My parents were immigrants from Croatia
Moms' closets hold life's lessons
By CHRISTINE COX
Tribune Staff Writer
Nancy Lucey of South Bend was amazed to discover her mother's wedding veil and shoes, as well as wedding photographs of her parents, while cleaning out their house after their deaths. Her mother, Nancy, whose maiden name was Stipulin, married Lucey's father, Joseph Brozovich, in 1925.
Tribune Photo/BARBARA ALLISON
Darlene Johnson and Shannon Stuart with Levi, 3 months. Shannon hired a private investigator to find her mother's birth mother.
Tribune Photo/SANTIAGO FLORES
A frosting flower from a decades-old wedding cake. Strappy high heels stacked in their boxes. A life lesson in giving even when you have next to nothing.
Mothers' closets held them all.
In honor of Mother's Day, The Tribune invited readers to share stories of their mothers' closets, jewelry boxes and other places moms claim as their own. The 11 women who responded had childhoods wealthy enough for nannies and poor enough for only one family closet. One story revolves around a dance band; another is tied to an oval window.
In every piece, the writers cherish the discoveries they made about their mothers, themselves and life through a closet door. Here is the first:
Romance and love were two words not frequently mentioned in my childhood home. My parents were immigrants from Croatia who worked diligently to provide for my two older brothers and me. Tasks were completed because it was expected of us.
It wasn't until my parents had died, Mom in 1978 and Dad in 1987, and I was cleaning out their home, that I thought about them as young people in love. In a box in an upstairs closet, I was startled to find my mother's wedding veil, her shoes, and a remarkably preserved wedding cake flowerette made of frosting.
In another box, I found their wedding pictures. Here they were young, beautiful people celebrating their marriage with friends and relations. My mother was wearing the wedding gown she had sewn herself. My father was dapper in a black suit with white bib and tie, a small boutonniere tucked in his jacket.
I sat back, when I found the box, to think about my parents as young people in the blush of love. My mother was 35 when I was born, my father 40. I had only known them when they were middle-aged and older, working constantly.
-- Nancy Lucey of South Bend on her late mother, Nancy Brozovich