To understand my mom it helps to know that her own mother died after giving birth to my mom’s sixth sibling. She was ten years old and after that all the kids got shuffled off to live with other families across several counties. Mom, being the second born and deemed old enough to work, was sent off to earn her keep at her grandmother’s boarding house. She would tell a story about how all the tablespoons in the house would disappear when meals were made because her grandmother would taste something on the stove, then drop the spoon into the pot. She’d repeat that over and over again and all the spoons would come clinking out when the food was plated. By her early teens Mom had dropped out of school and was working first as a live-in housekeeper, then as a waitress living on her own in a rented room. Her dad would stop by the restaurant regularly to ask her for money. He drank away his widower’s grief until he drank so much he turned into an alcoholic.
Mothers and daughters have unique relationships and I leave it to others who knew us both to decide if I’m anything like my mom. One thing I know for sure is she did her best to see that my brother and I had the opportunity to pursue whatever after school activity that we showed an interest in. She was the leader of my Blue Birds, Camp Fire and Horizon Clubs, she volunteered to help on school field trips and was determined I would get a college education. My mom also knitted and crotcheted beautifully and played records when she was home alone. The only “mother thing” she didn’t accomplish was to teach me how to cook and that we can chalk up to me being too bullheaded to learn. She died on an Easter Day in the early ‘80s and while Easter changes dates every year I associate the holiday with losing and still missing her. And it should be noted here that my brother and I still argue over who Mom loved the best. ©