This is by far the hardest blog I have written. Trying to write about Mom and capture her personality is more difficult than I thought. There are many sides to her, the wife and mother, the fun party girl, the money manager, career woman. She was also very creative, making crafts that I didn’t appreciate when I was young, sewing and crocheting. My cousin Pat told us that Mom was the first one to come to a family gathering with a cake made from a box mix. Can you imagine?
Back in the 60’s, when Dad worked in Sanford, he used to bring home garbage cans full of fresh cucumbers and mom would make dill pickles out of them. They were the best pickles ever. She would pickle them whole and we would wrap them in a napkin to eat. I remember riding my bike and eating pickles. When I went to my 20th High School reunion the biggest question I was asked was if mom still made pickles! I was humbled, believe me!
Zellwood corn season was around the end of May and Dad would come home with bushels of corn. I remember being in the back yard and helping Mom par boil the corn and remove it from the husks. It would be put into freezer bags so we would have sweet Zellwood corn all year long. It was a fun project and another one of those things that we don’t bother with anymore.
When I was in 6TH grade we had a Christmas play. That was back in the time when you were allowed to celebrate Christmas in public schools. There was a scene that needed a donkey and mom made a costume out of dad’s old work pants. The donkey was the hit of the show, partially because of the costume and partially because of the two boys in the costume. It was hysterical.
Mom always did the cooking for her family. I do not remember learning how to cook at all. I am sure part of that was because I was never interested in learning, but I think the kitchen was her territory. She planned meals carefully and was proud to tell people that we had meat for dinner every night. We were never poor enough to have to eat beans. It’s funny that when dad learned to cook and took over, red beans and rice was one of our favorite meals. Dad always said mom cooked the first 25 years and he would cook the rest. I have never been sure if she liked that arrangement or not but she didn’t argue it either.
Mom does not believe in pots and pans on the dinner table. There is always serving dishes and a properly set table. She has many sets of dishes because she likes to change things up. They don’t have to be expensive, just different. She loves pretty dishes and gets a lot of stuff from garage sales. We kids joke that we will not have a clue what is an heirloom and what is from a garage sale.
Mom was a stickler for teaching us kids to do the right thing. We were required to write thank you letters to people for gifts. If we couldn’t write the letter, we couldn’t have the gift. She would ask me what my conscience was telling me and when I was wrong, she would make me apologize. There was no getting away with stuff with her. She was a tough when it came to that stuff.
I remember her saying that she could not afford to have migraines, she could only afford a headache. Or one of my very favorites, “If I’m not there, they will have someone to talk about”.
Mom started working when I was in the 7th grade. At first she was a substitute teacher at Bear Lake Elementary, where Patti went to school. Later she branched out to different Elementary Schools. One year she taught the same class almost the entire year when the teacher was out on medical leave. After that, she was offered a full time job in the schools office. She retired from Seminole County Schools in 1990 I think.
Mom and Dad travelled all over the world and when I asked her which trip was her favorite, she said London with no hesitation. It didn’t surprise me, somehow that just seemed right. When they travelled, as a souvenir, they bought two champagne glasses from each country they visited. It was something special, something elegant and something they would use. She never needed a dozen of anything, just two, one for her and one for Dad.
That is how it always was, Mom and Dad. They loved to dance and went dancing all the time. At first you would think that Dad was the one that loved it and Mom just went along, but that was not true. Mom loved it too. All you had to do was watch them dance and you knew they loved it equally and they loved each other.
Mom crochets lap afgans and donates them to the VFW to take to the VA hospitals. She enjoys making the afgans and does it for her pleasure. She never wants any recognition or money for what she does. When she is watching TV, she is always “fixing” as her granddaughter calls it.
It is hard to talk about Mom and not include Dad. I can’t seem to think of one without the other. Mom is always there. She quietly goes about her business, doesn’t call much attention to herself, she just is. And I love her very much. Happy Mother’s Day Mom.