Sunday, May 13, 2007

Happy Mother's Day

When my mom married my dad in 1932, he came with a ready-made family; his first wife died in the process of giving birth to my brother.

They had been married for twelve years when I entered the scene.  Mother had at least one miscarriage, and lost a baby boy full-term, before my birth.

I grew up being allowed to eat anything I wanted, any time.  “We don’t care what she eats, as long as she eats.”

So if I wanted to make dough-balls out of half a loaf of bread and eat them, it was fine.  If there was pie in the house and I wanted pie for breakfast, that was OK.  Mother didn’t mind if she'd spent hours making a big supper and all I ate was bread and gravy.

I was a stubborn and willful child who received lots of spankings.  I’m not sure they did any good.

My mom made the best fried chicken in the world; that’s what she
usually fixed for Sunday dinner, and she was liable to invite the whole congregation to our house for a meal, after Church.

Mother was gregarious, and always had women hanging around, seeking out a shoulder to cry on or a word of encouragement or advice.  I took this picture when I was a teenager, because it’s how I saw my mom every evening after she came home from working all day in a factory.  She admitted privately that some of the neighbor women were tiresome, but she never told them that.  In later years she took her show on the road: She became an “Avon Lady”, and she got to lend her shoulder to a whole new set of people.

Before she retired, she took up making quilts from double-knit fabrics salvaged from cheap clothing bought at garage sales.  She could turn those things out with assembly-line speed, and I’m sure they numbered in the hundreds.  She gave them for graduation and wedding gifts, birthdays and Christmas presents.  Anybody who crossed Mother's path in life has one of these durable quilts in the house someplace.

After retirement, she and Daddy spent hours picking up aluminum cans along the roadsides for petty cash.  They absolutely  loved  doing it. 

They went camping with folks from Church, and she'd make popcorn for everybody in the evening, around the campfire.  She still enjoyed feeding people.

Daddy died in 1987, and Mother was really never happy after that.  She remarried, only to find that two old people, set in their ways, don’t make the kind of marriage she was expecting.  Divorce in her world was a sin, though, and she stuck it out until old Tom passed away.

I prefer to remember Mother as she was before Daddy died, laughing and busy.  I like to remember her playing cards with Cliff’s parents, confiding to me later, “Melva (Cliff’s mom) cheats!”

The happy times.

I was never the sort of daughter Mother had in mind.  But she gave me life, and she was stuck with me.  She raised me the best she knew how. 

I guess that’s just what mothers do. 


lmitc89854 said...

Happy Mother's Day to you. I still have my mother which is both a blessing and a curse!  (She lives with me) I have 3 daughters, 2 by birth and 1 chosen. I am blessed with 8 grandchildren (soon to be 9)

ickivic said...

Happy Mother's Day!  Such wonderful memories, thanks for sharing

madcobug said...

Happy Mother's Day Donna. Helen

bnanajm said...

You look like your Mom - at least from the picture of her with the quilt.

Happy Mother's Day, Donna



siennastarr said...

Lovely remembrance story about your mom, Donna..   I do hope that you had a nice Mothers' Day today!


marainey1 said...

What a nice tribute to your Mom. Yes , that is what we moms all do -- the best we can.  Happy Mother's Day to you !  'On Ya' - ma

plieck30 said...

Nice entry. I like the part about picking up cans. I would never be to good to do that. My youngest daughter and I picked up cans for charity and I would do it again if I needed money. Paula

lanurseprn said...

Lovely tribute to your Mom. I hope you had a good day yourself.

ora4uk said...

Bet your Mom thought you were the best daughter a mother could have....maybe not all the time....but when it was the most important look like your Mom...guess it is the dark hair???  nice entry...Hugs from KY...Ora

lorinokla said...

good story about your mother! she sounds like a wonderful mother and a wonderful friend.....there are never enough women in this world like your mother. The old photos are great!

fmgruber said...

These are some lovely memories.
I think both of you did alriaght. };?D

gehi6 said...

This is a very good portrait of your Mom.  I really enjoyed it.  Showing all aspects of her life in photos, too. My mother and dad married in 1930 and I was born in 1931. So that 'old timey' photo gave me a sense of nostalgia.  Thanks for your effort to make your mother 'come alive' again for all of us, too.   Gerry  

fowfies said...

Wonderful photos of you mother. She sounds like she was a beautiful lady, inside and out.

mutualaide said...

Love seeing the pictures and remembering the kitchen table in our house and the big, old, black phone!  Happy Mother's Day!