My mother, Patricia Anne Rosen, was the daughter of Israel Joseph Rosen and Emily Galbraith Myers, and was born on August 22, 1928 in Chicago, Cook County, Illinois.
I don’t know much of her early history other than the fact that her mother moved the family (at least her and her 2 brothers) to Albuquerque due to her older brother’s (Bob’s) asthma. While there she had a Hispanic boyfriend, and they were know as “salt and pepper”.
I believe she attended high school in the Kansas City area and one of her best friends was named Sue Hall (married to Gene Hall). They remained friends for their whole life. I think they would have liked to have seen her daughter and me linked up, but that never happened.
I believe she married my father, John Robert Graham, in 1951 (still looking for the date). The were living on Pennsylvania Avenue in Kansas City, Missouri when I was born. According to some records (which are now in boxes), soon thereafter at least my mother and I went to visit/live with her parents in southern Georgia. Not sure about my father.
She was a full-time mother for most of her marriage to my father.
As my parents divorced, when I was in early high school, she found it necessary to go to work. My mother had always been very stylish, and so I guess it’s not surprising that she ended up selling cosmetics. She worked at Jones Company, a regional department store, which was located at least in the Kansas City area. As I understand it, she did very well and made many friends in that endeavor. I believe even after she quit, she still maintained contact with her friends and would occasionally go out for lunch with them.
She ended up marrying Russ Kitchen, a retired engineer, who had been involved in the construction of the Arch in St. Louis, Missouri. They bought a mobile home in Olathe, a community south of Kansas City and the areas where I grew up as a kid. I remember staying with her after I had my own family around the time I was doing some Army Reserve training at Ft. Riley, I think. The one thing that stands out to me were the owls – she had several dozen knick knacks in that form all over her home. Also it was a very well-kept home.
She came to visit us in Plano, Texas in December of 1995. She had just been informed of a brain tumor, which was inoperable. I wonder if my children remember. She had been given a choice of chemo or radiation. She chose the latter, reasoning that chemo would more greatly diminish her quality of life for whatever time she had left.
Wilma had worked with chemo patients for a while by that time and did not believe she would last past summer. And around May or so of ’96 Wilma called me from her bedside to tell me if I wanted to see her one last time, I had better come. So the kids and I (all but Emily?) loaded into our Ford Aerostar van and headed up there from Plano. I drove as long as I could and Caleb took over. We got to her facility in Kansas in the evening and her breathing was rattling. I participated with Wilma, brother John and sister Rebecca in changing her position in the bed (to reduce the change of bed sores) and I assured her that I was there. Just a little while later she passed. She could have transitioned at any time, but did not until I arrived. Interestingly her husband had either gotten ill or suffered an accident and passed soon thereafter, in the same facility I think.
I had not been close to my siblings, and this sad occasion was a chance to reconnect. For some reason I got her diary. I also received a small inheritance which enabled Wilma and me to purchase a home in Rowlett, Texas.
My mother was a giving soul who had a wonderful smile. I was so appreciative of her for staying with us kids after the divorce. Of course, she would not have considered doing anything else.