Enjoy an unspoiled northern experience.
Fun Mom, that’s what I want you to know about Alice Linxweiler Lockrem. When Sarah and I were little, we lived on Coronado Island in California. During much of that time, my Dad was on an Air Craft Carrier. During the day, we spent our time at Speckles Park. Mom would load us up on her bike with Sarah in the front and me in the back. And she’d ride us to Baskin Robbins. In the evenings, we would walk on the beach and gather smooth pieces of drift wood. We would take the wood home, light a fire, roast marsh mellows, and let the neighborhood cat “peaches” settle into on our laps as we watched shows. We were never rushed, or shuffled to the next event, but allowed to linger in the moment.
In San Diego, My mom was so fun that she let us spend all day at the rec. club. We would stay so late at the pool that the lights would come on. Then, we would go home and have popcorn and cottage cheese salad with cherry tomatoes for dinner. I remember feeling guilty that Sarah and I kept her there so long. She would sit by herself and settle into a lounge chair and a book while Sarah and I had underwater tea parties and jumped endlessly off the diving boards. It’s wasn’t until I had children of my own that I realized that luxury of sitting by a pool with a book as the small children tired themselves out for an early bed time.
One time in San Diego, a person came to the door and asked for my mom. I found her, she was barefoot and she had on a red, plaid tube top dress. He looked at her and again asked for the mom in the house. She said, “I am the mom.” I remember thinking that was the funniest thing on earth. As Sarah and I got older, we played soccer and mom started coaching and playing. She studied soccer all the time and was so patient with new players. She coached us together on the Rainbows, and then me on the Tidal Waves. We moved to Washington DC and there was no girls’ soccer team. So she started a team. By the 2nd year in DC, our team won the 1984 Division Championship. I have the patch to prove it and found the score sheet it the attic last month. As Mom got older, she loved to reminisce about that team as we were a rag tag team, with 11 scrappy players, a rough and tumble goalie and stuck it to Falls Church!
And then there were all the amazing times we had in Canada. We’d waterski, fish with Geno St. Pierre and his boys, steam at Bill and Irene Shay’s, and swing endlessly on our run way. I specifically remember we were swimming in our bay and an unknown fishing boat was a little too close to our boat house. So, my mom striped down to her birthday suite, swam to our rock, got out of the water, and waved to them. They slowly left.
On windy days, she would take us out in our blue Grumman and we would ride the waves for hours. We still have the blue Grumman but now our kids love to sit on the bow of the Dash when we have big waves. We would take day trips to kirks creak and Mom insisted that we wear jeans to go down the rock water slide. She always said that there were blood suckers and the jeans kept them off of our legs.
When we moved to Washington DC my parents were enthralled with language training. They made a point to ensure that Sarah and I were happy and engaged. Sarah and I started school over Christmas break and were both miserable. Sarah had Miss Spreen the Mean Green Bean and I was a year behind as I didn’t know cursive or multiplication yet. Mom found an alternative school for us and we thrived.
Sarah and I would play elevator tag in our apartment building and kick soccer balls in the hall ways while only hitting a few doors. Mom would take us ice skating in the Reflection pool in the mall at the capital. You see, my mom loved to skate and she would tell us about how one winter my grandfather flooded the yard at their house in Dayton, OH and he made a rink for her...
We moved to Antananarivo in Madagascar. My fun parents let us drag our boogie boards half way around the world to use in California, Hawaii, Australia, and Mauritius. On that trip we spent 3 weeks in Hawaii. We ate poi, took hula lessons, and swam and surfed on beautiful beaches. We held Koala bears in Australia. I remember that we landed in Mauritius and Sarah was so sick. She ended up throwing up in a sugar cane field in the middle of the night. We finally made it to our hotel which was a small house on a pebble beach. It was a beautiful, clear, night sky and, of course, Mom and I dipped our toes in the ocean.
My girls ask for stories every night when Jeff and I put them to bed. I’m so lucky to have so many of them. I love telling them about the time my parents had dinner at the Chinese Ambassador’s house. Something was placed on my mom’s plate that was wrapped in a leaf. In French, she said “quesque Ce?” “Sange,” said the person next to her. Sangle is blood in French. She carefully covered it in a few chicken bones. When the girls are older, I’ll tell them about my Mom’s one regret. It happened up here and Stormy and Peter Fonda asked her and Carol Hitchcock to go for a boat ride. It sound innocent, but the boat ride was to the Mackinac Bridge. She should have gone but chose to honor her 10p curfew. Which she always said, “That’s right when the parties started.”
One summer, we traveled through Europe. We started in Frankfort, Germany. With the last name of Linxweiler, Mom was excited to show us her native home. She spoke about how her Grandmother, Cora, who bought our island in the 1940s, used to roll out Spaetzli by hand, make her own root beer, and sour kraut. We toured the castles in the black forest in Germany. We spent time in a beach town in Italy and my mom loved the fresh pasta so much that she asked for it for breakfast too. I vividly remember having dinner, outside in a town call La Ciota, in France. Mom and Dad ordered Bouillabaisse for us. A heavy set chef came out, dripping in sweat, to meet us and see how we liked the dish. It was delicious, salty, brothy, and loaded with fresh seafood. Years later I visited that same town with some college friends and I ordered the same thing. Someday, I’ll take my girls there.
Now that it’s been a few months since my mom has passed, it’s interesting what you find and some of the things that will remain a mystery. In going through my mom’s jewelry, we found a bracelet that said “to Alice, from Ed.” None of know who Ed is. Dad sent me a simple silver fork in the mail with a few other serving pieces as I didn’t have many. This fork said to Louella, love Grandma Bates. I traced it back to my fifth great grandmother on Granny Barbara’s side. Nancy Trotter Bates set up the Widow’s Home in Dayton Ohio for widows from the Civil war. In my mom’s things, I found an envelope. It said . . . I showed the sermon to my dad and he knew who it was from. It was one of my mom’s best friend’s Pam Matzko. The Matzko’s have spent time here. This sermon mentions my “go to” bible verse that helped me through my mom’s battle with cancer. It’s Joshua 1:9, and it’s what God said to Joshua after Moses died. “Have I not commanded you? Be Strong and courageous. Do not be terrified or afraid for the lord, your God is with you wherever you go.
In dealing with cancer, my mom still kept her humor and funness as well as her strength. In closing, I’m going to read something that I found in our napkin drawer that may have been written by someone in the Harvey crew. “For Alice, on a day such as this in Mc Gregor Bay, I present to you lemons and a toast to say. Our Alice I toast at this fine feast, her humor, her strength, her faith to say the least. With Dick by her side she’s turned it around, No hair? No Sweat! No Bladder? Who Cares! Just give her lemons and get out of the way . . . She adds her own sugar to make lemonade.