My mother understands what a child does not say.
I remember when...
Do you remember when we lived on East 7th (or somewhere in that area-not the house with the pumpjack but farther east)? One of my first memories was of us playing in the gutter after a rain. We were scooping up the mud and letting it trickle down our arms and all over our heads. During one of my turns, I came up with a double hand of mud and a soggy five dollar bill. You let us spend it on ice cream and stuff. Wow!!! We were lucky to have you for mom---I remember thinking those very words.
I also remember a few things about that house with the pumpjack---like riding the pumpjack, swinging on the front door screen because I had the mumps and couldn't go out, getting our first TV and record player, watching Howdy Doody, sleeping at the foot of the bed, having lots of company (People with strange names like Red, Ranger, Cotton, etc.), and laughing a lot. It sure seemed to me like we were a happy family.
I do, however, remember one time that you were so mad! Daddy had gone fishing with Jimmy Wilds (I've always wondered why we always called him by his first and last name rather than just his first.) and George. They came back after several days with their catch wrapped neatly in crisp, white paper. George even had pictures of their trip though I didn't get to see them. I wondered for years why you got so mad. I thought that it was very considerate of them to bring those fish home so neatly!
Another memory at that time that made me realize that you were a pretty neat mom dealt with your anger too. We were all going somewhere in the car, and apparently the four of us were fighting and being awful. You kept telling us that we were going "to get it" when we got home. I remember sitting on the curb at the side of the house (We still lived in the pumpjack house) waiting for my turn. You called us in one by one. Elaine was first. I remember crying harder every time that you called the next one inside. I was last and sobbing by the time that you got to me. When you took me in, you told me to scream so that the others could hear and you just barely swatted me. I think you must have thought that I had been punished enough waiting for "it". You always have made each of us feel so special and usually just when we needed it the most.
I remember out clothes. Because of your sewing talent, we were always the best-dressed at school. Thank God for you (and Mary Lou)!
Do you remember when we went blonde and went to Florida? What a trip! You rode in the back with Linda, Ken and the twins while I was sandwiched between Jimmy and Daddy in the front. Were we crazy or what?
I could fill an entire book of special moments of you being our mom. But, I think I was probably the first of us to see you as an individual - a person not connected with motherhood. The other older kids had already left home, and I don't know if they realized how desperate the situation of home had gotten. I remember when you came back from an out-of-town visit to Elaine's house, and you had changed. You had a different look about you - a sparkle in your eyes that hadn't been there for a long, long time. It was like you had become someone else (perhaps Mrs. Evans) while you were gone. When you shared your secret with me, we became conspirators sneaking off into the night. We'd make excuses to go somewhere, and I'd drop you off at Harold's for a few stolen moments. You know, that sounds pretty bad, bit it wasn't anything against Daddy rather it was something for you. This was your change a "the brass ring", and I was helping you go for it. Our secret helped form a special bond. I just wanted you to be as happy.
* the house with the ladder (or was it really a barn?)
* canned milk and suger
* going to California, camping out, eating "under the stars", and swimming in the canals.
* new Easter clothes
* the 4th of July in Amarillo
* out first mall visit in Amarillo
* stealin gas and you covering for us
* Penwell - not once but twice
* Bessie and Chinese food
* Pa and Memphis
* Bernadine and Renny (I think they are why I don't care for dogs because it broke my heart when they died.)
* Dean Martin songs
* Soda Pop and her mom
* the phone ringing after I rewired it when Daddy had it disconnected
* the '49 Ford that looked like a doodlebug
* keeping Amiee when Joyee was born
* keeping Joyee in Carrizo Springs
* sitting for 12 hours a day when I was in the hospital
* for years, my daily phone calls to you
* being our sounding board while we went to college.
* telling us that we could do it every time that it got to be too much
* Joyee's dance recital that went on forever
* Missie's broken arm
* the first time that you saw Matthew
* Joyee's wedding and dance - What a party!
Reflections to My Mother
Watching your children grow and bloom like delicate flowers is one of the joys of parenthood. A rare phenomena occurs when the children get to experience the same wonderment with a parent. We were all so worried about you when Harold passed. Our expectation and vision was for you to become that little cookie-baking granny and just idly live out your life symbiotically living your life through your children's and grandchildren's celebrations and accomplishments.
Boy, did you surprise us all! I have admired the courage that you gathered and met the rest of your life head on. Much to our delight, you chose to "find yourself" and for the first time in your life put yourself first and foremost. Your transformation was breathtaking like a beautiful butterfly emerging from a well worn cocoon. Your true beauty emerged, and you were able to dress and live the way that you must have envisioned while you were busy raising your family for all those years.
I know being a young mother that you had to give up so much. However, I think and hope that you have been able to make up for some of those hardships. I am so proud of you! I have celebrated right along with you as you have experienced all the amazing things that youíve been able to do the past few years. Who would ever have thought that the young mother from Memphis, Texas would be able to stand at the great Parthenon in Athens, Greece or enjoy the watery wonders of Venice, Italy? Those are the things of dreams, and I am so glad that you have been able to live out some of yours and hope that you continue to do so.
I have enjoyed looking at all your new clothes after each shopping trip and marveling at how beautiful you looked in each outfit. Your enthusiasm was so contagious. I think though my favorite has been seeing you "dressed to the nines" in your long glittering dresses. All I could think of was that is my beautiful mother - a rival to any prom queen.
Not only are you beautiful on the outside but also on the inside. I always tell my students that you are the nicest person that I have ever met. You have given me and about a thousand Odessa school children many of life's truisms with which to live our lives. I guess the one that I use the most is "you can be nice to anyone for a short period of time." Another favorite is "if you donít have anything nice to say, don't say anything at all." However, the saying that I use more times than I wish is "the good Lord doesnít give you anything more that you can handle." That one has sustained me through most of my life. Mother, you are truly the nicest person that I have ever met! I can only hope to be the inspiration to my children that you have been to me.
I had the most astonishing epiphany. Recently, I saw an old friend with whom I went to Crockett Junior High and shared family photos which included our Stonehenge family shots. The immediate response was "Wow! You look like your mom! You have the same gorgeous blue eyes! Isnít it nice to know that you will only get better looking?" That was such a proud moment for me with the realization that I do look like my beautiful, elegant Mother! I am so proud to be your daughter and can only try to pattern my life after yours. You are our rare breathtaking orchid!
I love you,