52 Ancestors: A Mother’s Day Remembrance

Posted by: Eileen A. Souza

This photo has a story.

My mother, Marguerite Noble Furlani, was born 21 May 1918 in Ranshaw, Coal Township, Northumberland County, Pennsylvania. She died of emphysema 25 May 1985 (4 days after her 67th birthday) in Prospect Park, Delaware County, Pennsylvania. In 1985, Mother’s Day fell on the 12th of May.

While cleaning out her belongings I found a black and white photo that I had never seen. I asked my Dad, William C. Furlani, about it. He told me my mother was 23 when this was taken. Since they were married in 26 July 1941 and she would have been 23 on her birthday of 21 May 21 1941, I suspect this may have been a birthday photo.

I asked my Dad about the color of her dress and secretly took the photo to an expert in coloring photos. He hand-colored this photo beautifully. I had it framed and gave it to my Dad for Christmas 1985. He opened it and cried. This is the first time I ever saw my Dad cry. When my Dad died in 1989, I took the photo, in its frame home with me, and it has the place of honor in my living room.

I think my Mom, who was known as Mickey, would be very pleased if I would honor her for her most cherished activity—10 pin bowling. I found 143 articles in the Chester/Delaware County Times about my mother. They all featured her bowling wins.

 

The Bowling Team late 1960s or early 1970s. Mom is 3rd from the left

The Bowling Team late 1960s or early 1970s. Mom is 3rd from the left

 

She was about 38 years old the first time she went bowling in 1956. She joined a team in a league. That year she entered the Chester City tournament and won! Over her entire bowling career, her average was never under 200. She probably could have gone pro but, in those days, women stayed at home with their families. She bowled until she could no longer perform due to the illness that would eventually kill her.

One of my favorite memories is when the left-handed bowler Earl Anthony visited our area. Somehow or another, he and my mother met and he was so impressed with her skills that he gave her some pointers to improve her game. I remember her telling me that he laid in the alley and had her practice rolling the ball down the alley without hitting him.

My mother was an active woman. She knew everyone in town. We lived in Essington, Tinicum Township, Delaware County, Pennsylvania. I loved to go with her as she ran errands and visited folks around town. I remember that her friends called her gas-a** Mickey because she was always on the move.

She taught me everything I know about cooking. I made shoo fly pie, pot pie or bot boi (a Pennsylvania Dutch soup using flat noodles) and potato bread with the best of them thanks to her Pennsylvania German heritage.

Most of all, I remember her taking care of me through my many illnesses and broken bones. I broke my left arm (I’m left-handed) three times as a child. The first time I was four and fell down the back steps into a pile of bricks wearing my Mom’s high heels. The second break occurred when I was in second grade and fell out of a tree. The third time, I was racing in a roller derby, fell and someone skated over my arm (by accident). By this time, my Mom knew the routine; so, she made a makeshift splint using a rolled newspaper, told me to sit down and eat my supper, then we went to the emergency room.

I lost her too early to COPD at the age of sixty-seven. Mom, you will always be with me in my heart and in my memories.

Happy Mother Day, Mom!

 

The 52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks challenge, initiated by Amy Johnson Crow, is a series of weekly prompts to get you to think about an ancestor and share something about them. The guesswork of “who should I write about” is taken care of. This week’s theme is Mother’s Day.  #52Ancestors

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8 Responses to 52 Ancestors: A Mother’s Day Remembrance

  1. I greatly enjoyed reading about your mother, gas-a** Mickey! Isn’t it a joy to be able to keep our loved ones’ memories alive by writing about who they were and what made them so dear.

  2. Wonderful memory. Thanks for publishing this. The picture is charming. I can imagine your dad being so touched and overwhelmed by the memory of the beautiful girl he married. Stories like this always make me smile. Thanks again, and Happy Mother’s Day.
    Margo

  3. Gail says:

    Enjoyed your post about your mother. She was a very pretty lady!

  4. It’s so much fun reading everyone’s posts today, but the colorized photo of your mom is absolutely stunning. She was a beautiful young woman – that picture could have been of a 40s movie star.

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