Bridgid Teel

February 1935 – October 2015

“We sing a song to Bridgid, Bridgid brings the Spring, Awakens all the fields and the flowers, And calls the birds to sing.”

 

at peace purchased

Remembering Bridgid

Imbolc, also known as the Feast of Bridgid, is celebrated on February 1, and heralds the arrival of longer, warmer days and the early signs of spring. My Mother, Bridgid, was born on this day in 1935, and named in honor of the extraordinary gift that was the Goddess/St. Bridgid, for they are tied together in Irish history as muses of healing and creativity. My Mum was a child of island people and grew up running from a vicious ankle-biting rooster in the small fishing and farming village of Greystones, in Wicklow County, Ireland.
 

When she was 4 years old, a man of hate and extreme prejudice declared war on the world in an attempt to force all others to bend to his will and submit to his hate-filled vision of a graceless dictatorship and nobility-crushing laws. For the next 6 years young Bridgid lived in a world full of fear, limited supplies and air raid bombings. I still have amazing thick and heavy anti-aircraft curtains my Mum made, hanging across the windows in the front of my house – they were designed to keep the house lights from showing through into the night and also to protect family within from flying glass if a bomb was dropped near one’s home. But in this dark time she also had the love and support of a huge Irish family. When the war was finally over, her family could once again begin to grow and thrive, but not in Ireland. My Mum in her teen years had to learn to be a young woman in Post World War II England. It is there that she won second place in a beauty contest, won a precision driving course/race and began working as a secretary at RAF Greenham Commons, (a British and American Base) near Burderop Park, England.

In the 1960s, while a band from Liverpool was just starting to play the German clubs, Bridgid and her friends were having fun, dating young airmen and anyone else who was willing to take them out to dinner and dancing. She liked to get her hair done, wear pencil skirts and stiletto heels. The pockmarks from the heels of her shoes were still embedded in my Grammy’s kitchen floor in Reading, England when I visited 15 years later as a teenager. Bridgid was smart, sassy and loved to be out and about with friends. When her best friend started dating an American Airman quite seriously, her friend’s family was a little concerned and asked if the girls would be willing to “double date” for mutual safety and support. This is when Bridgid met Billy, the wingman of her best friend’s Airman. I don’t believe it was love at first sight, they were both too “worldly” for that romantic shite, but they did get on fairly well and seemed to have a healthy tolerance for each other even if Billy refused to dance.

In 1961, the two couples were married in a double wedding, the brides in matching dresses with tight bodices and fabulous full skirts. Soon after the wedding, Bridgid and Billy moved into a run-down old mill house near the base that had a small garden Bridgid adored. In all her adult life, my mother never lost her love of gardens and gardening, she was creative and most alive when surrounded by precisely designed and controlled living and growing floral arrangements. Flowers were a living symbol to her of all things beautiful and full of potential.

In 1962, after a very difficult pregnancy and delivery, Bridgid brought a baby girl into the world. From the very beginning she surrounded her child with gardens and cats and opportunities for creative expression. She shared her love of sewing, design and live theater with her daughter and always tried to support her husband and his young airmen in all their endeavors. Their house was always filled with food and the unique comradery that comes with being a military “family” and having too many pets to name, including over the years… cats, dogs, fish, birds and a ferret.

Bridgid lived in Ireland, England, America, Spain, and Saudi Arabia, and she traveled almost everywhere else. She had a persistent driving need to explore the beauty of her world.

When I graduated from high school in Aurora, Colorado, she threw two suitcases, a cooler, a shotgun (neither of us knew how to shoot), a small tent (which we NEVER used – hotels all the way) and a couple of sleeping bags into my old second-hand ‘75 AMC CJ-5 soft top Jeep and away we went to drive the Al-Can highway to Alaska. I don’t recall being given an option on either participation or destination; I believe I was only given about 24 hours to pack. This was life with my Mum. While she loved to travel and go on adventures, she rarely went alone. If she could not coerce an adult friend to come along, I was drafted into the adventure as map-reader, locater of hotels/restaurants, sherpa and general social assistant.

Once while in Egypt, I was also required to become search and rescue as our guide stated plainly, he was done with my mother’s wanderings and would NOT hold the boat for her if I did not bring her back to the dock on time for departure. It was a mad race through an ancient Egyptian city on a wild search for an American Brit with a very slight Irish lilt. I finally located her having a lovely afternoon tea with a brass table merchant deep within his cozy and huge factory/shop/home. Life with my mum was nothing if not a grand adventure to be had whenever she was in the mood, the sun was shining and the flowers were in bloom. She was mad crazy Irish and she never let her terrible fears stop her from exploring her world, often dragging us, sometimes kicking and screaming, along with her. Bridgid left on her final adventure October 17, 2015 at 4:45am.

Bridgid Teel was a daughter, wife, mother and wildly creative adventurer in this great big world. She will be deeply missed by all whose lives she has touched.

Billy, her loving husband & Karen, her grateful daughter.

Friends & Family

Billy Teel, Devoted Husband
Karen Teel, Grateful Daughter
Mara, Bear, Jett and Lacey… fuzzbutts extraordinar