Sunday, June 7, 2009


Mary McGuire Byrne was born in 1913. She was raised by her maternal grandparents after her handsome father died from TB when she was three years old. Her widowed mother, Carolyn, had to find a way to make a living for herself at age 25.

Carolyn went on to open the hat business and mom started working for her after she graduated from the University of Wisconsin. The country was in the Great Depression. These two women and my uncle John were quite the trio about town.

Mom always lived in the shadow of her beautiful, eccentric mother.....and though an accomplished artist in her own right, it was always Carolyn Hats.

Mom worked with Grandma until they closed the shop. She also had her live with us after she married ....... and gran was there until the day she died - literally. She finished some dusting and announced she was going to take a nap......took a few steps and hit the dining room floor with a thud. We should all be so lucky.

Grandma was the character that everyone loved - but my mom was the rock. Mom made the family work and she was my best friend. I am the woman, designer, artist, mother that I am today because of MY mother.

This photo was taken in the '93 when the Los Angeles Times was doing a story on me. She was in CA visiting so we had her in the article, too. She was 80 and had just finished a bout with cancer and had barely made it through the chemo. I LOVE this photo of her - she just has that serene look on her face as if to say "There is nothing more you can do to me" She had survived !!
Mom died in January, 2005 and there is not a day that I don't think of her.... I am spending my day listening to Nat King Cole and The Mills Brothers and smiling...........knowing that somewhere she and dad are doing the Fox Trot.

Happy Birthday Mom, I love you.