Wicked Wednesday: Memories of Our Mothers

Edith here, and it’s Wicked Wednesday again. Since today would have been my 20150807_151833mother’s 90th birthday if she hadn’t passed away three years ago, let’s talk about our moms. Two of us here no longer have a mother living, and the rest still do. What’s your favorite memory of Mommy Dearest? What about the time she meted out a punishment you knew you deserved? Dish, Wickeds – and it doesn’t have to be all cream and roses!

Edith: Okay, I’ll start. I had a rowdy year in ninth grade. I was flip, stayed out too long after school, lied about some stuff. My mother, who had never before uttered a single swear word in my presence and never hit us (neither of my parents did either of those things), said “Damnation” a couple of times that year and twice she slapped me. I was so shocked. I clearly had pushed her past her limits (and I totally deserved it). But she also taught me to sew and to bake, how to go camping, how to identify the constellations, and how to be a fabulous grandma. I just wish she’d gotten to read some of my books, since she also taught me by example to read mysteries. Happy birthday, Mommy!

Liz: When I was little, my mother stayed home with me. My favorite time of day was early in the morning, before my father got up. She would read to me until it was time to make breakfast. I remember wishing those hours could go on all day. She also taught me to bake apple pie. To this day, I love the smell of homemade apple pie!

Jessie: Mothers give and give in little ways that don’t always get the acknowledgement they deserve. One thing that really stands out for me in my life is the fact that my mother went through a great deal of effort and heart-break to provide me with my sisters. I am eternally grateful for them and for her efforts which made them a part of my life.

granandgrumpgotophiladelphiaBarb: I’ve put up this drawing because I thought it was a little different. It’s the front of a poster-sized card Carter Scattergood, an artist friend of my parents, made for them for a good-bye party they threw when we moved from Montclair, New Jersey to Wallingford, PA. In truth, it captures my father, whose face was more easily caricatured, better than my mother. (And yes, those are martini glasses trailing behind them.What can I say? It was the sixties.) The memory this evokes for me is how my mother found ways to make the days when there was lots of boring housework to be done fun for my brother and me. When she defrosted the refrigerator, she gave us food coloring to add to the ice in the sink. Or on days of big parties, like this one, she would move the dining room table and roll up the rug. Then she would pour some kind of liquid wax on the floor and tie rags to our feet. We would skate around the floor, buffing it. The big game was to jump up and touch the brass chandelier, now hanging low enough over the empty space where the table had been that we could reach it. After scuffing along the wood floor, you could give yourself the most tremendous shock, which would reduce us to near hysterical giggles.

mom4990271_7882943244578178872_oSherry: Hi, mom! My mom reads our blog every day and often buys the books she finds out about here! I have two stories. The first is from when I was in second or third grade. My sister and I shared a room. One night I crawled in bed with my sister and we were talking and giggling way past a time we should be — so much so that we woke our mom up. Mom came in our room and was shaking her finger first at one bed and then the other. We were hysterical with suppressed laughter as she gave us a good talking to not realizing we were both in one bed. In her defense it was pitch black and she didn’t have her glasses on. As soon as she left, I scrambled back to my bed still shaking with laughter. The second story is from high school. The book Valley of the Dolls had just come out and my mom asked me not to read it. So, of course, I rushed right out and bought it. Mom happened on it one day putting something in my dresser. She looked at it, then looked at me. I thought my life was probably over. But she said, “I didn’t mean to pry,” and walked out of the room. As you can see from the photo above, she’s my biggest fan!

Julie: My mother is wonderful. She and my dad are a great team, and have been a huge blessing in my life. I have lots of great memories of her, but I was just telling the nieces a story that sticks in my mind. One year she got talked into being a Girl Scout leader by her friend Diane. We went winter camping, which involved a lodge, and outhouses. She forgot her boots, so she had to wear trash bags on her feet. At one point someone dropped a flashlight down the outhouse hole (it was a multi seat outhouse. I sill shudder at the memory) and she said “if there’s a girl attached to that flashlight, she’s outta luck.” On our way home, she turned to my sister and I and said “Don’t even think about getting near that bathtub until I’m done. And I’m not going to be done for a long, long time.” Needless to say, she didn’t camp again.

Readers: Memories of your mom? Or a mom who was important to you?

33 Thoughts

  1. Happy Birthday, Mom of Edith.

    My mother and I speak on the phone every Monday, usually to deconstruct whatever was on Masterpiece. We have a lot of wacky conversations. She is clearing out her house “in advance of her demise” (she’s 84), so about once a week, I receive a package. I never know what’s inside: the latest was a vintage sugar bowl that belonged to my grandmother, wrapped in fabric Mom never used from her sewing days. But I was able to turn the tables last week. Her favorite author was Loring, who wrote 50 romances over her long career. My mother owned all of Emilie’s novels but With This Ring, a very early title that I’d see for $150-300 at rare book sites. I was FORBIDDEN to pay that much for it. Finally, i lucked into a copy for 8 bucks! I had it sent to her as a surprise, and she called me in tears, and I cried too, and then my Dad got on the phone and said we were both crazy. Correctly, of course!

  2. Yesterday would have been my mother’s 92nd birthday. She has been gone 20 years now. The strange thing is that the one thing that drove me nuts about her is the thing I miss the most. Her candor. That woman had absolutely no filter. If she thought it, she said it. While it was sometimes painful, you always knew it was her honest opinion.

    1. What a wonderful memory, Shelli. My late mother-in-law was the same. No governor on the mouth, although by the time I met her it was much milder than when my guy was young, apparently.

  3. I love these mom stories. My mother would have been 95 on October 3rd. It’s hard to imagine her at that age. I was 19 when she died in 1976 at age 56 from lung cancer. Yes, she was a smoker. Mom loved to write and I think she’d be so thrilled for me. I’d love to know more about her life–especially during the 1940s. She met my dad on a blind date and they married two weeks later–just before he shipped out for Europe with the 3rd Armored division.

    One thing she used to say still sticks with me: “Be good, and if you can’t be good, be careful.” Smart words.

  4. Valley of the Dolls! Mom snatched it off my stack of schoolbooks and announced that she would read it first “in case I had any questions.” She finally returned it, and said she’d rather read a Helen MacInnes book.

  5. My mother had a lot of issues, which is about the kindest thing I can say, and we butted heads a lot. I’m a lot like my father, and that marriage fell apart when I was twelve. Both of my parents passed on within a year of each other, but at the end I was closer to my father, and respected him more as a person (despite his unfortunate third marriage, to a woman who was not nice; Number 2 was a lovely person, but died of pancreatic cancer too soon).

  6. What wonderful memories. My mom was a writer, not of fiction or poetry, but letters. She loved to sit at her typewriter and pound out letters to her relatives and friends around the country. Sherry Harris may remember that I once wrote a poem about my mom happily typing away. After I moved away from home, mom wrote to me about once a week. She had a stroke at the age of 78 and passed away 2 years later in 1994 without ever writing again.I deeply wish I had saved even a few of those letters.

  7. My mom and I were not close as I was a daddy’s girl. I often felt my mom didn’t love me but one of my sons has made me understand that she had this very tiny baby after losing 5 other babies and I was born in 1935 when just good care was about all there was.My son said his grandma told him she was so afraid of losing me that she had to set goals to raise me. Then when I was 3 been very ill and again the hard rules, good food, bed rest and when I was 10 I was well. She was the best grandma in the world because she could relax and just enjoy her 4 grandsons. Wish I could tell her I was a mommy’s girl and thank her for all the good care and love she gave me. My mom should have a book about her , the little brown one born with an irish mom and native American father and only had one hand. Orphaned at 10 married my daddy when almost 18.She drove, sewed , canned , knitted.She did all the repairs on our homes, electrical, taped and textured, painted and was the best baker and cook. I love you mom.

  8. I know I’ve mentioned in the past that my mom home schooled me. I was home schooled 4th through 10th grade, but my brother was home schooled K through 12th. And he’s seven years younger than I am. So you can imagine the number of years she devoted to that, and it was a lot of work. I truly value all the time and work she put into making sure that we got great educations.

    When we were doing math, one of the favorite things she would say as I was working on a problem was, “Does your answer make sense.” You’d usually say that when I was adding something like 400 and 700 and coming up with 470, so it was obvious my answer didn’t make sense. But I hear her saying that in my head all the time in my job as an accountant when I miss entering a number on my adding machine and get an obviously incorrect answer like that.

    She always encouraged my love of reading and writing, so I also count my reading and review writing to her influence and those years of home schooling.

    1. How fabulous, Mark. It takes a special temperament to home school kids, I think. (I thought of it when one of my sons was having a tough year in school, and I said, Nope, not going to work!) “Does that make sense?” is a great thing for a parent to say in all kinds of circumstances.

  9. I so enjoyed reading today’s posts. Thanks, Wickeds! I have so many “mom memories” that it’s hard to choose one. I’ll just say that I was raised by the most loving mom, and she remains one of my best friends. I’m sure she’s one of the many reasons I write mom-themed mysteries.

  10. Mom’s gift was listening. She always knew what was going on with us because she patiently listened until she had more information than we even knew we’d shared. Today I’ve been thinking about the bird clock I bought for my mother. She missed her bird feeder when she moved to assisted living, and the clock cheered her and her closest neighbors. I had mentioned to my students an article about this type of clock in Smithsonian Magazine, and a student said he’d just stocked some at Walgreens, even told me the aisle number — I went to buy it as soon as school let out. My students were so helpful! I’m trying to train myself to get up and move and stretch when it chirps. Mom was very good at following doctor’s orders to keep moving, and it helps so many aspects of health.

    1. I’m a longtime birder, and I remember the first time I heard one of those clocks. I glanced around – where in the world was that goldfinch?

      Absolutely must keep moving. That was part of what did my mom in before her genetic clock would have dictated (her bullheaded Irish father lived well into his nineties, on stubborness alone…).

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