Today and Tomorrow – Birthdays for My Mother-in-Law and Son!



Originally posted Decemeber 20, 2012 – Revised December 19, 2016

December 19th and 20th – Birthdays for Mother-in-Law Ruth Browne and Son Peter Harrison Karn!!


Thirty years ago  my wife and I were sitting at Kennedy Memorial Hospital in Turnersville, NJ waiting for the birth of our third child. Well actually I was waiting, she was laboring! Anyway, we were wondering all day whether Peter would be born on her Mother’s birthday. Alas, Peter did not cooperate. He was born at 3:30 AM on December 20th. So Happy Birthday, Peter, your mom and I are very, very proud of the terrific young man you have become! (An interesting sidelight. Peter was born a day after his grandmother’s birthday, while his daughter Zoe was born a day BEFORE her grandmother’s birthday! Much to the chagrin of my wife!)

Anyway,  yesterday would have been my mother-in-law Ruth Browne Clarke’s 84th birthday. I say would have been because she only celebrated 48 of them. She passed away on December 7, 1981 twelve days before her 49th birthday. She had battled breast cancer for several years. She passed away four months before the birth of her second grandchild, Andrew.

Of any of the things that I wish could be changed in my life over the last 35 years, Ruth’s passing would be at the top of the list. I only wish that she could have been a part of her grandchildren’s and great-grandchildren’s lives! Many of her traits (all the good ones) have been passed to my wife. Without a doubt, Ruth’s spirit is alive in my wife. But still it would have been great to have had her here!!

You know there’s that movie Monster-in-Law well in Ruth’s case not even close!! In fact my wife once chided me that the only reason I went out with her was because of her mother and father. While that was not the case, it sure didn’t hurt to have such wonderful in-laws! One of the hardest days in my life was the day of Ruth’s viewing. She had touched the lives of so many and was so young that people were just beside themselves with grief. You’d just get over someone being upset and the next one would come along and they would be even more distraught!

I can’t count the many fond memories I have of Ruth and Bob! One of the memories has to do with Christmas. The first Christmas Party we had at Lippincott was quite memorable. One of the draftsman brought in a bottle of something and we hit it way too much through the day. By the end of the day I had to be driven home! I remember coming into the house pointing my finger at Ruth and saying “I Know You!” A bewildered Ruth (not knowing that I even drank)  responded “What’s a matter with you,Ed?” The next thing I remember is waking up on the bathroom floor many hours later, with one very angry wife!! But in the spirit of Christmas Bob and Ruth forgave me. However, for the rest of the holiday John Denver’s “Please Daddy don’t Get Drunk this Year for Christmas” was blaring from the stereo!!

The one thing that I do know for sure is that had she lived she would be so proud of her daughter,  our four children, and two grandchildren. She’d be proud of the great job  Kathleen her children and her husband! They say that only the good die young and this was certainly the case with Ruth!  Ruth, I still miss you and thank-you for all that you added to my life.  Of which, the most wonderful is the beautiful daughter that you let me marry! And if you’re within earshot here’s some lunchtime music from Alan Jackson singing a John Denver song you may remember!!