Saturday, July 10, 2010

Sepia Saturday: My Mother

This was my mother (on the right in the photo).

I found this photo amongst a pile of old photos in a box down in the storage room and I've been editing all the scratches from it as time permits. You can see that I haven't quite finished the job, however.

I'm not sure who the woman on the left is. It could be my late Aunt Tera, or it could just be a friend of my mother's at the time.

I always thought my mother had Jane Wyman looks, even if not her disposition. "Myrt", as she was called by friends - "Mutt", by family - "Mama", by me when I was a little thing and then, later, just "Mother," - was a real fire-cracker with a hair-trigger temper, hard-working, talented, and generous to a fault.

Never affluent, my parents had to work hard for the money and my mother did many things that would, if I had to do them today, make me wince. She was very talented and creative. She once sewed for other women - an extremely stressful and thankless task. Another time she worked for a fruit canning company; hard work in the Florida heat.

She designed and created baby layettes and then went door-to-door downtown to the various department stores where management agreed to sell them on commission. They sold, too.

I remember a time when I was pretty small that she made corsages of violets. She would drive out on the rural roads and pick the violets. Then she would bring them home and bunch them and dip them in a preserving wax and pretty them up with bows. Then she would drive the long distance to a well-known ballroom dancing hall and there, on the street outside, would sell the tiny bouquets to the gentlemen for their ladies. (She did not know it then, but many years later she would be one of those ladies.)

She could make fabulous chicken and dumplings. But her cornbread was a disaster. Every year at Christmas she would make ambrosia fit for the gods.

She made almost everything I ever wore until I was old enough to want "store-bought" - silly me. She made Halloween costumes for myself and my cousin - costumes that competed against each other and took both first and second prizes that year.

I have a photograph of her, at age, looking at a photo of herself when she was young and beautiful. It hits my heart every time I see it. It is a reminder of what time does to us all and what it did to her, in particular. She was not happy during her last years and I, personally, suffered greatly for it. But I prefer to remember her when she was young and laughing.

I can remember her taking me along roller skating when she went with a girlfriend. She and her girlfriend would joke and laugh until tears rolled down their faces and she had to cross her legs to keep from .... er.... losing it.

Those were the good memories. And I have so many more...



Brian Miller said...

smiling wide angelmay...a wonderful tribute...i like laughing til i cry as well. smiles.

tony said...

Good Memories & Clear Eyes.Your Mother Lived A Full Life.
Can I Also Say, Whoever Took This Photograph Had A Good Eye For Composition.
Thank You For Introducing Me To Myrt.

otin said...

Sometimes posts give me goosebumps and this was one of those. I think it was just the love and sorrow in your words that did it to me. Either way, it was a wonderful tribute to your mom!

Janice said...

I got a little misty-eyed over this one. How lovely that you have many good memories of your mom and are, wisely, focusing on those. I really enjoyed reading your tribute to her, and it made me reflect on my own mom once again and thank my lucky stars for my time with her.

Sandy said...

Great post AM. I fell into it. You could write a book ya know.

Your mom was beautiful. I had to laugh about her cornbread.

Lo said...

Love your memories of your Mother, love the photo of your Mother. Your musings remind me of my own beloved Mamma and brought a tear or two.
I think you and I have a lot in common.....we shall be good friends.

Funny,, the magic word for leaving this comment is "cuties"....talking about you and me in our 30's?

AngelMay said...

Lo! This is the start of a beautiful relationship. I'm sure of it. :)

AngelMay said...

I already have a nice relationship with Brian, tony, otin, Janice, and Sandy - wink! wink!

All of you are quite special, you know.

CatLadyLarew said...

Wonderful memories! It's sometimes easy to forget that our parents were once young and had the same hopes, dreams, questions and challenges we have.

AngelMay said...

CatLady: That is so true. Every single old person that you ever see has a 16-year-old in there somewhere who really hasn't changed all that much. It's all there. Every age. Every stage. We just have a hard time seeing it all past the wrinkles and infirmities.

PattiKen said...

I love this story of your Mom. The description of the photo showing her holding a photo of her younger self is so intriguing. I hope you will post it sometime. It would make a great writing prompt.

Sandra Leigh said...

My first reaction to your photo was that I knew which one was your mother, because I could see you in her (her in you?) -- but you're right. Jane Wyman.

I love the story of the violets, AM. There's something very poignant about that image.