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Hoosier Musings on the Road to Emmaus

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Remembering Mama

Today is the anniversary of my mother's death.  I wrote the original version of the following 10 years ago, and updated it only a little.  That's all it needed; some things never change.


She was a Depression baby, born to a family hit hard, dressed in homemade clothes and love.

She was a tomboy, playing baseball and mumbledy peg and shooting marbles in the cinders in the alley. She drew constantly, sketches in notebooks and on scrap paper. And she read-- Lord, she read.  Zane Grey and Frank Yerby, adventures and history, fiction and biography. New books of any sort were relished, and old favorites were cherished as old friends.  "Don't ask which ones to bring home from the library; start in the 'A's' and work your way around."

She was smart. It took her five years to graduate college (the first in her family) but she had 4 degrees when she was done: Math. Physics. History. Government. "Everything’s worth knowing, and there's no such thing as wasted education. "

She married a boy she met in her high school geometry class-- the swimmer with the wavy hair and the ice blue eyes. Together they raised three children: demanding, challenging, and inordinately proud parents.    "Never settle for less than your best.""Why yes, they are marvelous, aren't they?"

She was a "doer." Episcopal Church Women and Sunday School teacher, golf lessons and painting lessons, garden club president and PTA room mother. "Everything's a challenge: find the most efficient way, get it done quicker, so there's time for more of what you want to do. "

She was a survivor. Diagnosed with a neuro-muscular disease, she was put to bed at 38 and told to stay there or she might not see 40. The kids were 13, 10 and 6.   No more doing, except in her head. And she smiled, and continued loving and learning. The master bedroom became the family room and stayed that way. She kept track of the world, figured out the stock market, and taught those kids to deal with life, all from the left side of a king-size mattress.  Like everything else, she learned to manage, to get the most out of what she had. "That's life, and at least I'm still here to live it. "

Fifteen years ago today she died, but she still touches me when I least expect it.  Her hands on my keyboard. Her voice when I answer the phone.  Her scent on the blouse in the back of my closet.

Love you, Mama.


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