I REMEMBER my MOTHER … 1896 - 1988
I can’t tell you how many times I’ve thought that I’ll just give my mother a call to ask her opinion on something...or to share some special event...only to realize that she is no longer here. It’s a strange and unsettling feeling. She has been gone for more than 18 years but that doesn’t seem to sink in, somehow.
There are so many aspects of her personality that come to the fore. She was a dignified woman in all ways and yet she had a wonderfully silly side to her, especially when we girls (all 5 of us) were young. Time and again we would start giggling over some little thing and it would become infectious. Then she couldn’t help but join in and the six of us would go into paroxysm’s of laughter, to the dismay of my Dad.
Mother was born and brought up in Brattleboro, Vt. After she finished her schooling she taught art at Skidmore College and then left to marry my Dad. They had a very loving marriage but it wasn’t easy. All 5 of us were born in the depression era and, at one point, Dad had to sell a large stamp collection in order to make ends meet. Mother took in sewing and I remember that she always seemed to have a skirt to hem or a dress to make. It did help to pay the bills and she continued to do this for many years.
We moved from Plainfield, New Jersey, in 1940 and settled in Wellesley Hills, Massachusetts. By this time we were all in school and our house was a constant beehive of activity. Mother was a great favorite of many of our friends and they would continue to keep up with her long after our friendships had waned, and even after my Dad died in 1961.
Mother was very disciplined and a bit of a perfectionist. It’s funny, though, how I remember Mother giving me great latitude in many areas and yet my oldest sister remembers her as being very inflexible. I think she had probably relaxed a lot when I came along !
She was a great “collector” and her interests were wide and varied. My daughter and her husband have just inherited a very large rock collection of hers. There are stones from all corners of the world and each one is documented and numbered.
Mother did a wonderful thing as she grew older. She honed down her belongings (giving us things over the years) until, by the time she was in her final years she had almost nothing except some treasured photos and keepsakes. She did this on purpose. She didn’t want any contention between the 5 of us when it came to
settling her estate. What a wise woman...and she got in the last word too.