Tag Archives: mom and dad

A Parting Glass To Mom And Dad

 

CELTIC TRINITY KNOTWith St. Patrick’s Day upon us, my thoughts naturally turn to my favorite South Side Irishmen. While the day, and in this case, the weekend, is filled with the usual nod to our Irish ancestry, celebrating with parades, rebel songs, beer and plenty of corned beef, a part of me always feels a bit wistful, as memories turn to my parents, no longer here to join in the festivities.  And so, to them I raise a parting glass in salute.

My dad, John Casey Toner, better known as Jack to his friends, died a couple of months shy of my twenty-fifth birthday.  Though I was married with a toddler, I was still a daddy’s girl.  It wasn’t really fair, I know.  My sister is eight years older than me and had been surrounded by boys until my arrival.  In fact, one of her favorite memories was when she and my brothers were sent off to stay with my cousins as they eagerly awaited the newest arrival in the family (me, coming in at number six).  She asked my dad to please let her be the first to know if she had a new sister (for which she had been fervently praying) or another brother (to which she’d resigned herself).  Upon my entrance into the world, my dad telephoned with the news.  When my aunt excitedly answered the phone and asked the obvious question, he told her that he needed to speak with Mary Beth first.  That was the kind of man he was.  The simple, innocent promise made to an eight year old girl took precedence over all else.  When you’re the baby girl in a family, it’s hard not to be spoiled.  So, while my sister was relegated to  the role of second mother to us all, including yet another little brother bringing up the rear, I happily assumed the role of the baby girl.

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They’ve Got Your Number Dad…

2002%20Sergeant%20Obverse%20Small[1]I talk to my parents every day.  That might be more than the average person, but I do have the advantage of being able to strike up a conversation with them at any time, in any place.  As I have written before, my mom and dad were the best parents any kid could have and even though I lost my dad twenty-seven years ago (the day after our oldest son’s first birthday party) and my mom nine years ago (definitely does not seem that long), I still miss them terribly and need them.  I was an unabashed Daddy’s Little Girl.  Which is why I talk to them everyday.  I especially bombard them during difficult times.  And I’m sure they just love that…

But what sparked this post, was a sudden flashback that occurred while I was quietly sitting in the back seat of our car on the way to a movie (the position to which I’ve been relegated since the boys have been home), lost in my thoughts, when I noticed the license plate of another car one lane over.  My breath caught in my throat when I saw the number on the plate:  1526.  An ordinary number to most, but my eyes began to well-up at the sight.  I hadn’t thought of that number in years.  I immediately texted my brother, Paul, to confirm.  And, without delay, he responded that, yes, that was the number alright.  Fifteen-twenty-six was a venerated number in our home growing up.  It was my dad’s star number.  He was a Chicago Police Sergeant and proudly wore that star for thirty years.  After his death, my brother, Tom, had a necklace made for my mom with a CPD star pendant and, you guessed…it was star #1526.  Paul and Tom have since followed in our dad’s footsteps, honorably serving the people of Chicago.  And, devotedly worn on Tom’s uniform, is Star #1526.  My dad’s star.  I remember, when my dad would leave for work, he’d give me a kiss and I’d tell him to “get the bad guys.”  In his uniform.  With that star.

Death may separate us physically from our loved ones, but never in spirit.  And, sometimes, we even get a physical reminder of their beloved memory.  Love you and miss you Mom and Dad, but you already know that.  I tell you everyday.

As a post-script to this, I wanted to share with you, in the words of legendary radio personality Paul Harvey, “the rest of the story”.  My brother, Tom, retired from the Chicago Police Department in November of 2013, resulting in a temporary pause in the life of Star #1526. Until a few months later, that is, when a new class of police officers was promoted to the rank of Sergeant, including my younger brother, Paul. The star had been re-issued to another new Sergeant, but when she heard the history of that number, she happily surrendered it to him. So now,  that Star…that Number…lives on as the third Chicago Police Sergeant in my family proudly pins it to his uniform every day. And that’s the rest of the story. And a pretty cool one at that…

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A Parting Glass To Mom And Dad

CELTIC TRINITY KNOT

With St. Patrick’s Day upon us, my thoughts naturally turn to my favorite South Side Irishmen. While the day, and in this case, the weekend, is filled with the usual nod to our Irish ancestry, celebrating with parades, rebel songs, beer and plenty of corned beef, a part of me always feels a bit wistful, as memories turn to my parents, no longer here to join in the festivities.  And so, to them I raise a parting glass in salute.

My dad, John Casey Toner, better known as Jack to his friends, died a couple of months shy of my twenty-fifth birthday.  Though I was married with a toddler, I was still a daddy’s girl.  It wasn’t really fair, I know.  My sister is eight years older than me and had been surrounded by boys until my arrival.  In fact, one of her favorite memories was when she and my brothers were sent off to stay with my cousins as they eagerly awaited the newest arrival in the family (me, coming in at number six).  She asked my dad to please let her be the first to know if she had a new sister (for which she had been fervently praying) or another brother (to which she’d resigned herself).  Upon my entrance into the world, my dad telephoned with the news.  When my aunt excitedly answered the phone and asked the obvious question, he told her that he needed to speak with Mary Beth first.  That was the kind of man he was.  The simple, innocent promise made to an eight year old girl took precedence over all else.  When you’re the baby girl in a family, it’s hard not to be spoiled.  So, while my sister was relegated to  the role of second mother to us all, including yet another little brother bringing up the rear, I happily assumed the role of the baby girl.

Continue reading

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Filed under Uncategorized