Sunday, May 13, 2012

When my mother was 41, my youngest sister was 3, and I was almost 8 years old

Today I am remembering our mysterious and creative red-headed mother who as a child loved her doll, walking in the snow in St. Paul under the light of street lamps, visiting family friends at a farm in Hastings, and roller skating.  She loved her brother, their dog named Lightnin', being a Girl Scout and going to Girl Scout camp, all books (especially Little Women), the blue and white wooden chest that her father built for her, and camping and canoeing with her father in Northern Minnesota. 

My mother's mother died at home of gallbladder cancer when my mother was in her first (and last) year of college.  

As an adult, my mother loved books, writing, horses, the book Where the Blue Begins by Christopher Morley, Alfred Hitchcock Presents, the humor of Groucho Marx and Danny Kaye, the sculpture of Henry Moore, the paintings of Marc Chagall, classical music, the night sky, birds, baby lambs, pistachio nuts, chocolate, pattern knitting,  cooking, watching figure skating on television, KQED (public television), the writing of C.S. Lewis, the teachings of Judaism, and the Pacific Ocean.  She loved us, her family, in her unique and fierce and gentle way.  I wonder how she would describe herself and what she loved.

My father must have taken this picture.  I wonder where my 6-year-old sister was that day.  Maybe she is standing right next to him.  I can still feel the warm dry California sun on that September day at a riding stable, not far from our home on the San Francisco Peninsula when it wasn't such a crowded and expensive place for young families to live.

If my mother were still alive, she would have celebrated her 96th birthday on April 30th.

Thanks to my cousin, Beth, for sending the photo of my mother, youngest sister, and me, along with other photos recently.  

It won't be long before the long overdue repairs in my little condominium home of 28 years are complete.  Most of my routines are still disrupted but in a good way.  I feel as if I am traveling.  It will take some time before I am settled again.  

Right now, I am sleeping in my living room while the work on my bedroom begins.  Oboe is still being boarded at her veterinarian's office.  I miss her.

Although it wasn't clear to me until I began emptying my living space, the bulk of my possessions is framed paintings and books.  The books are all in boxes in storage right now.  The framed paintings (both mine and those I've collected over the past 40 years) are currently taking up much of the space on my living room floor and a large hall closet.  I'm thinking of keeping most of the paintings in storage when this project is finished.  I'm looking at everything with new eyes.  What to keep.  What to let go of.  Sorting out my life.  


Anonymous said...

moving post this mother's day, love the detail you carry till this day.kjm

Taradharma said...

it's a great photo -- reminds me of some early riding pictures of my own.

what a lot of work on your home -- but sounds as if it is well worth it. I, too, discovered, that most of my possessions were framed artwork. I've managed to find a place for all them in my new tiny abode, but only because I was agreeable to having them sit on all available surfaces as well as hang on the wall! Some day I might get tired of the visual stimulation and opt to but some in storage.

Keara said...

You know, you are not just an accomplished artist. You are also a terrific writer. (I'm suddenly feeling very dense that it's taken me this long to realize that. ) This is such an excellent Mother's Day post and reminiscence. Your comments on moving and storing and changing are also so clear and yet so affecting. Poor Oboe -- I bet she can't wait to get home. :-)