Mom and I talk just about every evening around 7:00pm. We talk about our health, Dad, the Crankee Yankee, our cats (her one; Bailey, and my three; Nala, Pookie and Plumpy-Nut), the day’s events, what funny thing happened today, what books we are reading, and so on. All this takes me back in time to when I still lived at home with Mom and Dad.
Except for my horrible age 13 self (that age is just the worst!), I have to say that Mom and I always got along well; loved, liked and enjoyed each other. Dad just enjoyed us as a package deal–he and Mom began dating when I was about three years old. Mom had been divorced for a while, and Dad had never married. I took to him right away; he spent time with me, listened to me, picked flowers with me; until one day I asked if I could call him “Daddy.”
Evidently that was ok with him, because soon after he proposed to Mom. Years later, he said that he might have been able to walk away from one of us, but not both of us. The rest is history.
Beyond that, we all got along well. Mom and I always liked to be with each other, and we did a lot of things together. Here are just some of the highlights I remember well:
When I was old enough to wear a real bra (thankfully, I skipped that whole ‘training bra’ business), Mom presented me with a Christmas present; a box filled with at least 10 different bras! (My favorite was an orange and white striped one.) The handwritten gift label on the box read “How Firm a Foundation.”
Years later, we were shopping together at one of our favorite discount places. Mom grabbed my hand and hissed, “LOOK! There’s a big box full of <our current favorite brand of bra at the time>! Let’s go!!” Well, we charged over there and started tearing through the box to get our sizes. A few women came by to look, too, but we glared at them like timber wolves over a bloody deer carcass and they hurried away. I think we each bought about five bras at a great price, but the best part was laughing about how we savagely defended “our” territory!
We did pretty much the same thing at *Marden’s (where you can literally find everything from designer clothes to floor wax) once. They had a sale on women’s shoes; $5 per pair. We walked out of there with shoes we would never have bought at full price–I bought three pairs of heels; black velvet, lipstick red grosgrain, and ivory with rhinestones on the toes. As we said to each other later on, ‘at $5 a pair, who cares?’
Mom and I used to belong to the local church choir; she sang alto and I sang soprano. One Saturday afternoon, we were practicing a hymn together, the hymnal resting on both our legs. Our cat, Henny, must have either loved or hated our singing; she kept walking back and forth over our legs and the hymnal!
When I was in high school I fell in love with theater. Our school had just started a drama club, and they announced that each year the school would put on both a dramatic play and a musical. The first musical was called “The Guy From Venus.” I got the lead, and was more thrilled than I’d ever been in my life. What followed was four very happy years of high school because of the plays. The days I tried out for the leads (for some reason I was crazily confident about trying out for the “big” roles), Mom would always caution me not to get too worked up about it; that I might not get it.
So on the day after auditions when the all the parts had been chosen, I would walk home after school all the way down the street to our house, head down, looking like I’d lost my best friend. I knew that Mom would be watching my progress through the kitchen window, and start figuring out how to cheer me up because obviously I hadn’t gotten the part I wanted. When I opened the door, there was Mom standing at the top of the stairs, with a loving and consoling look in her eyes. Slowly I would raise my head, break into a huge grin and yell “I got it!!”
In my junior year of high school, I was asked out for my first prom. I knew perfectly well that the boy who asked me out had asked someone else first; in fact I knew he had a huge crush on her. She had gently turned him down as another boy had already asked her to go with him. So he asked me, because he knew I would say yes. He was the funniest boy in school, and I adored him for it. He was also in some of the shows with me, so we already had a connection based on that. So when he asked, I jumped at the chance to go to my first prom AND go with the boy I liked!
When I told my parents about it, they were happy for me. They knew the boy and his parents, and liked him. Dad told mom to take me out and buy me a pretty dress, shoes, the whole works. Words can’t describe how much that shopping trip meant to me–Mom and I settled on a beautiful pure white sleeveless gown; satin with an overlay of white lace that looked like snowflakes. I had my first pair of white high heels, and our neighbor kindly lent me elbow-length white gloves and a rabbit fur shrug.
Many years later when I came home to visit Mom and Dad, we went to the local coffee shop where my old prom date’s daughter worked. When we came in, Mom introduced me to her, and she said, “Oh! You’re the one who went with Dad to the prom!”
Mom and I wrote a children’s book together–accidentally. We were staying overnight somewhere on one of our travels, and after we shut out the lights to sleep, we started making up rhymes. They became rhymes about animals wearing clothes, and they just kept getting funnier as we went along. One of us said, ‘hey, we’d better write this all down; it’s pretty good.’ Months after that, we submitted a manuscript called “Shopping at the Ani-Mall.” It was published in 1991 by **Windswept House on Mt. Desert Island, ME.
A few years ago, Mom invited me to go up to Alna, ME and stay overnight at ***Wabi Sabi, an incredibly great bed and breakfast. One of the rooms features two old-fashioned bath tubs placed foot to foot, so that two people could soak luxuriously in their respective tub. There was also a handy wire basket on a wire shelf that spanned the top of each tub so that you could shelve your glass of wine (and/or Mr. Bubble) on it in easy reach.
So Mom and I did just that, and killed off a bottle of wine, laughing and talking and telling terrible jokes. By the time we got dressed and came down for dinner, Joan, the innkeeper exclaimed, “Well! You two sounded like an entire sorority up there!” then laughed her head off. Since that visit, Mom and Dad have gone there often. Joan, who loves them, refers to us all as “Snap” (Mom), “Crackle” (me), and “Pop” (Dad).
There are many, many more stories to tell, and many more favorite things to share with you. But for now, these few will give you an idea of how very lucky I am to have my parents and how many lovely memories we all share together.
There will be more–stay tuned….
**Sadly, Windswept House is no longer.