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My Memories of My Mother

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My Memories of My Mother

I lost my life long best friend who was also my mother in March 2013. The memories I have of Mom go from laughter and sorrow to tears and anger but because she was my best friend and emotional supporter I want to concentrate only on the good.

At the age of seven, I lost my functional hearing for speech discrimination. Mom was right there encouraging me to be what I want to be. She always told me that I wasn’t handicapped unless I wanted to be. As I look back on it now, I realize how lucky I was that Mom provided a warm loving home. She grew up as a lonely, motherless child with six siblings all ten years older to twenty years older than her. I realize now that Mom made sure I didn’t view my deafness as something to be ashamed of like she had to endure about her own loss.

Mama was a master of quips and comebacks. I remember one time when she was furious that my Dad was conned into buying a heap of junk which passed as a car. Moms dragged Dad down to that used sales car lot to confront the sales man and return the car. Well, after the salesman gave his pitch bout how good the car was, he made the mistake of saying that if the car was no good he would eat his hat. Mom looked him in the eye and said, “Well Mister guess you better start eating your hat.” Without a word he reached in his pocket and then handed mom the money back. As they were leaving he muttered “can’t argue with a woman like that.” I remember one morning when my sister and I were in the bathroom getting ready for high school and Mom passed the bathroom on her way out of the house. She stopped in the hall and spontaneously said, “I shall return.” Jeanne and I busted out laughing with a fit of giggles. Really, no one would think it was that hilarious but it was just the unexpected and way she drawled that statement.

Mom always found time to talk to her four children no matter how tired or stressed she was from being an uneducated, poor and a single mother. She divorced my alcoholic father when I was six in order to raise us kids without the alcoholic influence of his parents or him. I remember many a time when I would go into Mom’s bedroom and my younger brother would get up from siting and talking to Mom at her bedside. I then would take that place at her bedside to tell her my childish concerns. This nightly ritual at the bedside went on for years then gradually the kitchen table was where mom had her pow wows. When I came home on vacations, the kitchen table always had at least two or more cups where Mom’s kids would have hours of conversation. Mom and I often marveled at our ability to always find something to talk about even when she lived with my husband and I the last ten years of her life.

Her ability to be warm and mothering didn’t stop with her children. Our childhood friends often called her Mom. My brother, Charles had a motherless friend whose father was too involved in his emotions to take care of his son. Mom treated him as a member of the family. Years later after losing touch with Kearny, he contacted my brother just to see how Mom was doing. When Charles invited him to visit from Alaska, he refused on the basis that he didn’t want Mom to see the drug wasted life he indulged in. Mom always taught us kids to not judge people by the color of their skin, looks, or handicap. She lived this principle and proved it when our relatives would make prejudicial comments. I was about ten when we lived across the street from a black family with three girls the ages of me and my siblings. One summer day my aunt and her husband came to visit. My sister and her little black friend came in to ask Mom for permission to go over to her friend’s house to play. After they left I saw (lip read) my aunt say, “Aren’t you afraid that girl might make Jeanne sick or some of that black might rub off.” Mom lost her temper and told Aunt Mary that she was not aiming to raise us kids as bigot white trash. They kept their comments to themselves thereafter.

Mom had a marvelous sense of humor and the ability to laugh at herself. One of my favorite memories happened about forty years ago but is still as funny as it was then. One day Mom baked a lemon meringue pie. I was sitting at the table when she got up to take out her pie from the oven. She stood there with that fresh pie and said, “Oh, what a beautiful pie.” At the moment she completed her statement, splat went the pie on the floor. She looked mournfully at me and said, Pride goeth before the destruction.” We both were laughing so hard that I wet my pants. I never let Mom live that down and reminded her of the incident often.

As a child I had a best friend until the last few weeks before our high school graduation. She did something that took twenty five years before I was able to forgive her. Mom had her quirks but no matter how hurt I was at that moment, all I had to do was to remember her love and emotional support that she gave me and all was forgotten.

Oh, how I miss her.

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