This is a post about undying love.
David started kindergarten, I advanced to first grade, and Mom returned to work. She left during the day for the second shift at General Electric, and returned after we were asleep. This was okay in the morning and while in school, but I wanted her waiting at home when I got off the bus. My solution? I caught mysterious ailments each Monday and had to stay home sick. I could be with her all morning (while she frantically searched for a babysitter) until she left for work. My parents proved smarter than I thought, and the pattern soon noticed.
The next Monday, Mom literally dragged me to the waiting school bus as I dug in my heels, crying at the top of my lungs.“I’m too sick for school.”
The yellow bus swung its doors open, waiting to whisk me away. I raised my legs and planted one foot on each side of the door, giving the bus driver an eyeful. Mom pushed, but it was like forcing an open umbrella through a porthole. A fourth grade girl came down the steps and grabbed my feet, closing the umbrella. She and Mom carried me like a trussed up piglet to the front seat. I continued crying from embarrassment as the bus filled with laughter from the show I put on.
Later that evening, Dad explained, “You have no idea how much your actions upset your mother. She wants to stay home, but is working to help our family. It breaks her heart that you miss her so much.”
Talk about guilt. I made an immediate turnaround. I drew pictures, and wrote love letters and poems for her to find when she got home late each night.
At five-feet-one-inch, Mom seemed plenty tall at the time. She had curly short brown hair, flawless skin, and her face resembled Betty Grable. Her nickname, Giggy, suited her. Never one to watch television all day, she was always busy. When she did take time to sit, it was to read, a passion she passed on to me. She canned shelves of vegetables from one or two oversized gardens, and shared the fruits of her labors with neighbors and family. She sewed clothes, and I watched her create tailored slipcovers for furniture without using a pattern. Later in life, while suffering from cancer, Mom continued to bring homemade soup, zucchini bread, and other goodies to her two oldest sisters. Most important, she was a great mother, wonderful sister, and good friend.
I wanted Mom to appear on Queen for a Day, so she could wear a crown and red velvet robe, carry a giant bunch of red roses, and win a major appliance. I knew she’d make the clap-o-meter spin out of control, winning by a landslide. Her sob story about working so hard would beat the other tales of woe, besides, Mom was so pretty and the other contestants looked like old grandmothers.
A large photo of Mom’s engagement picture sat on an upstairs dresser at Bochi’s. No movie star’s photo came close to her beauty. I often sat in front of her picture and practiced imitating the same pose and slight smile. I never mastered the smile because my mouth was filled with Dad’s English horse-teeth.
She and Dad were soul-mates, and he said she was the love of his life. He courted her by driving past her house doing tricks on his Harley Davidson, such as laying out flat with his legs behind him. Not surprisingly, Dad’s middle name is Harley. (refer to Exposed-Grandma and Grandpa’s Farm for a photo of Dad’s Harley)
I inherited some of my spunk from Mom. The second youngest of five sisters, her Aunt Catherine referred to her as ‘the naughty one‘. When Mom was young, a large piece of roofing tin leaned against the side of her house. It made a great slide until Bochi told the girls to stay off. The naughty one continued to slide when no one looked. She slid too close to the edge and almost severed her little toe from her bare foot. Not wanting to get in trouble, Mom wrapped a piece of material around it and put her shoes on. Thankfully, her hobbling was noticed before gangrene set in.
Shortly before Mom’s death, she gave me a packet containing all the words of love I wrote for her forty-eight years earlier, while attending school on Mondays.
Here is a sample of the love letters written to Mom.
Now it’s your turn: Share a loving memory of your Mom.
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