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I Treasure This Memory (from Aunt Debbie)

Tam O’ Shanter Drive became the West Coast Chestnut Hill Avenue when Mary and Bill moved to California in the early seventies. They were like magnets. Once they moved, everyone in Mary’s family headed west to visit them. Big Bob, Moonie, Julie, Stephen, Tricia, Jimmy, John, Michael, Robert, John, Dan, and Chris; with spouses, children, and friends in tow, made their way to El Dorado Hills. Mary and Bill opened their door and kept it open.


Mary and Peter had a habit of talking to each other on their birthdays. On a birthday call in February 1987, Mary asked Peter to fly to California. She had noted that he was the only one of her siblings that had not visited. Together they decided a week in March would be best. She made all the arrangements; Continental Airlines with only one stop in Denver. She and Michael picked Peter and me, Pete and Bub up at the Sacramento Airport, and drove us to the home I had heard so much about.


It was dinner time when we arrived. Michael asked his mum if we could make tacos for dinner. Mary asked if I would like to help make them. She told me to get a frying pan from a low cabinet. I will never forget opening that cabinet. Every pan was in disarray. She questioned, what was I looking at. I told her the pan organization looked exactly like the one in the kitchen at 439. She answered, “I know. And, I save and reuse Christmas and birthday wrapping paper too.”


Our trip had all of Mary’s special hallmarks. She arranged her dear babysitter to watch Pete and Bub so that Peter and I could take day trips to Sacramento and San Francisco. She and Bill took time from work to bring us to Lake Tahoe. In two cars we headed into the mountains by way of Virginia City. Returning to El Dorado Hills, we were surprised, Mary and Bill were not, by the arrival of Jimmy, Kathy, and Tricia. In true Muse Family fashion, they had decided to visit California while we were there. That winter, John had also established residence at Mary’s house.


Mary had organized a birthday party around St. Patrick’s Day for Peter. Birthday cake and shamrocks were combined to make the party memorable. She invited Mike Winn’s family and Chris’ great friends Maria and Louis Tiante to join the celebration. It was not uncommon for friends of one sibling to become friends with another sibling. Mary was a part of that extraordinary Muse phenomenon.


Mary and Peter continued to call each other on their birthdays. When Peter stopped, Mary and I continued the February routine. My last communication with Mary was on her 70th birthday. Mary with Bill, and each of you, will always be in my thoughts and prayers on February 2. Mary is in my prayers today and every day.


You are all loved by me,


Debbie

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