Column: Mother’s day is so very important


No one knows, for sure, how much importance people place on Mother’s Day.

For my family, it is an important day.

My sisters and I revered my parents. We would always honor them on their special days.

There is another side to my family story, untold.

My family is an Ohio phenomenon.

That of my late husband John, a Colorado and California coastal one.

One of the things that always fascinated me about John was that he grew up in Colorado, Eaton, to be specific.

His father had been an All American football player at Colorado State University.

His mother was a beautiful apparition who had roots in California.

And, she had been in the movies.

I was once thrilled when John played me a tape of shots from the film, “Footlight Parade.”

This was done by Busby Berkley. This guy was known for his fantasmagoric scenes, where there would be synchornized swimmers. Beautiful women, in uniform fashion, going down dizzying waterfalls.

John’s mom was the woman who got to guide the lead female character in “Footlight Parade” down the waterfall.

Turns out, this actress, in a film about water, couldn’t swim.

Looking at shots from that film now, I can see that his mother, Pat (Ethel Irene Hyde), wore a different swimsuit concoction than others in the movie. I guess this was because she was supposed to look just like the lead actress.

Her side of the family, with roots in California, had other stories to tell.

One of the family portraits we carried around with us was of this other fantastically beautiful woman, reputed to have been involved with Jack London.

Oh, yes.

People say there are many amazing stories coming out of California, and I guess my spouse’s family was part of all that.

I never had a chance to meet John’s mom. He and I were together in Iowa and Washington, D. C.

When she passed away, we flew to Colorado to settle estate matters. This is how we came to acquire the remarkable things she and her spouse, Ken Hyde, had left.

I had found this cardboard wrapped package in our basement, never opened.

When I got to Ohio, I opened it. It was a picture of John’s dad, with one of his football teams. He had coached, then acquired a clothing store in Eaton. (I still have some of his wooden hangers — Ken Hyde, Clothier).

I shipped that photograph off to one of my stepsons, oddly enough, living in California. This is Patrick Kiplinger (Kip) Hyde.

The portrait of the woman, supposedly once with Jack London, hangs in one room of my house.

In another unopened parcel found after I moved back to Ohio, there were several photographs of my mother-in-law.

In one, she was in her “Footlight Parade” attire.

John’s mom, after leaving movie life, took up painting. She did oils and china painting.

One painting I brought I had been intending to get reframed, and hung with honor.

It was a bright rendition of a midway in a fair, complete with ferris wheel and other rides. That painting was taken out of my hands by a person who shall remain nameless, but was a dishonest culprit, promising to help me restore my art work.

It’s hard to truly honor mothers, any parent.

Husband John is no longer here to do that.

I hope my effort does them well.

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McZENA MUSE

Louise Swartzwalder

 

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