Saturday, May 13, 2006
"We never laughed like that"...
I don’t have many pictures of my Mother. This one is a favorite of mine. It is originally only 3 inches tall and about 2 ½ inches wide and for years I could not make out what was really going on in the photo. One night when I was going through pictures with my Mom she came upon it and stared at it for a while. She tossed it aside and said, “We never laughed like that”. Years later after she had passed I had the few remaining pictures of her enlarged. When I opened the envelope for the first time I could see that she was with her family, the girls are holding tiny puppies that are snuggling into their necks tickling them and making them laugh. My Mother is the bobbed little girl sitting on her father’s lap.
I am happy to say that I don’t look back on my childhood with that same type of feeling. We laughed a lot in our home. There were six kids and my mother was an executive in the real estate industry. She was extremely busy. I don’t know how she did it. It was not common for women to work like that in those days. She always tried to make a little extra time for me. We shared a lot of time talking while she was cooking. Some of my favorite memories of her are the nights before Thanksgiving or Christmas Eve when she made pies. The best rainy Saturday afternoons I have ever spent were those watching spooky movies with Mom and splurging on fudge. She had a weakness for fudge and could whip up a perfect batch at a moments notice.
I don’t have much of anything that belonged to my mother, just a plastic powder compact – nothing fancy. But oh - when you open that compact…that is the scent of my mother. I keep it in my memory box with other photos and things from a long time ago.
I have been thinking a lot this week…what sort of things am I leaving behind for my kids? I am not sure how to say this without sounding shallow, but here goes… I want them to have something nicer. My Mother was worth so much more than a drug store compact. The idea that the simple things left behind might someday be the very token that someone holds onto is interesting. I am sure when my mother purchased that compact at the five and dime she did not know that 32 years later her daughter would still have it and cherish it. A friend of mine has a collection of beautiful tiny bowls that belonged to her mother. “These are ketchup and mustard dishes, a little joy for a pickle or a pepper”, she told me. She said that her mother would never put condiments on to the table in the ordinary jars they came in – everything was served in little vintage china or crystal dishes.
I think these little personality glimpses are what we are holding on to. I am also holding on to the scent of my mother, no matter how it is packaged.