S: Rosemary Brandel - A Mother Remembered
FC: A Mother Remembered | "Waste not in selfish weeping, one precious day..."
1: This book is a collection of stories gathered from family and friends of Rosemary Brandel. Born in 1938 to Samuel Bell and Rose Ann Murray, she grew up in Dumbarton, Scotland. As a young woman, she moved across the sea for work in New York where she met her husband. Eventually, they made a life in Rosemount, MN, raising six children and handfuls of grandchildren. Rosemary had many friends and was involved in many volunteering positions and charitable works. A person with a dynamic character, she is remembered in a myriad of ways. Read ahead and gather the pieces of Rosemary that fit to make a whole. Below is a list of contributers and the initials used to reference them throughout the book: | Harold Brandel - HB Eileen Brandel - EB Katie Brandel - KB Marie Brandel (Honerman) - MB Julie Brandel (McDowall) - JB Claire Honerman - CH Ellie Honerman - EH Debbie Kaczmarek - DK Sara Kaczmarek - SK Matthew Kaczmarek - MK | Una Posteuca - UP Maria Posteuca (Huizel) - MP Ann Mead (Huizel) - AM Dan Pierson - DP Nancy Hinke - NH Pat Huizel - PH Compiled and Designed by: Tiffany Brandel
2: Dumbarton, Scotland | Brother Sam, Mother Rose Ann and Rosemary
3: Rosemary completed her high school education at a catholic school and then went on to her “Highers,” which was the British equivalent of a two year Associate Degree. Only students with the highest grades were permitted to do this at that time in Scotland. Her high academic standing was probably due to her zealous love of books. She was an avid reader, which, in my opinion should have qualified for an entry into the Guinness Book of World Records. I was always amazed at her ability to consume the written word as if she was sitting down to a gourmet meal. I recall often going to the local library and helping to carry her selected books to the car. She would borrow ten to twelve at a time! “How can you read all of these books when you hardly ever renew them?” I would ask. “Simple” she would answer, “I’m a speed reader!” “Can you absorb and understand what you read?” “Absolutely,” she replied. I did not need to test her as she readily could explain what she had read. Rosemary was also an excellent grammarian and always corrected the grammar in our children's schoolwork. She abhorred the Americans use of the English language compared to the “Queen's English." This was not due to her feeling of superiority of her schooling, but to her honest respect for the correct use of grammar and speech. As a result, most of our children received high grades in grammar and spelling at school. (HB) The first memory of my moms was in World War II. She was told to get under the table when the German's were bombing Scotland, and she did not obey. Her mom couldn't find her and she was only three years old. My mom went outside and saw a German plane being shot down in the middle of two search lights that where on two opposite hills of Dumbarton. Her mom finally found her and she was in big trouble, but her mom was glad she was safe. (EB) My mom had such a beautiful voice she sang in religious ceremonies and the nuns used to cry. (EB)
5: Rosemary shared many stories of life in Scotland with her family and friends: I was always impressed by the story about Mrs. Brandel losing her teeth when she jumped off a trolley. (DP) (All the boys were doing it. She ended up with fake teeth for the rest of her life.) She was a great storyteller, and I loved to hear her stories about the mother country and about surviving the bombing raids during World War II. Steven had to pull me away from listening to her stories: he thought I was just being polite, but I actually really enjoyed hearing the stories. (DP) One Friday night my Grandma Roseanne was playing cards with her neighbors. They were up late having a good time and they heard three knocks on the door at midnight. So, the neighbor went to the door, and there was nobody there. They continued playing cards and did not think anything of it. The next day they heard that at midnight there friend was murdered at the river by their house at exactly the time they heard the knocks. Spooky. (EB) The next story involves my mom and her dad when she was young. My mom often made a cup of tea on the weekend and read a good book. One night my mom was home alone and she heard a dragging, like chains on the ceiling. Then, she heard a body being dragged across the ceiling. She thought it was a ghost. At some point my grandfather admitted it was him taking a chain and dragging a chair across the ceiling in the attic. Funny. (EB) Her dad was a police man in World War II and he told this woman to "take shelter, the bombs were coming." She was newly married and did not want to leave here wedding gifts. He begged her to come and she would not. After the bombing was over my grandfather found what was left of her house, rubble, and what was left of her, a severed finger with a new wedding ring on it. (EB) In Scotland, my grandfather and his friends would hold an empty box of chocolates under the ferris wheel and watch the pretty women, who would clamor to get to them and to the chocolate. (EB)
6: A husband recollects: Rosemary, after living in Dumbarton, decided to visit the United States at the age of 22, and applied for a position as a governess with an employment agency in New York City. She had sufficient funds saved of her own after working at the nearby Burroughs plant office where her father Sam was the Head of Security. Her mother Rose also had a well-paid job as an Assistant Principal at a nearby school for disabled children. However, Rosemary wished to strike out on her own, rather than to burden her parents. The new position was with a wealthy, socially prominent family related to Ethel Kennedy, a Catholic mother of eleven children and the wife of U.S Attorney General (and later U.S. Senator) Robert Kennedy, the brother of President John F. Kennedy. Both were later assassinated in the 1960’s which shocked the nation. Rosemary found herself in charge of seven children of various ages who lived on the upper floor of a two family house in Larchmont, north of New York City. Their parents spent little time with them but were busy partying and socializing with their wealthy friends or out sailing on their small yacht in Long Island Sound. She soon discovered how neglected the children felt from their lack of parental attention and her heart turned out to them. Soon she gave them all of the love and attention that she could muster while their parents were away. Although hired as a governess she was expected to cook, clean and do household chores, which were not revealed in her contract (a common practice by overseas employment agencies): however, she did not complain, as she had developed a strong work ethic from fulfilling similar duties at home for her working parents while growing up, after her dad had injured his back in an accident. Thus, her love and empathy for children, and devotion to duty, began at an early stage in her life. Years later, in addition to her own six children, she cared for her grand-babies Jeff and Bret for three years while her daughter Julie was at work. She also took care of two little girls for a local teacher couple. Rosemary believed in using "tough love” discipline and the children learned to develop good behavior from her guidance. After awhile she had only to give them a brief stern look to make them stop misbehaving. All children enjoyed being with her and learned to respect, as well as to love, her. | .
7: After Rosemary left her position as Governess, she took a position in Manhattan with a public accounting firm in the Empire State Building as a comptometer operator. A comptometer was a precursor to the one-handed ten key adding machine, and it had 160 keys. The trick was to use both hands together to simultaneously hit the correct key numbers, which were then printed on a tape. I was always astounded how one can do this fast and correctly. She had learned eight different procedures, compared to only four which were typically taught in the U.S.. Then, she was assigned a partner, an accountant in the field, to test and to correct bookkeeping and billing entries at client audits. The speed with which this was accomplished and the huge quantity of work she performed was many times faster than the other comptometer operators in the field. They did not like her surpassing their own work load efficiency and asked her to slow down. Rosemary refused to do this because of her work ethic and did not want to be deceitful to her firm. Alas, as often occurs in the competitive business world, the company partner she worked for kept assigning her a bigger workload to complete each day as a “reward” for her efforts until she became exhausted. The fiery nature of Rosemary then exploded, and one day she returned to the office, plunked her comptometer down onto his desk and said “I QUIT!” I can verify this because I was the accountant under the same partner with whom she was assigned to work. It was not long after that the comptometers, like the horse and buggies, began to fade away and the age of computers arrived: however, during the initial learning stages of business usage she was hired by a major corporation to check and to correct numerous computer errors. She did an exemplary job of this until the office staff became well trained. Alas! The comptometer was finally relegated to an exhibit in an antique museum, and Rosemary had to join with the ranks of the one handed ten-key players. (HB) | Rosemary in New York | .
8: A New Yorker's Life: The daily grind and falling in love | Rosemary told people that she loved Scotland, but would never go back because it would have changed too much. (TB)
9: Off to Minnesota... soon to be 8 of us!
10: Mother | “ How many mothers have you known who have been heroines of some epic or extraordinary event? Few, very few. Yet you and I know many mothers who are indeed heroic, who have never figured in anything spectacular, who will never hit the headlines, as they say. They lead lives of constant self-denial, happy to curtail their time so that they can carpet their children’s lives with happiness.” - Saint Josemaria Escriva | "The most important person on earth is a mother. She cannot claim the honor of having built Notre Dame Cathedral. She need not. She has built something more magnificent than any cathedral – a dwelling for an immortal soul, the tiny perfection of her baby’s body. The angels have not been blessed with such a grace. They cannot share in God’s creative miracle to bring new saints to Heaven. Only a human mother can. Mothers are closer to God the creator than any other human creature, God joins forces with mothers in performing this act of creation. Which on God’s earth is more glorious then this: to be a mother." – Cardinal Joseph Mindszenty
11: - She would always tell me life isn't fair and she was hard on us girls because we are "emotionally" tougher than men. (KB) | She would tell Isaiah, "you peel the skin off and we all look the same" - a bit gruesome but it was good. (KB) | She was such a good listener and could listen to you for hours, no matter if she was exhausted, feeling sick or just disinterested. She always made you feel like she cared because she did. (KB) | Whenever I had anxiety, my mom would say "If you can't get over it, jump over it." So now when I deal with hard days I remember my mom always comforting me. She told me I was a success and I believe she still sends me love, and rainbows. (EB) | My mother had high standards for most things and never allowed us to use incorrect grammar in our house, ever. She shuddered at Minnesota slang such as “shoulda went” instead of “should have gone,” or “can I go with?” That didn’t stop us from teasing her about her Scottish sayings like “amn’t I?” or how she pronounced words like poem (poe-am), or how she cheered for us at events by shouting “waay!”(MB)
12: My mom was strong and determined. Not having a car or license in this country, she walked everywhere. If it was 10 degrees or more outside, she'd bundle us up, put the baby in the pram, yes, the pram, and set out with us following behind on foot or tricycle. The pram was basically a hooded bassinet on large, wire wheels. She'd have nothing less for her half-Scottish babies. Our usual destination was the grocery store, Tom's Red Owl. We had to make the trip several times a week since we carried the groceries home ourselves. My dad was on a business trip, most always. Rain never bothered my mom. She said if they hadn't gone out in the rain back home they never would've gone out at all. Nonetheless, if it was raining on our way home from the store, we'd walk very slowly, hoping someone we knew would drive by and offer some of us, along with the groceries, a ride home. Once I remember carrying a frozen turkey in my backpack. I tripped and my turkey went skidding across the ice onto the road. My mom said her usual, “upsy daisy” and I was back up again lifting my load. (MB) Mom never liked rides. On a family vacation to the Black Hills, SD, we went to Fred Flintstone Land. This must have been about 1975 or 1976. We talked Mom into going down the curly playground slide. I don't know why she did it, and we knew how hopping mad she'd be when she got off, but it was worth it to hear her scream all the way down. She yelled at us for quite a while afterward, but the "during" was priceless. (Of course, I was at the bottom of the slide with the camera.) (JB) I remember her always saying we were heathens if we didn't pray before our meals, "What are we heathens here, say your prayers." (KB) | STORIES of OUR MOTHER
13: She was babysitting that year and took all her babysitting money and bought me a dozen roses for my graduation. I never felt so good in my entire life, besides when I gave birth to Isaiah. Making her proud was the best feeling in the universe because she had such high standards. | She did something a bit sneaky to me and said Maggie was my dog if I cleaned up the poop and cleaned up the throw up from her. So, for about 3 months, I cleaned up all the poop and throw up and then. finally, John said, "Maggie isn't your dog," and my mom started laughing and everyone was laughing that I fell for it. Now I can laugh at it. | She always said if people were staring at any of us, "the cat can look at the queen," and "in Scotland women never had a inferiority complex because we knew we were superior," and she would start laughing. | (KB) | Right after Christmas one year, Steven begged his mom for a cabbage patch doll. They saw it at the store, and he made the case that his birthday was only 6 months away. She bought him the doll. Then, he asked her to make the doll a karate outfit, and she knitted one for the doll. It's shoved away in a memory box in the closet - still doning it's black pants (the shirt has gone missing). | (TB)
14: Our most treasured family heirlooms are our sweet family memories.
15: Once a week we went to Chee's Cafe. Steve got to go to Chee’s more than any of us. As I remember, they would always stop by Loch’s Pharmacy so he could get the latest Smurf or He-Man figure. The last one is so spoiled and favored. (MB) For a while, Steven and Rosemary would walk to the Chinese food place daily. He always got the chow mein, and the owner "Chee" made him pay a penny to park his trike in the coat area. (TB)
16: MORE STORIES... | When I was a little girl I was coming home from school and my mom met me on the lawn and said "Come in, you are in big trouble!" I was so worried about what trouble I was in. I went into the house and, as she took me by my arm into my room, I saw a brand new Cabbage Patch Kid, which was all the rage in the 80's. I was so happy and relieved, I wasn't in trouble and I got a Cabbage Patch Doll! (EB) When Steve was in elementary school, they had the "Don't Smoke" education week. Steve would come home from school and lecture Mom on the evils of smoking. She blew him off, but he was persistent. One day, she couldn't find her cigarettes anywhere. She started asking us if we'd seen the pack, and Steve said he'd flushed them down the toilet. "Why did you do THAT?" she asked. "Because smoking is bad for you," he replied. Throughout the next couple weeks, she'd find her cigarettes broken in half in the package, flushed again, or in the garbage and get lectures from Steve on the negative health effects of smoking. I don't know what she finally said to him to make him stop, but the war was over. He lost, of course. (JB) When Steve was young, he loved the music of the Beach Boys. My mom tried to get him tickets to a show as a gift. My mom’s taste in music was more along the lines of Andrea Bocelli, with the exception of that horrible, whistling, Slim Whitman. Oh, how we hated that album. I don’t think she minded the Beach Boys, so she was willing to go with him. When she found the tickets to their show were sold out, she asked Steve what else he’d like to do. His answer: a Worldwide Wrestling Federation Smackdown. True to her word, she took him. She befriended an enthusiastic man in her row, of course, nodding along to his explanations about the match. She said it was quite an experience. (MB) I remember Rosemary telling me that she took Steven to a wrestling match when he was younger. She said some guys were arguing afterward outside and Rosemary said to them, "You know this isn't real" (PH) I will never forget the time she kicked her eldest son out of the house after the infamous “Hot Tub Party.” I also remember that she loved the couch John had given her. (DP)
17: One thing about my mom is she wasn't vague and when she spoke to you it was very personal. She told us it was our duty to stand up for our beliefs. We all asked her which one of us were her favorite and she told us, "you are but don't tell anyone else." We all laughed later on because we found out she told all of us that. (KB) | I used to run up and try to kiss her and she would laugh and cringe and say, "oh no." It was great fun seeing her reaction, and yes, it was annoying to her. (KB) She bought Isaiah salt for his birthday one time and for Christmas she bought him tape.... he loved it and made outfits with the tape. (KB) Once a week, we’d end up at Chee’s Café, the local Chinese restaurant my mom favored. It was basically a dark paneled room with electric pictures of moving waterfalls on the walls, but the food was good, and we knew all the waitresses by name. I remember one waitress my mom kind of adopted, talking her through life’s problems and dilemmas. This was normal for her. She did the same with the mailwoman, her hair dresser and assorted neighbors. She had an amazing ability to empathize with people, never patronizing them. I think she was just plain interested in people, and she had an inordinate amount of common sense, along with the fact that she was 100 percent comfortable in her own shoes. People were drawn to her and to her advice. (MB)
19: Over In Killarney, Many years ago, My Mother sang a song to me In tones so sweet and low; Just a simple little ditty, In her good old Irish way, And I'd give the world to hear her sing That song of hers today. Too-ra-loo-ra-loo-ral, Too-ra-loo-ra-li, Too-ra-loo-ra-loo-ral, Hush now don't you cry! Too-ra-loo-ra-loo-ral, Too-ra-loo-ra-li, Too-ra-loo-ra-loo-ral, That's an Irish lul-la-by Oft, in dreams I wander To that cot again. I feel her arms a-hugging me As when she held me then. And I hear her voice a humming To me as in days of yore, When she used to rock me fast asleep Outside the cabin door. Oh I can hear that music I can hear that song Filling me with memories Of a mother's love so strong Its melody still haunts me These many years gone bye Too ra loo ra loo ral Until the day I die | Song made popular by Bing Crosby in "Going My Way" | She always sang Too-ra-loo-ra. (KB) | She would always say, "Good night. God Bless you Kate," every night (the good night and God bless you would be cute at the end of your book). | I loved getting cared for by her when I was sick, so loving and so caring. I miss her witt and her jokes and her laughter. As kids we used to laugh around the piano singing and dancing, there was always laughter in our home. (KB) | .
20: Before she died I started asking her questions, which I thought were a little freaky: Katie- Mom, do you regret anything in your life? MOM- I regret cleaning too much and not spending time with you kids. Katie- I don't know what I will do if you die. I can't imagine it. MOM- It's going to happen some day, and you'll have to deal with it. Katie at her graduation- Mom, I just wanted to feel special for one day. Mom- Katie you are special and I am proud of you. (KB) When my sister Claire Renee Brandel was stillborn, my mom was very sad and asked Claire to send her a rainbow on the anniversary of Claire's birthday and her death day, as they were the same. Two years went by and after the first round of rainbows my mom was still sad but hopeful. Then on my sisters birthday, I was saying my prayers before bed with my mom, and out of nowhere I stopped and said "Mom I saw the most beautiful rainbow today!" My mom was so happy. For ten years my mom received rainbows, without telling a soul that she asked Claire Renee in heaven for rainbows. When I decided to place my birthson for adoption, my mom comforted me, as I cried for Daniel the night I came home without him from the hospital. That day I saw a huge rainbow over the Cathedral of St. Paul, and I knew it was for me. Then, for 5 years after Daniel Joseph was born, I received rainbows around his birthday. (EB) | I send my prayers to God for you.
21: Letters from heaven
22: Friend | My memories of Rosemary are really centered around 2 things. Firstly, my memory of Rosemary is that of being my mom’s best friend. I used to get a kick out of their daily ritual of talking about who knows what for what seemed like at least an hour a day. While I am not sure where you grew up, I can assure you that the humble town of Rosemount did not have THAT much stuff going on. However, that daily ritual gave a lot of comfort and joy to my mom, for which I am forever indebted to Rosemary. It was my first experience of seeing a true best friend relationship. My second memory of Rosemary is that she was the most elegant and graceful woman I remember as a child. I could never quite place why I thought that but it was without a doubt my impression of her. Perhaps it was the accent and European heritage. Perhaps it was her penchant for wearing a matching fancy hat with her Sunday church outfit. Either way, she was always Rosemount royalty in my book and deservedly so. (MK) I have many wonderful warm spots in my heart of my Godmother. While it's not specific to Rosemary, I have tons of memories of our families spending many holidays together when I was a small child. We'd always have the Brandels over, and they would always bring a Dairy Queen ice cream cake for dessert -- they were VERY popular! My better memories, while not really specific, are just how much my relationship with Rosemary changed when I became an adult. She was more of a second mother/disciplinarian to me when I was a child, but as I grew up, we became friends. I would stop by her house every now and then, and I'd always end up staying for hours, sitting in the garage with her and smoking cigarettes and talking about life. I remember fondly how she helped me talk through calling off my engagement to my then-fiance, and how reassuring it was to hear her words to me during that very confusing time of my life. I really, really enjoyed her as a friend and person. She could always make me laugh, and I really just loved being with her. (SK)
23: Rosemary always treated me as a son. She always remembered the anniversary of my dad’s death, and she would ask me if I was doing alright. (DP)
24: I don’t laugh as much as I did when Rosemary was alive. For more than thirty years, I could bank on an hour of hilarity a day, usually beginning at 11:00 a.m.—when I was half-way through my day and pink bathrobe-clad Rosemary was just launching hers. I’m a morning person; Rosemary was always a night owl. She saw this preference for opposite ends of the day as (further) evidence of fact that she was of patrician lineage while I was of the hoi polloi. My thick ankles were the clearest proof, of course. She opined hundreds of times that my “scullery maid’s legs” also accounted for my fondness for cooking. In a better time, she noted, I would’ve been cooking for and waiting on people like Herself. (...) | A close friend remembers | .
25: ...continued... We disagreed about a proper rise-and-shine time, but we were in harmony about most things, Rosemary and I. Not, however, about tenors. She was a devotee of Jussi Bjorling, a Swedish tenor with whom I was only moderately impressed. After a decade or two of failing to convert me to Bjorling’s cause, Rosemary was given a boom-box (in those days, a pretty top-of-the-line technology) and a lifetime supply of Bjorling cassette tapes, which reinvigorated her efforts. She would ring me up and blast Bjorling directly into the mouthpiece of the phone, a practice which did demonstrable damage to the hearing in my right ear. At about the time I had to begin listening to our phone conversations with my left ear, the Irish tenor phenomenon was peaking. Again, Rosemary and I were on opposite side of the “greatest tenor” question. Rosemary was enthralled with Ronan Tynan; I was cheerleading for Anthony Kearns. At one point—in a conversation I profoundly wish had been recorded for posterity—I persuaded my opinionated friend that more of her admiration for Tynan could be traced to her fondness for his remarkable life story than to his singing. It was one of my very few victories. Despite years of passionate advocacy and multiple viewings of the films in question, I never won Rosemary to my position in the other great artistic question of our age: which version of Pride and Prejudice was deserving of our endorsement as “the best”. She was mad for the version with Colin Firth in the role of Mr. Darcy. (Truth to tell, she was mad for Colin Firth, who displaced Charles Dance at the top of her personal ranking of Sexiest Men in the World. Yes, she had such a ranking. Did you think we spent all those thousands of hours talking about religion?) I argued—and still maintain—that the earlier BBC series, the one with David Rintoul as Darcy, is superior. I was—and am—correct on this point, but she would never admit it. How I wish Rosemary were alive to dissect every episode of Downton Abbey, which she would adore! I suppose she would insist that SHE, Herself, is the clone of the Dowager Countess of Grantham and I am a perfect Mrs. Patmore. In the grand scheme of things, it won’t be long until I will have the blessing of being able to discuss this and other great matters with my dear friend who went Home before I was ready to let her go. When we meet again, the laughter will return—for eternity! (DK) | .
26: Rosemary was a very tough CCD teacher, but it always seemed to me that she was just a teency bit tougher with me, given the fact that it probably looked poorly on her if I didn't excel in the religious education department, because she was my Godmother. I also remember this adorable picture of me and Steven from my First Communion -- I'm in my white dress next to Steven -- and just behind me is this enormous huge floral arrangement. However, you can't see the vase or the pedestal that it stood on, it just looks like I have a HUGE floral arrangement growing out of my head. I always think of that picture when I think of Steven and Rosemary. (SK) | When I was in first grade I went to St. Joseph's in Rosemount for school. I also had Rosemary for CCD Religion on Wednseday nights. When I was at school I always knew the answers in Religion class because I had Rosemary as a teacher. (AM) I also had Rosemary as a CCD teacher in second grade. I know I was very well prepared to receive the sacraments. I was not nervous at all about making my first confession. For Christmas, in class she gave us each a book. She gave me a beautiful book of the Nativity story which I still have and I plan on reading it to Sophia this Christmas. (MP) | I once told Rosemary that when I go to church I like to light a candle after Mass. I usually didn't have money but I would light one anyway. I told her I would probably end up in Purgatory for not paying for the candles. Rosemary told me that "it's o.k." because when she goes to light a candle she puts money in for the both of us. (PH) I am grateful to her for exposing me to Catholic orthodoxy. I also admired her commitment to being pro-life, and I know that she saved a lot of babies. (DP)
27: Leading Catechism Class | Faith and Virtue | One thing I do credit to Rosemary is that I still to this day repeat the Act of Contrition over and over again anytime my plane is taking off or landing. I can't say for certain that Rosemary told me to do this specifically, but she did teach me the Act of Contrition and was my Reconciliation class teacher. So, in a way, I think I have to credit her for that. (SK)
28: Just who was this fair lady... | Another example of her desire for correctness occurred when she found a gross error in one of our children’s high school textbooks which stated that Scotland was a country in England! She went immediately to the principal and put the book down on his desk and indignantly asked him “Is this the type of textbook you teach our children with? Is Scotland in England instead of Great Britain?” Astounded by this behavior from a student’s parent, he hastily apologized. Rosemary was not an impudent, aggressive or condescending person, but candid and quick to correct someone when she saw or heard any inaccuracy or falsehood. I attributed this to her spirited Scottish temperament and as a result I dubbed her “Spunky,” which I often-times called her when she became fiery. She used this trait effectively in her crusade to save unborn babies from abortion as a prolife advocate since the infamous “Roe vs. Wade" decision in 1973, while working with Minnesota Citizens Concerned for Life. She assisted them in telephone calls, fundraising, protests at the State Capital and elsewhere, and as an intermediary with pro-life doctors in the Twin Cities. She educated our children in the immorality of abortion and they joined us in protests at abortion clinics. I am proud to say that we were a total pro-life family with our wonderful friends around us. (HB) | She told me her favorite basketball player was Kevin Garnet because whenever he swore during a basketball game he would apologize to his mom immediately. (EH) | Once when we were sitting around the campfire, Grandma was telling me about how she hated seeing people wear short shorts to church. She told me that if I ever wore them to church she would be watching me with disapproval, haunting me from heaven. (EH)
29: I remember her as a “tough old Scottish woman.” I remember that if you ever wanted to pick a fight with her, you could just tell her that Scotland isn’t a real country. I also remember that she loved “the real William Wallace” and that she loved to talk with her Scottish friends on the phone, at which time her Scottish accent would always ramp it up a few notches. (DP) | She loved British comedy shows on PBS, and she loved Mel Gibson. (DP) (Editor's note: Mel before he went crazy and wound up in the tabloids . | She was a woman of many opinions. She loved to argue, and I remember her and Steven arguing about lots of arbitrary things; I think, ultimately, that they enjoyed arguing. (DP) | I would go outside with Rosemary to smoke at parties. She smoked these long Virginia Slims. I was from Ireland, and we would talk about life in Britain and our sour feelings toward the English. One time, I was at Debbie's house and made a comment about the English. Debbie rolled her eyes and exclaimed,"Not you too!" (UP) | One time, Rosemary was having some big family problems. She had thrown her hands up in defeat. Then, she looked at the wall and saw a sign , worn out - one you don't even notice anymore. It said, "Be still and know that I am God," and she said she felt better and all the weight lifted off of her shoulders. (UP)
30: More on Rosemary... | My mom was very superstitious. On New Year's Eve we practiced the tradition of first footing. After midnight on the New Year, the darkest haired person would cross the front door with a bottle of wine and a loaf of bread, with the bringing of good fortune and luck for the new year. (EB) | One time in Scotland, my grandma was unsure of the time and thought it before the New Year, and she went in the front door of a neighbors house for the New Year, and she gave them bad luck for a whole year because her hair was gray. (EB) | Other superstitions were no putting shoes on the bed, or hats on the bed or hats on the table, because that was a sign of death. In war time they actually did that, they would lay out the deceased person's full wardrobe on the bed, and it did actually mean death. The other sign was red and white flowers being a sign of death. (EB)
31: She would stay up late with anyone who could stay up with her and watch Dr. Who, Agatha Christie Mysteries, Rosemary and Thyme, EastEnders or any British show that they had on PBS that was a mystery and well written (I always stayed up with her. She told me she gave up on trying to make me go to bed early). (KB) | she loved eating chocolate. (KB) | She said grandkids and grandmothers always had a special relationship because they had a common enemy. (KB) | She was always put together when she went out. I remember being in elementary school and she was doing recess duty and I was so proud to say that was my mom in her jacket and cool sun glasses. (KB) | She watched HGTV with me forever while I was pregnant. (KB)
32: . | I learned quickly after meeting Steven that his mother was the biggest influence in his life – a soul mate of sorts and the only person he could completely relate to. In fact, it was Rosemary who may have led us to meet. We had both attended a talk on end-of-life issues at the Cathedral, when Steven’s certainty about the sanctity of those in vegetative states led us into a heated disagreement. At first thinking him arrogant, I softened on him when I learned he had personally experienced end-of-life issues only months earlier when Rosemary had passed away. During our brief courtship and into our marriage, Steven exhibited strong principles and certainties about many things in life. He also had a beautiful faith in the Church. I would often ask him how he had learned to be a certain way or believe a certain thing, and he always responded “from my mom.” For instance, I made a shrine for the Blessed Virgin Mary in our home last May and tried to become more aware of her presence. Steven told me that Rosemary taught him to acknowledge people when he entered a room, and that included Our Lady and Jesus in pictures or statues. “Leave the room and when you return say ‘hi’ to Our Lady,” she once said. With all this talk of saintliness, it must be acknowledged that there were a few things that might hold up Rosemary’s canonization – though not for long. First, I am always surprised to hear stories of how much Rosemary smoked. And, sometimes she was extremely blunt. For example, when Steven came home with a pierced ear, Rosemary saw it and said, “You look gay.” Steven told me she used to go up to girls at church and tell them they were dressed immodestly. Recognizing my many misguided beliefs and shortcomings when I first met Steven, I often wonder what kinds of correctives Rosemary would have given me. Probably the same ones Steven (gently) did. Sometimes, Rosemary has given me an example to imitate. She urges me to be more active and stauncher in my pro-life stance. One time at church, some teenage girls were taking their first communion. After appearing in front of the congregation, in their short skirts, they sat in the row behind Steven and I. As everyone else filed through the communion line, the girls sat giggling and talking behind us. I hesitated to say something, and then recalled what Rosemary would do. “You need to stop talking. Be reverent,” I told them. “You just received the Body and Blood of Christ.” Finally, more than just in memory, I feel Rosemary is with us - when Magdalene kisses her picture on the shelf and when we visit the house still decorated just the way she left it. When Maggie came to Harold’s for the first time, Steven took pictures of her on the couch right where Rosemary always sat. She is truly present in the group of friends and family I have gained through marriage, a group of encouraging, faithful women to guide me deeper into Catholicism. More than a few have taken me under their counsel, just as I believe Rosemary would have. Let us go on thanking Rosemary for all she gave to us and to life. Let us continue praying for her acceptance among the angels in heaven. Just as my mother on earth loves and guides me, I believe our mother (in-law, friend, wife, grandmother) in heaven does too. (TB)
33: Brandel, Rosemary Age 69, of Rosemount. Beloved wife, mother, grandmother. Passed away suddenly July 24, 2008. Preceded in death by daughter, Claire; parents, Sam and Rose Ann Bell; brother, Sam Bell. Survived by husband, Harold; children, Julie (Bill) McDowall, Marie (James) Honerman, John Brandel, Katie Brandel, Eileen Brandel, Steve Brandel; and 14 grandchildren. She was born in Scotland and lived a life of tremendous love, faith and sacrifice. Mass of Christian Burial 10AM Tuesday, July 29, ST. JOHN'S CATHOLIC CHURCH (977 E. 5th St., St. Paul). Interment St. Joseph's Cemetery, Rosemount. | .