Thursday, February 15, 2007

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.


Blogger KGMom said...

Ginnie--oh, how I understand that urge to "pick up the phone" and talk to Mother.
What a lovely tribute to your mother--and what an example she seems to have set for you in many ways.
The wisdom of not leaving things for children to fight over--so wise.
Thanks for "introducing" us to this wonderful woman.

6:20 AM  
Blogger Anvilcloud said...

I do understand how it seems that you could pick up the phone and talk to her. Somehow, it seems like we haven't seen parents for a few days, but it's been years since they passed on.

6:31 AM  
Blogger Ginger said...

What a wonderful memory. Thanks for sharing with us about her.

6:51 AM  
Blogger Pam said...

Your mother's character shows in her eyes, they draw you in. She sounds delightful, what lovely memories.

7:24 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

What a nice tribute to your mother. She sounds like a very likable person, so I can see why those friends stayed in touch with her.
And she was indeed very wise in dispensing her possessions the way she did. Plus....she got to experience the fun of doing it.

8:48 AM  
Blogger kenju said...

My mom died in 1985 and my dad in 1995, and I still think to myself on Sundays, I need to call home. I suppose I will go to my grave wanting to talk to them.

That was smart of your mom to give things away while she was able to make the decision. I am trying that too.

11:18 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Just like kenju, although my mother died in 1984, I still think of calling her to tell her this or that.
As I used to tell my daughter when she was little and her Dad died,
"your parents never really die, they remain alive in your heart."

11:48 AM  
Blogger Love Bears All Things said...

A beautiful tribute! I especially enjoyed it as I just finished settling Dad's estate. I miss my Mom also. Maybe the reason siblings remember things differently is because with our different personalities and attitudes, a parent responds in different ways. I have found disparity in siblings in my husbands family and between my own children's memories. Mama Bear

4:05 PM  
Blogger dmmgmfm said...

I still do the same Ginnie. It's been over 5 years and I still can't believe she's gone. I want to call her for the happy things and the sad things and everytime the phone rings I have an instant of hope and then I remember.

6:53 PM  
Blogger Cathy said...

Ginnie - this is so lovely and touching. You've struck a chord here that resonates with the rest of us. My mother is 85. I'm calling her first thing in the morning. Thank you.

7:30 PM  
Blogger Cazzie!!! said...

Yes, sounds about right too. My nanna prevented squabbles over her belongings, she left alot of stuff to the Salvation Army as they had saved hers and her childrens'lives during the 2nd world war when my pa was in New Guinea.
Nice she got the last word :)

9:40 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I think that many of us have that 'telephone thing' Ginnie. It's like holiday snaps. I often think ... I must show these to Mum. Who knows, perhaps she sees them.

7:24 AM  
Blogger Unknown said...

Hi Ginnie,
She is just beautiful; a woman from another era. I enjoyed reading about the choices that she made in living her life.

3:39 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I do admire women! She sounds like she was her own person.

9:05 PM  
Blogger Suzy said...

Ginnie, what a beautiful essay.
I haven't much to add that hasn't already been said.

I've been listening to Rosalie Sorrels' recorded tribute to her mother lately: Report from Grimes Creek.

My husband teases me, because in the 5 years since my mother's death I have grown nostalgic for many of the things that used to drive me crazy to the point of fury!

Cherish your memories.

4:49 PM  

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