This morning, as I looked out across Pensacola Beach, I realized that this is most likely the last time I will see Pensacola. I grew up here and lived here for a total of 24 years. I moved away 27 years ago in 1991, so I have not lived here longer than I lived here. Today, the only reason I can foresee for visiting Pensacola in the future would be to attend a friend’s daughter’s wedding or the Blue Angels beach airshow. I think it is this finality that is making me feel sentimental this morning.
Pensacola was a nice place to grow up. I don’t think I had an idyllic childhood, but I’m not bitter about it, either. My mother encouraged all her children to leave Pensacola and see the world and we did. Later in life, when no one lived nearby to take care of her, she might have regretted her decision. She gave us a sense of adventure and I’m looking forward to all the other places I will go in the future. Goodbye Pensacola.
At 10:00 this morning we had a Memorial Service for my Mom at St Paul’s Catholic Church in Pensacola. It was a beautiful service, particularly the music and singing. I believe Mom would have been happy with how it all turned out. Her granddaughter Daisy gave a touching eulogy at the end.
Immediately after the church service, we drove to Bayview Memorial Park. It was the normal funeral procession complete with motorcycle Police escort. The service at the grave side didn’t take more than ten minutes. Father gave my sister Martha a small crucifix, which Martha gave to Daisy as a memento for speaking at the funeral. We planned to wait and watch the cemetery workers bury the urn, but a rain shower blew in right as the priest finished the service.
Afterward, we went to McGuire’s Irish Pub for lunch. We had almost 35 people attend. I believe everyone had a great time. I saw several people, including myself, order my Mom’s favorite drink, a frozen Irish coffee.
I’m certain my Mom would be impressed with the attendance at her Memorial Service. Her three sisters Rita, Dorothy, and Jane were there. All her children, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren attended. Her niece Jennifer and nephew John Vincent came from Northern California. Her niece and godchild Lynda and her sister Margo came from Texas. Her nephew Joe came from Toronto. Her niece Ann came from Georgia. It was really nice to have so many family members make the journey to attend.
After lunch, Shari, my sister Nancy, and I drove by Mom’s old house and along Tanglewood Drive. The first thing I noticed was that the new owners removed all the Gerber Azaleas from the front flower bed. I remember how hard I worked to clear out that flower bed and plant those white azaleas. I also remembered how each year Mom would tell me how full of flowers and how beautiful they were.
The whole family gathered together again around 5:30 at the house my sister Anita rented. We visited for the rest of the night. Anita ordered pizzas and Martha brought the left-over bar-b-que from the gathering at her house the night before. It was so nice to be able to visit with everyone. My cousin Jennifer Bailey took the photo below of some of us.
Tonight, we attended the Georgia Special Olympic Games Opening Ceremony where Albert was awarded the 2019 Male Athlete of the Year. The award is more of an acknowledgement of his activities outside of Special Olympics, but he is quite an athlete. Congratulations!!