Thursday, October 04, 2012



My mother died three weeks ago. She was very ill for two weeks before that. I refer to that period as IT. I hate IT. And IT dominates my life as I have to deal with a lawyer and research estate sale organizers and worry about how I'm going to pay for her funeral.

IT needs to be dealt with. But I resent how IT reduces my mother to first pain and death, then stuff likes taxes and bills and accounts and a mortgage. So with this TT, I'd like to just think of her as a woman. (SHOUT OUT TO BOOKMAMA: Thank you for the idea.)

1) When my mother was a very young girl during the Depression, her favorite treat was canned fruit cocktail. Especially the halved cherry. She remembered that as the highlight of her Sundays.

2) Her middle name was Ruth, in honor of her father's sister. Aunt Ruth was what the family referred to as "colorful." Meaning that Aunt Ruth was known throughout town for doing things like holding the strap and singing "Clang, clang, clang went the trolley …" at the top of her lungs while riding the trolley.

3) She hated to cook. She knew how to, she just hated doing it.

4) After my dad died, she no longer had to make a conventional dinner each night. That's when she began having cold cereal or oatmeal for dinner and that suited her fine.

5) She loved her backyard. Not just the lawn and flowers, but the animals, too. It made her so happy to watch the birds and squirrels and chipmunks.

6) But not spiders! She was terrified of spiders! Snakes, too.

7) She got her first cat when she was 8 or 9 years old. She accompanied her dad to a bar and was playing with a box of kittens tucked away in the back room. When the bartender was unable to pay up on a bet with my grandfather, my mom got to take one of the kittens home instead. She chose a little calico.

8) She had 12 more cats over the course of her life. No dogs.

9) She loved warm, dry spring and summer days because she could dry laundry out on the line.

10) She had beautiful handwriting.

11) She was very close to her own mother. That's who chose to be buried beside.

12) She had a distinctive, throaty voice. I will forever miss hearing it.

13) More than anything, she loved her grandchildren. She often quoted a plaque she saw in a card shop: I thought I'd never fall in love again. Then I became a grandma.

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