December 31, 2010
Charmion Ann McCardle
Charm excitedly eloped with her childhood sweetheart, Mickey McCardle, the night she graduated from Manuel Arts High School in 1940. Both my parents were native Californians and fell in love when they were fifteen years old.
My parents’ parents feeling they were too young, somehow disolved the marriage, but as fate would have it they remarried seven years later, after Mickey made history as a USC halfback, and Charm completed a tour of duty as a Wave in the U.S. Navy. I’m proud to say that she was appointed the First Chief on the West Coast and it was she who, maybe not decoded but received and handed off the telegraph announcing Pearl Harbor had been bombed.
They, Charm & Mickey, than had three children: Susea (me), Mark & David. (I knew my dad was never disappointed to have a girl first, because I was the first girl born in the McCardle family in 81 years! And, I was born on Thanksgiving Day, therefore they not only got a girl but a turkey!
Mickey traveled around the world making movies and Charm worked as a volunteer at the Motion Picture Television Country House & Hospital (now MPTV Fund) in Woodland Hills, CA, for over thirty years. Charm created the Teddy Hug Program that brought much joy and comfort to people in need. There is a darling live Teddy Bear bush planted on the campus in honor of the program. She received an amazing endorsement from Army Archerd in his famous column in the L.A. Times. (My dad was really proud. )
Charm was grandmother to Mark and Faith’s two children, Erin Mae & Ryan Joseph.
Then Charm consequently became a great grandmother to Erin’s three children: Kaleb Joseph Inwood, Krista Mae Inwood & Lucas Vincent Groninga with sweet husband, Chad.
Charm’s adopted daughter was her children’s oldest friend and neighbor over the fence, Sandy DiSpirito, who was called “The Underground” by our dad because she always knew or found out about things first.
Charm left for Heaven in Ogden, Utah, near Mark and Faith’s house. For the year and a half she lived in Ogden, Erin was her sidekick, taking her to get her hair and nails done, lunches, shopping, undoubtedly “forcing” Erin to buy yet another pair of shoes. (They both had a shoe fetish . . .)
Probably the greatest adventure my mother embarked on was her trip to Paris with my father while he worked on the movie, The Great Race. For two and a half months she and my father lived in the Honeymoon Suite at the Paris Hilton. My mother took advantage of this time to travel to her mother’s homeland Norway, where she met many relatives, heard unusual stories and was in awe of the fjords that had historically wiped-out much of my grandmother’s family.
My mother was known as “the sweet one,” and that she truly was. I mean what other mother says, “The circus is in town, let’s go!” “Yeah!” we three chime in, then on the way she’s so, so sorry but we have to stop for Polio shots. But she always took the bad away with big rewards.
I’ve been musing over what I feel is the greatest advise my mother gave me about living a good life. She certainly encouraged me to go, go, go, hence, my having sailed here to the West Indies with Gene, my husband of thirty-two years. She encouraged me to dream big, that I could be anything I wanted to be, because some “lucky dog” has to win and why can’t it be me (not that she thought of me as a dog! Well sometimes I might have . . .) (My dad didn’t quite feel that way, because he was living during a time when it was a “man’s world”. He, the jock that he was, just couldn’t help it.) But my mom knew better, she knew the “Stepford Wife” era was going up in panty and bra flames. And hallelujah to that.
So the greatest lessons I learned from my mother were: 1.) You can’t judge a book by its cover. 2.) Live by the golden rule (“do unto others as you would have them do unto you”—this really was huge to her. 3.) “Susea you get an inch and take a mile!” (Still do when I can get away with it because it works. And just to clarify that statement of hers it came from her wanting me to go to church on Sundays and me wanting to go to the church of the sea and surf. So we came to a short-lived agreement and that was that I could surf on Saturdays if I went to church on Sundays. It worked for a few tortuous weeks until the next great swell hit and the surf contests lasted all weekend long.
There is no doubt in my mind that I would not be the woman I am, nor have had the successes I’ve had, nor have lived the unusual lifestyle I’ve lived with Gene if it had not been for my mother’s unconditional love and unfaultering encouragement. She was truly a grand, creative lady with the largest loving heart I’ve ever know. Her life was not all peaches and cream, but she made one hell of a good pie out of it. I will always be proud to be her daughter, and look forward to when we meet again.
A very special thank you and love to all of you that came to my mother’s Celebration of Life, 12–31–10, in person and in spirit. “They” say the greatest thing that can happen at then end of one’s life is to know love and know that you are loved. My mom was greatly loved and love lives on.