10/14/08

The Man Who Had Two Mothers

. 10/14/08

Most persons are delighted if they have one good mother who not only gave them life but also nurtured and loved them through their childhood into adulthood and beyond.
I was one of the lucky men who was blessed with two wonderful mothers, one, Flora Beatrice (King) Fleury, who gave birth to me and dedicated her life to me, her eldest son, and to my two sisters and brother. My second mother was Irene (O'Connor) Carlberg, who "adopted" me when she was nearly ninety years old and I was sixty-seven.

My Earliest Memories of Childhood With Mother Flora
I was born on June 14, 1932 while my parents were living in a rental house near the Manhan River. But my earliest memories were of living on the first floor of a two- tenement building where my sister Dolores Mae was born when I was three years old.
When I was four and a half years old we moved to a new house just up the street from our tenement. My dad who was an expert carpenter had built it with some free help from his carpenter's union friends. We were now right next-door to my Gram and Gramp King. Just our two side-by-side driveways separated us.
Mother gave birth to my brother Frank Leon shortly after moving in. She went into labor while cleaning our new floors!
I really gained a second mother as a child because Grandma King attached herself to her firstborn grandson "Sonny" and I to her. My mom had her hands full with meat five years old, Dolores at two years and eleven months and Frank newly born, eighteen months after Dolores, so she welcomed Grandma to help take care of me.
It was from Grandma that I got my first pair of Bantam chickens and she gave me the first flowers for my own garden out back of the garage. I had Iris, Hollyhocks, Yellow Primroses and Sweet Williams. My lifelong love of chickens and gardening started when I was only five or six years old. Gram and Gramp themselves had a big garden and sold peas and raspberries from it and eggs from their flock of chickens.
When I felt sick, I took myself across the driveways to Grandma's house where she would promptly bundle me up in one of her old night gowns and put me in their second bedroom and ask me if there was anything I wanted. I loved chocolates and sarsaparilla soda so, poor Grandpa would be dispatched, regardless of the weather, to march about two miles up street to get Sonny what he wanted. She spoiled me "rotten" as the saying goes.

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