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It’s Mother’s Day and Mom told me this morning by phone that she went to 7:30 Mass and after eating her soft boiled egg will go to the hospital to visit my Dad, who was admitted yesterday for probably what is pneumonia.  He’s in his 90th year and Mom just celebrated her 88th birthday.  They have been great partners on their spiritual journey with all its twists and turns and valleys and mountains.  That is a great gift of mentoring for me and my 7 younger siblings.  I am posting a poem I wrote in the early 1970s in my twenties:

Mary Francis Norton

My mother Mary Francis Norton



Sparked together

a thousand sparks,

expand, divide

and touch one body

to part one body

alive and crying

for cord and milk.

Inch to foot

run to crawl,

happy wonder:

what is.

Yes, emerged

now grown

and merged

I watch you

alive with umbilical love.

I ask “What is?”

You answer “Who.”

Hand to hand.

I am you and we,

directed spontaneity.


          Kenneth Edward Norton

I just did a search of my ancestor’s up the umbilical line of mother, and got back to my great, great, great grandmother Johanna Relihan, married to Richard James of Drumalought WOLFE (born in 1764 in Cratloe, Co Limerick, Ireland).  I haven’t been able to find out more about Johanna and her parents.  Wolfe was also spelled Woulfe.

Kenneth Edward Norton <– Mary Frances Norton  (b. 1924 Chicago) <– Kathleen Rose Kurtz (b. 1898 Illinois, d. 1987 Arcadia, CA) <– Joanne Rose Connell  (b.1867 Oil City, PA – d.1950 Chicago) <– Catherine Walsh (b. 1818, Listowel, Kerry, Ireland, emigrated to USA probably due to potato famine of 1845-52, died 1896 Sheboygan, WI <– Johanna (Relihan) Wolfe (Ireland)

Of course there are lots of lines of ancestors I could follow, but the most influential were most likely these umbilical relationships for the amount of time in the womb, at the breasts, and at the table with mom, and she with her mom, and ….  I wish there were some stories along with the names and dates.

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