Staying In Focus: A Timeline of a Lifetime

009I am working on a timeline for my mother’s birthday. 010 I hope she will be up to having  a party. She just had her second round of chemo on Monday and yesterday was very ill. She is staying hydrated but doesn’t want to eat as she doesn’t want to get sick again. I now can see why people with cancer lose so much weight and are so weak. At this point, the cure is far worse than the disease, but we know that won’t be so if she decides to opt out. She has 10 more treatments to go, if she can just hang on. I do so hope she can get to  feeling a little better by Saturday. My sister and I plan to take her to Lovely Lady to get fitted for a wig, and then out to lunch (something mild) for some special  mother/daughters time.

012And speaking of time, making her timeline has been quite eye-opening. I’ ve included not only family milestones. but historical and cultural ones as well. 90 years covers a lot of territory.  Here are some of the things my mother has seen happen or have  been invented in her 90 years:

The Great Depression
The attack on Pearl Harbor
World War II, the Korean War, the Cold War, The Vietnam War, The wars in Iraq and 004Afghanistan
The Cuban Missile Crisis
The assassination of JFK
The Civil Rights Movement, the Feminist Movement, the Environmental Movement
Passage of the 15th Amendment giving African-Americans the right to vote
The invention of 45 rpm records, 8 track cassettes,audio cassettes, cds, mp3s and iPods
invention of microwave ovens, laser surgery, CAT and PET scans and MRIs
The Internet (the word wide web), Facebook
Global Warming
the advent of large corporations – IBM, Walmart, Amazon
transistor radios, car radios, black and white television, color television, VCRs, DVD players, Tivo,  DVRs, Home Box Office,  Movies on Demand, Netflicks, Streaming, reality TV
the invention of video games from pong to CGIs, MMORPGs.
Polaroid cameras, SLR, digital cameras, digital SLRs, cameras in phones, Photoshop
touch tone phones, mobile phones, cell phones, smart phones
personal computers, laptops, e readers, iPads, home printers, scanners, fax machines GPS
man reaches orbit, man lands on moon, space shuttles invented, Challenger disaster,
the International Space Station built, shuttles retired, US lands rovers on Mars, pictures from space ( Apollo and Voyager Program)
atom bombs dropped on Japan, nuclear arms race begins, rise of terrorism, 9/11
slang phrases :groovy, cool, far out, just sayin, one up, fly, lol, rotf


Isaac Wetzel


Jeanette and her fiancee, Jarred Tafaro

I could go on forever. It ‘s an interesting phenomenon to see  how we humans adapt to constant change. Yet, while all this was happening, my mother’s life was unfolding. She grew up as part of a large family living in a small town in northern New Jersey. She graduated from high school, worked in a munitions  factory during WWII, then married , raised her family,volunteered in the schools, worked with her husband in his plastics manufacturing business, then retired to North Carolina where she has enjoyed watching her grandchildren and two great-grandchildren grow. She has weathered her share of challenges with dignity and grace,including the deaths of her husband, her son, John, and every other member of her birth family, including their spouses.She is, in this respect, the last woman standing. And so she is  handling this latest challenge with courage and well. This i s her third battle with cancer.  But at 90 , though the will be strong, the body is tired, and I’m not sure how long she can hold out. I hope she can, though, so she can attend the bridal shower of her granddaughter, Jeanette, celebrate my birthday on May 16th (#60!) and her party on May 18th and the graduation of her grandson, Isaac , from Brunswick County Early College High School. . In June we have Isaac’s graduation from high school, and Jeanette’s marriage to Jarred Tafaro on June 22nd. So much to celebrate in a life of 90 years. I used a gold ribbon to run through mom’s timeline, because she has lived an exemplary life , and I believe she’s earned the gold. I was sure not to end the  ribbon, but to shape the end in an arrow and hopefully have years to add onto the magnificent life of a gracious lady.


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