationship you two had.

Diana said...

Hi Sonia!
Unfortunately I truly didn't realize how close we were until it was too late. But we had some great laughs!
Love Di ♥

Eileen said...

Oh, your Mom is so beautiful, and so is this post!
I loved every word!
I was laughing out loud reading it, and I so understand, Di, this happens to me often! And at the most inopportune times!
My sister and I still talk about the time we went into hysterical laughter during Mass, and my friend Barbara and I talk about the time we went into fits of laughter at the wake of a friend's father-in-law (Barbara and I had just said a prayer at the coffin, we sat down and I said I thought Toni's father-in-law looked good considering all he'd been through at the end, and Barbara starts looking all around the room and then asked me, "Where? Where do you see Toni's father-in-law?")! This same friend did it to me again during a Rosary Society meeting, I had to excuse myself because I could not stop (just as the nun was starting to pray the Rosary, Barbara was finishing a conversation about ovulating, but she said olivating instead, well, that was enough to get me started)!
And the very next day we had a morning prayer group, and the nun starts with a reading about Jesus in the Garden of OLIVES! Again, I was weeping with laughter, I had to leave the room. How rude, right? But I could not compose myself.
So I understand, Di, and it's a thousand times worse when you have someone who is just as hysterical laughing as you are. Heaven forbid you look at each other!
I'm glad you had that to share with your Mom. And what a wonderful memory of her to carry with you!

Beautiful post, Di!
Love to you, E

Eileen said...

PS ~ I just read Teresa's comment! Could you imagine us three together? Hahahahahahahahaha! What fun!

Garnetrose said...

I loved this post. I am lucky to have good memories like that with both my mom and foster mom as they were both special ladies. I think your mom is looking down on you and laughing with you when you have one of those fits of laughter. This was such a cool post about her and she must have been a wonderful lady.

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Teacher's Pet said...

Good morning, Di. I loved looking at the photos that you posted with your blog. As I click on them, I hug you....knowing how much you miss your Mom. Your stories of the fits of laughter that you and your Mom shared warm my heart...just as your love for her continues to keep those happy memories ever close to you. I love you, my friend....

Ginnie said...

Laughter is good medicine (so it's been written) but I, like you and your Mom, have had quite a few experiences where laughter was totally out of place. The one I remember most clearly was when a College friend of one of my sisters became ordained as a minister and was eating dinner at our house. My mother asked him to say "Grace" and as we bowed our heads all 4 of my sisters and I broke out into loud guffaws!

Your tribute to your Mom is lovely.

Arlee Bird said...

Since laughter can be so contagious, the two of you together must have been an unpredictable powderkeg of funniness. Sometimes I find myself stifling laughter at innapropriate times.

Tossing It Out and the Blogging From A to Z April Challenge 2011

Brenda said...

Oh, I am jealous! I want to have a laugh like that! One of my sisters and several of my cousins can laugh like that. It makes me feel so good to hear it. Unfortunately, my laugh for the most part is only a chuckle. Good for you! I am sure others enjoy you!