Posted tagged ‘my mother’

“A mother is always the beginning. She is how things begin.”

May 10, 2015

Today is Mother’s Day. It is the day I honor my mother and my memories of her. Every year I post basically this same entry with only a few little changes.

My mother was amazing. She was generous, fun to be with and was the perfect martyr when she needed to be, a skill I think most mothers have. It was her tone of voice so filled with pain that caused our guilt to well to the surface. “I’ll do it myself,” she’d say. We’d scurry to do whatever she wanted.

My sisters and I laugh often about the curses she inflicted on us: the love of everything Christmas and never thinking you have enough presents for everyone, giving Easter baskets overflowing with candy and fun toys and surprising people with a gift just because.

My mother had a generosity of spirit. She was funny and smart and the belle of every ball. She always had music going in the kitchen as she worked so she could sing along. She played Frank and Tony and Johnny and from her I learned the old songs. My mother drew all the relatives to her, and her house was filled. My cousins visited often. She was their favorite aunty. My mother loved to play Big Boggle, and we’d sit for hours at the kitchen table and play so many games we’d lose track of the time. Christmas was always amazing, and she passed this love to all of us. We traveled together, she and I, and my mother was game for anything. I remember Italy and my mother and me after dinner at the hotel bar where she’d enjoy her cognac. She never had it any other time, but we’re on vacation she said and anything goes. I talked to her just about every day, as did my sisters. I loved it when she came to visit. We’d shop, have dinner out then play games at night. I always waited on her when she was here. I figured it was the least I could do.

My mother loved extreme weather shows, TV judges and crime. She never missed Judge Judy. She also liked quiz shows and she and I used to play Jeopardy together on the phone at night. She always had a crossword puzzle book with a pen inside on the table beside her chair, and I used to try to fill in some of the blanks. On the dining room table was often a jig saw puzzle, and we all stopped to add pieces on the way to the kitchen. My mother loved a good time.

She did get feisty, and I remember flying slippers aimed at my head when I was a kid. She expertly used mother’s guilt on us, her poor victims. We sometimes drove her crazy, and she let us know, none too quietly. We never argued over politics. She kept her opinions close. We sometimes argued over other things, but the arguments never lasted long.

Even after all this time, I still think to reach for the phone to call my mother when I see something interesting or have a question I know only she can answer. When I woke up this morning, my first thought was of her, and how much she is missed. No one ever told me how hard it would be.

“The end-of-summer winds make people restless.”

October 9, 2014

I swear it was sunny when I went outside to get the papers. Now it is cloudy and dark. The trees in the backyard look stark against the grey sky. It is cooler than it has been. I have no complaints, though, as it was 70˚ yesterday. I went about my errands with the window down. I had a list and missed nothing, even got my flu shot.

I have been restless and don’t know the reason. I go from being on-line to reading to cleaning and finally to wandering the house looking for something to do. I have polished and dusted. I have swept the kitchen then wet mopped the floor. My timing, though, is bad. My cleaning couple come today.

I don’t remember watching my mother clean the house. She did it while we were in school. I have no idea as to her routine. I just know the house was clean and the beds were made when I got home. In the late afternoon, my mother would start to work on dinner. I remember her standing by the sink peeling potatoes. It is always 16 Washington Ave in my memories. That is where I spent most of my growing up years. Here and there are memories of earlier and later places, but I can still remember every room at 16 Washington Ave. I remember looking out the picture window at the rain or the snow or the wind blowing leaves down the street. The television was in a cabinet. There were two closets downstairs almost right next to each other, and I always wondered why the builders did it that way. The first, the larger of the two, was where the coats and boots were kept. My dad would come home from work, take off and then hang up his topcoat and put his hat on the shelf. The other closet, in a nook, wasn’t as deep. The ironing board and iron were there, and my mother used to hide Christmas presents in the back. That’s all I remember about that closet.

We always said Washington Ave, never Washington Avenue. I don’t know why.

“There is one day that is ours. Thanksgiving Day is the one day that is purely American.”

November 24, 2013

Last night the wind blew then blew some more and whistled and shook the house. It was tremendous.

Today is bone-chillingly cold. Patches of blue dot the sky. The wind is not as strong as last night but it is still whipping the bare branches of the pines and oaks. The sun shines weakly for a while then disappears and leaves behind a bleakness, a wintry feel to the day. Outside is not at all inviting.

I have always believed Thanksgiving is more about family than any other holiday. I remember the Thanksgivings of my childhood and being home together the whole day biding our time until dinner. My mother always woke up in the wee hours of the morning to stuff the turkey then put it into the oven. The huge oval turkey pan was blue with small white dots. Sometimes the turkey was so big it just fit into the pan. I can still see my mother straining to pull the shelf out of the oven so she could baste the turkey. She always took a taste of the hard outside crust of the stuffing before she’d push the turkey back into the oven. Her stuffing tasted of sage and Bell’s Seasoning. It is still my favorite stuffing of them all. The windows were always steamed from the heat so my mother would open the back door to cool the small kitchen. While she worked on dinner, we sat in front of the TV and watched the Macy’s parade. She always put out the same snacks for the parade. There was a bowl of nuts to crack and eat, M&M’s and tangerines. I always like the tangerines because they were so easy to peel. The nuts were fun to crack.

When we were young, the menu didn’t vary much. Mashed potatoes were one of the highlights. I remember the big glob of butter my mother would put on top and how it would melt down the sides of the pile of potatoes. I always made a well in my potatoes where I’d put the gravy. I am still a huge fan of mashed potatoes. Creamed onions were on the menu because they were one of my father’s favorites. Peas were mine. The green beans came from a can because all our vegetables did. My father cut the meat with great ceremony and we all watched. He cut plenty of white meat because it was our favorite, but not my father’s. He was a leg man.

Dessert was always the same. My mother made an apple pie, a blueberry pie and a lemon meringue pie, my personal favorite. Pumpkin  pie was added when we were older.

Leftovers seemed to last forever.


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