I don’t talk about my mother enough. I think about her every day and miss her even more. I didn’t know her as well as I would have liked. She’s been gone since 1994 so I was just barely twenty one. I was basically still just a kid with the ability to buy booze. I hadn’t gotten to the point that I see a lot of people get to, now that I’m older, where they can hang out and talk like adults with their parents. I think that would have been fun.
What I do know is that she was born in the little town of Bancroft Maine, which is about 15 miles from the Canadian border and 100 miles from anything else of any significance. The last time I was up there, which as a couple years ago now, the house she was raised in was still there or at least the remnants of it were. She still has family that lives on the same hill that she used to play and go to school on back in the late 1940’s.
Growing up I know she was anemic and a bit sickly. She loved to read and got jobs babysitting as soon as she could. From what I can gather she was a bit shy and seems didn’t have any boyfriends or go out much when she was younger. Oh yeah and she was struck by lightning while pulling the lid off of a metal cookie jar when she was babysitting one night, or at least that’s what she told me. At some point she got a job in a factory and ended up losing a lung to exposure to some chemicals from what I’ve been told back in the day. That’s how she ended up in Boston, because that’s where she got her lung removed.
Some of her siblings came down to Boston with her as well and her brother Johnny ended up working security with the man that would eventually end up being my dad (more on him on his day maybe) My dad and mom met and from what I can tell, my dad became smitten and eventually asked her to marry him over the CB radio one day, classy bastard that he was. They were married in June and I came along the next March and that’s about the extent of what I know about my mom before I was born. I often think about how cool it would be to have her around to fill in some of those gaps for me.
Mom is the one behind the guy holding the puppy
Now, what I remember is the smiling face of the woman who did everything possible to give me a good life and upbringing. I also remember not making it easy on her. A bunch of my memories are of her saying “Oh you’re fine, you can’t be that hurt,” and then me showing her whichever of the multiple wounds I had acquired and her clapping her face like Kevin in Home Alone and yelling before telling my father that we needed to go to Symmes hospital.
She was always nice to my friends, even the ones she didn’t like or trust. She liked Elvis, Johnny Cash and a lot of the older country music. She loved to read the trashy Harlequin romance novels, Jean Nate products, lilacs and always had candy on her for when my friends came by but never any for me. She taught me to ride a bike, to stand tall and to always walk with my shoulders back and head held high. Oh yeah, and she loved to argue with me about anything and everything.
Her health started to deteriorate when I was in my teens but she hung in there and soldiered on. she hated swearing, drinking and most definitely the fact that I had picked up my fathers smoking habit. She almost never yelled. She didn’t have to yell, she had that disapproving look that showed me how disappointed she was with whatever poor choice I had made and that was always all I needed.
In the end, I didn’t get to say a proper goodbye to the woman who gave me life. She was taken quickly and was unconscious for much of it. I don’t know what would have changed had my mom not died when she had and I don’t really care. It’s in the past and can’t be changed. I’m sure she would have sorely disapproved of most of my 20’s and 30’s so in a way I’m kind of glad she didn’t see them. I do think she’d be proud of me now and would absolutely approve and that makes me smile.
I’ve loved many a mom over the years (in one way or another) but none as much as I love mine. Thank you for taking this trip with me if you’ve read this far and I wish for a joyous Mother’s day to all the wonderful women who work so hard to take care of us all. Be good to them.
Back to work with me, to make mom proud.