Happy Mother's Day

Happy Mother’s Day. I dedicate this post to both Henry’s mom, and again to my good friend Nancy Zguda, Henry’s widow. 

After Henry passed, there was an odd dynamic between Nancy and I. Because I knew so much about Henry’s life, perhaps more than anyone else, she trusted me completely. We became very close, especially after Henry was gone.  ‘Henry always thought you were the best’ she’d say. I guess you could say Henry and I were each other’s fan club. And I knew, because of how many times Henry told me, that he loved her deeply and always said she was worth waiting for. I was envious of that kind of love, and sometimes wanted to visit just to soak up the atmosphere. Would you believe she had even written a magazine article in the 1970’s  that was published in Women’s World, entitled “How I Met Mr. Right.”  Reading it is a love story in itself, and is what the priest based his eulogy on at her memorial service.

I soon realized Henry had always handled the check book and finances and she was totally befuddled. I helped her with this, her taxes and other paperwork since I had worked for H&R Block before. There were a few years there that were personally very difficult for me, between a sick mother who needed a lot of attention, just at the same time my kids were 10 and 13 and very involved in activities. I wasn’t communicating well with my husband; he’d never had a sick mom to take care of and didn’t get the stress I felt. Then I had serious health issues with a family member.  I found I could tell Nancy anything, and I mean anything. She knew what it was to be expected to take care of a parent.There wasn’t anything Nancy and I couldn’t resolve over a glass of wine, and there was never a time when Nancy didn’t bring out food and say ‘Eat!  Eat!’  Always we laughed. 

 My good friend Pam and I would check on her – change light bulbs, plant flowers, check the fuses, regular stuff like that.  Nancy was always a little ‘ditzy’ – but in a fun way. She didn’t even think twice when she offered my ten year old a beer. One of my favorite stories is when she went to Hooters for lunch with about eight other friends, all grey-haired and in their 80’s. She called over the waitress and said ‘Miss. Oh Miss? I’m wondering if you could give me a job application.  I’d like to work here.’  God we laughed about that one too. 

Nancy was very Italian – in her cooking, talking, need for people around her. She loved the movie ‘Moonstruck’ with Cher and Nicolas Cage.  She said ‘that’s what my family was like.  Exactly.’ She loved clothes and always dressed like a million bucks. 

Sadly the last two years of her life were not kind to her as increasing dementia set in, and I felt incredibly powerless to help.

Nancy and Henry weren’t blessed with children. But they left many, many good friends behind, and I’m glad I was one. My eyes still tear up for Nancy, for I still miss my friend. But I know she is happy to be reunited with her love, Henry.

The top picture of me, Nancy and Pam still stands on my dresser.

Nancy’s shortbread recipe:
1 cup butter
1/2 cup sugar
2 cups flour
Cream butter and sugar.  Stir in flour.  Spread in pan. Bake at 300 degrees for 35 minutes. Cool. Cut into bars.