HAPPY BIRTHDAY MOM!!!!
My Dear,Sweet, Mom turned 91 Years Old Yesterday, so did her twin brother. Her cousin turns 91 also next week. That blows me away! That’s a long time to do anything - HOW LONG IS IT?
My mom has had approximately...
3,220,000,000 - Heartbeats
taken 12,088,800 - Breaths
A quarter of a million yawns -
and has spent 28 years sleeping.
I could keep on going - but why? We all can agree, at 91 years old you have seen more than your share of Goldfish Rodeos.
Most of the folk on my mothers side live well into their eighties and then some. Good clean country-folk livin’. Poppy (my Moms father) was - 81 Big Mommy ( my Grandmother) - 79 Aunt Ollie, Aunt Mack, Aunt Janey all my grandmothers sisters lived well into their eighties. And most of the Uncles and male cousins lived longer than the average at that time. Good clean country-folk livin’. Most of the demons under control.
The demons were assigned instead to the nine brothers on my fathers side. Those boys, although good honest men, tended to smoke, drink, and chase women until they would either fall off a horse, drink bad moonshine, or get run over by a train and die around age 40. But more than half, my father included, with the “help” of a strong woman, got a grip on those demons, who where probably after my Grandfather anyway. A Quarter-Cherokee Baptist missionary sent to convert the heathen red man in Oklahoma. My Daddy died Feb 20, 1984. He and my Mom were soul mates, and she still misses him everyday, even after thirty years.
Of course you are thinking - how does this relate to Andy - No you’re not, you want to hear more about my Mom... it’s was her day!! Hip Hip Hooray! She is very modest but not to the point of shyness, she believes in good manners and to her that means - if you haven’t anything nice to say - then don’t say anything at all. Unless you make her angry - You have no idea what this 4’9” petite woman of mystery can do.
My mom was born in a small village in Tuscany between the wars and has a fascinating story that I am just now allowed to tell.
As a member of the French Resitance during WWII, she would use her petite frame to pose as a french school girl who would somehow manage to get lost near German Military Installations "Je suis désolé, mais je suis juste une petite fille. J'ai perdu mon chemin. Vous êtes les soldats allemands fort et beau, peut-être pourriez-vous m’aider?” she would say to the soldiers, in baby-doll French. Most Germans are good people and wouldn’t want to not trust a little girl so they would escort her home. They took her home unawares she had been snooping around most of the day taking pics with her spy camera located in her glasses ( yes even back then they had the technology.) All the time asking the enemy questions, in broken German that the soldiers found endearing, that would be of benefit to the Allies. "Welche Rolle Deutschland ihr Jungs aus? diese Flugzeuge?”
The only picture of her we have from that period of her life (for obvious reasons) is this passport photo taken in 1943.
As a matter of fact, most of the details of her involvement with the resistance were classified top secret until 2013. My sister and I had no idea. None of her 3 other children had any idea. The three other children she had were from her first marriage to a high ranking French Diplomat. They had met in 1935 while she was attending the Sorbonne. Although he was three times her age, she was young, living in Paris and impetuous . They were married and had three children before the Nazis invaded France. He was arrested by the Gestopo and killed for being a spy, while she miraculously managed to escape through Casablanca to England where her twin brother lived. She left the children with her brother and went back to France to join the resistance. Her Father and Mother had been a con-artists, pickpockets and grifters in Paris. She was well versed with the skills of the street con; those German farm boys didn’t stand a chance.
Neither did my father- a General in the OSS who was working deep undercover as a Radio Operator based in England. He met her in an NCO club north of London - it was love at first sight. They wouldn’t meet again until after the war, Although they would be a very important part of each others life. He was the coordinator of this project that, as best we can piece together, enlisted the aid of street thieves - con artists - and grifters to help the Resistance ’s and the Allies with their fight against fascism. He only new her as Girl #20 and to her he was codename“Top”. From May of 1942 until V-E day they would work together and not even know it.
So, my father didn’t know the extent of her involvement. He had no idea he was sending his future wife - the love of his life - into harms way daily. We have only now found out that he was the General in charge of the project - we still don’t know what the their mission was the whole con artist grifter thing could have been a ruse and that their actuall mission was of a more sinister and covert nature. We'll never know for certain because that information has been completely destroyed as a matter of national security.
After the war was over my father found this Cinderella he had been thinking of, day and night, for the last four years and discovered that she had been thinking of nothing but him, and the job at hand. She talks about it now because she can and says he never figured out she was Girl#20 and she never told him. Never told him because she couldn’t, and also she didn’t even know he was codename”TOP” until three years ago.
When they met after the war the embers they had been holding in their hearts burst into flames. They were married the next day. Her Franco-American children wanted to stay in France after the war and live with their Paternal Grandmother in Aix-en-Provence. We still go every year during the summer and help with the Lavender harvest.
Like I said, we knew nothing of this until just recently. We knew about the Diplomat first husband and our two half brothers and half sister. We have visited them every year for the past 60 years. Their Father, anticipating his death, set up a trust fund with one of the requirements being money would be set aside so that the mother of his children could visit at least once a year. And she did, taking us with her.
Those summers in Arles were some of the best in my life. But that’s another story...
Everything between the √ marks is make believe, and some of the stuff before about my fathers family too. That’s what i do...I make things up. I’m a humorist. But it could have happened - we’ll never know. All we know for sure is that Wanda King is alive and well and happy. She says that every day is a bonus when you are her age. Every day is Gravy. Here’s to the gravy days may we all have them.
Happy birthday Mom, or is it Girl #20?
Your son - Andre
just say yes!
meet Andy Ward King, a professional musician and artist until a diagnosis of parkinons dsease at age 49 forced him into an early retirement., he now uses his music, his art along with the whimsical world he has created in this blog as therapy to ( as he puts it ) outsmart his brain and make the daily battles with parkinson’s a little bit easier, to give him that all important reason to get up on the morning, to make his life worth living. Andy has learned how to say NO to gving up \ NO to depression and apathy \ NO to following willingly the road of decline that stretches before him. he learned that to say no to all of these things all one has to do is say yes. Andy has learned to just say YES to life/\\