Shortly before Mom passed away in October 1986 she asked me to give her a good hug. “Was I a good mother?” she mumbled, her face pressed against my shoulder. I answered her truthfully. It was what I said over many years. “If I could consider myself half the mother you were, I would be satisfied. I never considered myself half as good as she was as a Mom. I too, made hard choices.
She was a fabulous mother, devoted to us three kids. With my father in the hospital for the last 7 years of his short life (he passed away at age 44 when I was 12) Mom didn’t have to split her time between husband and children. We were her strong, main focus. She sacrificed everything for us. Mom had chances to marry but refused to marry before we were all out on our own. No man would be in the house until then.
She never liked school and quit in 6th grade. Fortunately, her father left her some properties that her smart girlfriend Edie managed to tie up legally so the State or the hospital could not take them from her. She sold them one at a time to use for income. To supplement that income she made jewelry at home at night with my brother Albert to help her. He was 6 years my senior, working in a bank as a day job. When jewelry making closed down, she followed with working in a laundry ironing men’s shirts. Summer temperatures rose about 100% in the laundry. She walked the 1 ½ blocks away and was home when my brother Bob and I returned from school. Later she replaced that job by working as a waitress on weekend nights.
We always had 2 home cooked meals plus the lunch she packed for school. Never did we eat peanut butter and jelly for lunch. In summer, she made 3 meals a day, every day. On Saturdays she took a break and made something simple for dinner, like hot dogs and sauerkraut or chili con carne. In the winter we ate cakes and pies for dessert made from scratch and home-made bread she made to save money.
Life got easier for us in my teen years when Joe entered our lives. He wasn’t allowed to live in the house until they married after I did when I was seventeen.
My wedding was gorgeous. My marriage, not so gorgeous. For years I resented that she pushed me into a marriage I didn’t really want. How foolish I was. I didn’t understand her thinking at the time. All she wanted was for me to be safe and secure in a good marriage. It wasn’t her fault that her choice was not a good one for me.
I always took care of Mom after she was widowed a second time but there a space between us that could have been better if I had the wisdom then, that I gained over the years by coming to know her through her eyes after she passed away. Writing about her brought me closer to knowing the wonderful woman/mother she was all along.
This week I’m thankful for April being Poetry Month with 30-day challenges. It got my poetry pen writing again after a dry spell.
I’m so glad walking around the block has come easier and without gasping for breath.
Dreams. I’ve been have lengthy dreams of action in full color, like films.
For coloring books of Jane Austen and cat themes. I’d rather be painting but these have filled in until I get the brushes out again. It is relaxing, on the sunporch with the Captain on my lap and sometimes on my shoulder.
Gorgeous blooming bushers, bridal bushes, azaleas, etc. and flowering trees are bountiful this spring.
A small individual electric griddle that is so cute and so convenient for one.
For my everyday salad with kale that keeps my heart happy and pumping.
For positive comments on Running with the Horses. They are encouraging.
For the healing process that doesn’t give up if I don’t. The human body is an amazing miracle.
10, For small miracles that happen every day. Too many people are too busy to notice.
Whatever time in your life it is, it’s time to tell your story. Those thoughts are running through my mind right now on this lovely spring Sunday morning, I’m sitting on my sunporch with all the sliding windows open. A bird flies down to perch on the shepherd’s crook in front of me and chatters away before she jumps down to the bird feeder hanging there. It’s a gift from Bill & Joyce Lindenmuth complete with bird seed that has given me pure pleasure.
Other birds come to join her as she continues chattering between pecks at her lunch. I think she is telling her story to them. The bird next to her, looking like a sister, seems to listen before she answers with her own tale of joy. Another bird, a cardinal flies to the crook sampling the water hanging there in a handcrafted pottery dish. That’s a gift from my late friend Anne Peterson. What memories come to me from the simple act of sitting on my sunporch on a Sunday morning.
Last year I planted Butterfly bushes along the sunporch that are growing under the shepherd’s hook. They have survived the winter and will soon add more nature, butterflies & dragonflies, to this little area in the city. One hummingbird has already blessed the bushes by flittering around the leaves last week. Before I moved from Macon two years ago hummingbirds came every year flitting from front porch to back deck adding beauty and wonder to my day. I’m so happy to see they have found me again.
How often do we think of a gift given, sometimes even years, after the moment we received it? Mostly we remember the excitement of the moment. But gifts are tremendous memories for us. Sometimes the memory is not receiving a gift when we expected one. Disappointments are part of our stories, too.
Another gift that I’m enjoying is a bird house hanging eight feet from the bird feeder. This was a gift given at least five years ago from Diane Ratliff. Her husband makes these beautiful homes for birds to nest in. A family of birds is also enjoying my gift. I think of them as townies.
Well, I started out to tell you why it’s time to start writing your own story and to let you know that I have a few spaces left for my workshop on Saturday. But I have gotten caught up in my own memories. . . .that seems to be how it goes.
What are snowy days for? To start a 1,000 piece puzzle of Nancy Drew book covers. That’s what. The puzzle takes me back to when my brother Bob and I put a jigsaw puzzle together on the dining room table. Always after the Christmas holidays were over. We wouldn’t need that table until Easter.
The subject of Nancy Drew took me back, too. I loved her books! I could hardly wait until library day at school, even though the librarian would not allow me more than two books! How unfair! That means I would go for days on end without a good book to read. Of course I wanted to be Nancy Drew.
Fast-forward to the time I opened a new, used & rare bookshop in the 90s. Gary Wheelock offered me the opportunity to meet a Nancy Drew author! WOW! Until then I had no clue that the stories were written by multiply writers. Carolyn Keene was the listed author on the cover of all the series. I went straight to the internet to do some research. Edward Stratemeyer created the series as a female counterpart to the Hardy Boys series.
Well, as least I would have the thrill of meeting one of the esteemed authors. Feeling like a 50 year old groupie I joined Gary in the visit. Some thrill! She was a miserable, unhappy woman who felt no pleasure, no pride in being the writer of the few books about Nancy Drew that she wrote, that were adored by millions of girls. It devastated me. A numbness settled on me. All my happy images of Nancy Drew and all they entailed slapped out of me by this empty woman.
Time passed as I realized that there were many other authors that I could still look up to with anticipation of meeting them. And I have. No more Nancy Drew authors, but there you have it.
JUST TO LET YOU KNOW……A Nosegay of Violets can be purchased locally in Warrenton, North Carolina, at Lloyd’s Bakery at 108 S. Main St.; Friends Two at 126 S. Main St. and Oakley Hall Antiques & Art at 119 N. Main St. for $15.00. Tell ‘em I sent you.
Well, it’s finally here and it is a great relief! Writing this book, A Nosegay of Violets, has been therapeutic, sending all those hidden secrets out into the Universe with a refusal of thinking “what if someone laughs at me?” or “what if no one believes me?” or “what will they think of me, knowing of the marriage I was in? “
Those questions no longer hold fear for me. I have survived the marriage and became stronger because of it. I have forgiven myself for decisions I made, (the hardest thing to do) believing they were the right ones to make at the time. And I have forgiven others who did me harm. They were just being who they were. And I had help along the way, from people-sometimes strangers-from friends, from family, and an Angel here and there when no one else was around to show up. WOW!
You’d think those would be easy moments to talk about, but they were not. Fear of rejection held me back. When I overcame that fear last year, I pulled all the scraps of paper with notes jotted on them and poured over my journals to be sure I would get everything right. It meant re-living the entire experience over again and again and again as I wrote and re-wrote and re-wrote. Excuse me, while I allow myself to have this feeling of being wonderful!
Finishing my memoir-interviewing for the next ghostly book-reaching for submissions for this year’s anthology-seeking recipes for the cookbook, accepting stories for the grandmother’s book-writing lesson plans for the writers’ groups-formatting a teaching program-planning a new poetry book-publishing books for others!
The September First Friday continues to exceed my expectations! I thought that the holiday weekend would bring us a small group dedicated to our efforts of bringing poetry and oral expression to Warren County. Instead, the Warren Food Works (WFW) was packed with a diverse crowd from 18 to 80 mingling, enjoying each other while eating, drinking, and soaking up the words cast out into the atmosphere.
A wide range of poetic subjects seeping from the hearts of writers-Warren County writers, and Virginia writers, too, silenced the room with absorption. The always-welcome songs sung so beautifully by Shavon Russell Jones and afterwards, her sister, (forgive me I didn’t get her name.) A big surprise to everyone when volunteer from behind the bar, Cris Hunter ended the evening with the most beautiful rendition of Nature Boy. It brought some tears for the beauty of it. Their voices were like melted chocolate, velvety smooth and mesmerizing to everyone.
Miranda Medlin offered a stirring presentation, taking all into her realm. Devonte, a poet from our last year anthology Sitting with a Drunken Sorceress gave us his words and Travis Bullock continues to bring people in just to hear what he has to tell us.
So many others came to read, to share thoughts, feelings, and to merely listen. It was a very full night; a night to show Thomas Park what his dream has wrought; a night to make him proud for all his efforts.
The holiday season is too busy, too many celebration dates too close together, to reflect on the past year. Carving my own time period, I like to reflect in the quiet of the after-holidays.
I do make resolutions, doable ones:
This year, 2015, I will learn my way around my blog including the terminology.
I will be more regular in my postings. Too often a new post is stuck in the middle or the bottom of my to do list. Not in 2015.
I will explore the site and expand it. (as soon as I learn how)
I will read my 2014 journals (all from Brush Dance) from beginning to end. This is a good exercise for writers. It’s amazing how some of the noted little moments can get lost in the period of one year. I will also look for the changes in me that have taken place and shows up in the journals. And lastly, I will hopefully pick up some bits I was going to write about, but were glazed over and put aside. I’ll address them this year.
Lizzie (my cat & companion) agrees with me, as long as she is left to curl up and rest with no need to make resolutions.