Sunday, May 9, 2010

Mother's Day

When I was born, in 1940, people didn't live as long as is normal now so the fact that I had 3 great-grandmothers and 2 grandmothers, and 3 of the bunch still had living husbands warranted an item in our local small town newspaper. I still have the clipping.

I knew and loved all of them; they were an odd assortment of people though I must say. One of my great-grandmothers was very short, under 5', and so bowlegged it made her even shorter. She lived in what we would now call a shack, just two rooms and an outhouse, but it was immaculate. In winter she lived by her potbelly stove to stay warm, and fortunately had the water pump in the kitchen by her sink. To her that was high toned living.

Another great-grandmother was very tall and thin with gorgeous white hair which she braided and then wound the braids around her head. She had a beautiful home which she shared with her youngest daughter and a black and white Boston terrior named, for some unknown reason, Alky.

The third one and my great-grandfather lived in a small house at the edge of the town where I was born. They had tried homesteading in Nebraska, and my grandfather and his sister were born there. However after serious trouble they returned home. She was the best baker in the world; her biscuits were to die for.

I grew up just a block from my maternal grandparents so we were very close. When I wasn't in school I was helping Gram with laundry, etc. because they ran a rooming house a block from the state capitol building. I used to love brushing her hair on their lovely front porch in the summer. My paternal grandparents moved to Phoenix when I was only six years old so I only saw them every three years when we drove out there.

All are gone of course but I have lasting memories of them. My mother is gone too, but my best memories are of her. Mom and I didn't get along that well when I was a child, particularly when I was an impossible to get along with teenager. When I finally grew up though, we became more tolerant of each other and at long last a loving mother and daughter. As she lay dying I learned that she was stronger and braver than I had ever given her credit for, and since her death I've missed her more intensely than I had expected. She was pure love.

Happy Mother's Day to all of you who are mothers. And daughters, please overlook your mom's habits you find embarrassing or grating, just appreciate her for her good qualities, remembering that she won't always be with you.

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