This past week I had to bury an old Flushingite, my mother.
She was born in Honolulu. Hawaii and came to Whitestone when she was an early teenager as her step-father was stationed in Fort Totten.
She met my father under the clock on Main Street and Roosevelt when she was 18 and it was love at first site. Less than a year later the were married and living on Parsons Blvd near Franklin Ave. While they always had financial trouble (my father was a gambler) they had a very happy marriage and had 4 sons, the oldest living just 1 day. Unfortunately this marriage came to a sudden end in the late 70s when my Dad had a heart attack at work and never came home.
My mother made a promise to my father at his funeral that no matter what she would never leave Flushing, the place where they lived, raised a family, and where he is buried. She spent the next 3 decades living in the same 10 block area that they lived in, refusing offers from my brother or myself to live in better areas on Long Island. She was an independent woman and never had a major problem in Flushing, the only few issues she resolved herself including getting a local politician to remove a homeless person from her apartment building when the local police blew her off.
She had some tough roads after my Dad died such as open heart surgery and watching my brother die of cancer, but she got to see three grandsons and 2 wonderful granddaughters from me and my wife. After so many boys she spoiled my daughters rotten and they were extremely close to their beloved "grandma Vovo" which means grandmother in Portugese (here heritage from Hawaii).
9 years ago my Mom began to suffer from dementia and could no longer live by herself. She signed herself into a nursing home as she would not be a burden and still lived in Flushing these last 9 years. The Benenson Rehab Pavillion on Parsons near Northern Blvd is a newer Nursing Home and took better care of my Mom than I ever could have hoped.
The past year she did not really know what was going on and could not talk. She did not know my older brother anymore but still recognized me. The last visit with my wife she took 5 minutes to take my hand and place it into my wife's hand, then she held them together for about 5 minutes until she fell asleep.
She is at rest now with my father and will forever be in Flushing, and no matter what the town may appear to be or who lives there Flushing will always be a part of my heart and soul.
Good bye Mom, I love you very much.