P's & Q's
We all have milestones in our life when we can identify a “growing-up” moment; those events that we can look back on and say changed our behavior and our way of thinking.
As a child, I always heard the expression, “remember your P's and Q's.” Whenever I went into a birthday party, Mom would call out,”remember your P's and Q's!”
The problem was that I had no idea what p's and q's meant. I would just call back “I will” and skip off to the party. When I skipped back to the car, Mom would always ask if I had remembered my p's and q's and I would shake my head affirmatively or mumble uh uh.
Many times I would avoid the hosting mom because I did not really know what I was supposed to be saying. Then the day came when Mom stayed and helped at one of the parties. I knew she would end with her routine question and I was certain that I would get caught in a lie. I hovered around the host mom hoping that my mom would think that I was busy remembering my p's and q's. Finally, seeing Mom approaching, I tugged on the hostess and blurted almost as a question, “I'm supposed to remember my p's and q's?!”The mom looked down at me and said, “why your welcome! Thank you for coming!” When Mom and the hostess were saying their goodbyes, Mom looked down at me and asked me again the P& Q question and the hostess interjected something like, “why yes, she did. She was very polite.
Knowing that Mom was always going to ask me or the hosting parents the same question if I had spoken with them , I continued to go up to them and say “I'm remembering my P's & Q's”. I knew that I would never be allowed to sneak out to the car and avoid the head of the household. I would have to speak to them in a polite and formal manner, even if I delayed it until the last minute. But knowing that it would be the first question out of Mom's mouth forced me to get it over with.
But here is where the growing up moment occurred. One day, while a mother was speaking with my mom I listened to her tell mom how much she appreciated my thank you. No one at the party, including any parents had shown their appreciation for the invitation.
First of all, I finally realized that saying p's and q's meant saying thank you! Yeah! Over time, I learned to actually say “thank you for inviting me”.
But secondly, I saw that it put me in good graces with adults. I was suddenly thought of as more mature than others my age simply by saying thank you.
And over time I said thank you even when I really didn't mean it. Mom taught me that it really didn't matter if I had a good time or not or if I didn't win any prizes, that I still needed to say thank you. And now, as an adult, I know that it is not a matter of how I feel but how I can build others up with two simple words.
Another task that revolved around birthday parties was the dreaded task of writing thank you cards. Mom never failed to produce a list of names with corresponding gifts right after the party was over. I would hear the irritating question, did you write your thank yous? I dreaded this task and thought it was so unfair that my birthday and Christmas were so close together. But as an adult I can see the lessons that this task taught me: that relatives like childlike scrawled cards and put them on their frigs, that I learned to address envelopes and use stamps, that I got to practice cursive and put hearts as dots on I's, and if I used a bigger font or smaller cards I wouldn't have to write as much!
I once played a game with my husband's family where they all had to vote on the characteristic that best described me. Out of the whole list they unanimously voted “Thankful.” This surprised me at first until I reviewed my upbringing. I was raised by a mother that believed in the importance of expressing thankfulness and letting others know how much they are appreciated.
Very few of you here today have not received a written note from my Mom. Just look around this room and imagine how many notes she has written expressing her appreciation of you're your kindness, that someone had thought of her, had taken time out of their day to do something that she appreciated, or remembering their significant day.
And in typical Frances style, she would always remember something from a past conversation or event, often including a cutout magazine or newspaper article or brochure amazing us that she could even remember our mentioning anything about the subject.
Over there (point or indicate where) you will see moms card commode. It has always been packed with stationary and cards. I open it and think of all the cards and letters that she has written. These boxes are a piece of her history: perhaps a gift from one of you, bird and flowers on every box reflecting her love of gardening and chick a dees.
The traditional letter writing that my mom so enjoyed may become a thing of the past but I can't allow myself to believe that telling someone how thankful you are will become obsolete! One of moms favorite cards this past year was from her exercise friends on Mercer Island filled with signatures and saying that they were sending a big hug her way.
Take a little of my moms thankfulness with you today. As you leave, feel free to take a card, or even a handful of cards, and take time to write someone. Send them a big hug, recognize an event or just keep in touch but always remember your P's and Q's.
I met Fran in later life-about 16 years ago when we moved here from Houston. We met in refresher bridge classes at the senior center which then formed into a two table group that played weekly. Her sharp mind was apparent in her bridge moves and her kindness and consideration of others were always apparent. Our friendship blossomed into home visits and shared October birthdays at local restaurants followed by jaunts to local interests. She "adopted" me as a newcomer, taking me on the local Lake Washington cruise & supplying me with many local travel brochures, history, readings & lore. Our friendship developed & we grew closer. She was a born gentle-lady, exceptionally considerate, thoughtful & wise. She never made an unkind comment or action. Following the auto accident things deteriorated & her physical condition worsened, so her 3 lovely daughters made the oh-so-wise move of bringing her closer under their loving care. My last phone message from her ended with her saying, "Love you much". We always knew that love was mutual and precious to us. I miss her terribly. Love to Nancy, Ian and all of her handsome family.
Dear Jan, Nan and Stephanie, I was very sad to hear about your mom passing away late in August. So many of my memories of growing up in Evergreen Village include your mom and dad and you. I always knew that your parents were strong, kind, reliable and honest people - even when I was only 8 years old. My parents, Luke and Arlo, enjoyed their friendship so much. Your parents graciously let us build our many tents in the backyard and play tetherball in the front yard. Picking cherries from the tree in the back was a big treat. Your mom's apple fritters were and still are at the top of my list of most favorite breakfast treats. Fran kept me in the loop over the years of the changes in our old neighborhood and I always enjoyed our phone calls when we would catch up on the news. I was amazed that she would always remember and ask about our four sons. Fran and Sherm have left a loving legacy to their family and friends. How proud you must be of your parents and I'm sad for how much I know you will miss them.
Love Always, Pat Dailey Vigeland
I am sorry that both of your parents are gone. Both of your parents were really wonderful people. It has been long time since the last time I ran into them walking in the neighborhood. However, I think of you all everyday that I walk by your house. I know that you will miss them.
Our hearts go out to you all. Your parents were wonderful people who modeled how to be good citizens, with a broad view of the issues, not just how things effected them. We very much enjoyed them both.
Our prayers are with you all.