Monday, February 17, 2014

Angela Gertrude Fries Mcgee 1949-1984

Angela. A name that is burned and seared as if with a hot iron onto my conscience, my memories and my future choices. Mother was Angela, a bigger than reality persona in my life . She is the creator of my past, the author of my moods and their eternally changing pendulum. I loved her, hated her, wished her memories would fade into oblivion, misunderstood her and ultimately and finally forgave and reconciled myself to her.
Mom was born Angela Gertrude Fries, second child to Lillian Fries and a mysterious fleeting lover named Charles Guthrie. This fact wouldn't surface for many years however and Henry Fries assumed the role of father. A father whom Angela would adore until his death in 1970. 
As the first daughter in an Italian household of aunts, uncles, grandparents and space to explore , Angie was given a good catholic education popular at the time for most children in North Philadelphia. She attended St Sophie's Catholic Church and school.

 Her Sunday missal is filled with doodles and "Angie loves ____" scrawled in corners surrounded by Latin phrases . She and her best friend Donna were somewhat mischievous and it was more than one occasion that a note was sent home from Mother Superior. Angie had slipped some makeup into school, shortened
her skirt and scandalously curled her hair. Playing hooky from classes, especially Latin to meet up with her boyfriend Bob was all in day's fun. 

The fun how-ever was short lived as Angie soon gave birth to her first child . The fates
of life began to change against her and the new life and subsequent new marriage to Bob was shadowed by a diagnosis of Type 1 diabetes. At this time in the 1960's there was no other prognosis  but of a certain untimely death. Angela chose to not heed the warning and the battles that would eventually defeat her began.A child was soon born to the couple. The diabetes complicated her health .
The next few years were a struggle but Angie had the support of her mother and family. Unfortunately the marriage with Bob could not weather the storms of difficulties . With an uncertain prognosis Angie had to accept that her son would need more support. The Moser's were able to step in and take over the rearing of young Bobby. This decision, although a fight for her at first, was better for his stability as her own health ebbed and flowed between healthy and controlled to uncertain moments of illness.

It was in a period of good health that Angela met Geary McGee II. They both were single parents who lived in a n apartment complex in Germantown, Pennsylvania. Young Bobby Moser who was 10 or 11 played with Ross McGee. The two parents found friendship and eventually companionship with one another. 

Geary McGee was stable, an ex Marine and an electrical engineer. The answer was a definite yes when he proposed shortly . A new baby was due soon after the engagement and a baby girl, Danielle was born.
With a decline of the steel industry in Pennsylvania and the boom of oil in Texas in the early 1970's the choice was clear to follow Angela's mother, Lillian, to Houston. There Geary would find employment and it seemed that ill health would be manageable and a new life would begin for the couple and new baby.
Although their daughter was born with a mild case of Cerebral Palsy Geary had hopes that their daughter would be just fine. Angie on the other hand would worry constantly about her daughter's future.  In August of 1976 Angie's life would  take a tragic turn. While working on the family vehicle Geary accidentally cut the break shaft and the car rolled on to him causing  his death  at the age of 33 .Angie was 8 months pregnant with their 3rd child a son named Geary III. Lillian her mother stepped in and helped her take care of her  two young children while she worked several part-time jobs one being a a apartment manager. she was then able to move out with her children and start a new life for her self. She was able to socialize and mingle love found her several times over the next three years but didn't stay the night.

Angela with Country Singer Roy Head in 1979

 And night did come as Angela's health began to decline rapidly... her daughter learned to give her her insulin shots so that she didn't have to rely on her mother to give them to her.  She sent her children to Church on Sundays so that she could use that day to rest quietly. Molly the clown became  her children's friend who brought smiles to their faces.She even would often stop and pick  Angela's medication  and bring it to the home .    During the summer  of 1982 Angela  sent her two children to visit her Aunt Kitty  so she could have some time to deal with her illness. During this time she met a young man named Raymond  Pyler  who would  be the last man in her life He showered her with loving compliments and affection . He was the first man Sinse Geary  in her life who had a steady job  and he enjoyed her children  and they in returned liked him . Ray eventually proposed to Angie which her answer was yes but not right now.  After several attempts at marriage and several failures 
and to avoid the  judements of her family she kept the proposal to her self.Evenutally told her daughter Danielle  who she swore to secrecy  it would be a secert She would keep until her adult years then only telling her younger brother at the time of thier grandmother's death.
In 1984  Angela's son Robert came to see her during the summer before he left for boot camp for the Marines. she was so proud of him that she threw a big party for her party hardy  friends show off her  son. Little did she know that this would be the last time her son would see his mother.

The last photo of Angela and her son Robert

After Robert left for the service, her two youngest children were headed back to Philly to see their father's sister  Alicemae. While they were there Angela had a stroke and ended up in the hospital. In the hopes of recovery they stayed a period of time. The time came though that it was time to go home. Alicemae watched as Geary and Danielle boarded the plane. Geary remembers looking back and seeing Aunt Alice crying. She knew that what awaited the children at home would change the course of their lives. Lillian had called and arranged the return trip home as the doctors had informed her that Angela may seem to recover some but would never return to life as she had known it before the stroke. A brain tumor had been removed years earlier and this latest stroke had made Angie's motor skills profoundly difficult and permanently stunted. The children would have to come home and face reality that their mother could no longer care for them.
At Angela's insistence a children s group home was located for them to stay. Angela's felt it would be temporary . As she had done as a teenager, Angela would not accept defeat this time either.
Life had other plans....

Angela passed from a final stroke in the early morning hours of November 5th, 1984..
on the day of her funeral in the back of the chapel sat Raymond grieveing for his beloved Angela.  

12 hours earlier..

Gerhard McGee I, the children's grandfather also passed away 3000 miles away in his home in Roxburough , Pennsylvania. He had just completed reading the Bible and laid it on his lap and died.

The death of Angela  had a  profound affect on her family's life especially her children  and her mother. Eventually her name would become something the family never really spoke about not due to embarrasment  but because it brings back so many tragic moments  for them. Her two youngeast children were forced to grow up really fast and some how come to terms with thier mother's death and some how found a way to privately grieve for her in thier own way. Angela is now a name they can speak freely  with some laughter some tears but regardless they learned that her life was not in vain  she lives on in her six grandchildren who are her true legacy.   We Love and Miss you MOM
Danielle and Geary