Today my Mom turns 94. She is doing very well. She has lost a little ground this year but it only shows in small ways. She takes a lot of naps. She has fallen behind on her ironing. (Who irons these days?) But she still gets dressed most days, gets her own breakfast and lunch and usually gets dinner for my sister and her. She still does dishes and laundry and goes to the basement and the attic chasing her silly little cat more than I like to think about. She has a pendant with a call button but I suspect she often goes on her treks without it. She still can outlast me at a good garage sale.
She is pretty cute. She’s only about 4’ 11” and weighs around 120 pounds after having and raising 8 children. Her mind is still sharp although her hearing is very bad. She still sorts out her own meds for the week and pays her own bills. She is still trying to make a killing from Publisher’s Clearinghouse. What a deal, she reasons, $7,000 a week for life given to a 94 year old would save them a lot of money.
She has lived through so much history it boggles the mind. She was born during WWI so, of course, she has no memory of that war, but she clearly remembers Prohibition and the Great Depression. Her family was very, very poor. Her dad served in the CCC (Civilian Conservation Corps). My Mom was 22 and worked downtown. She ate lunch for 10 cents at a lunch counter in town.
She married my father in 1941 just before the attack by the Japanese at Pearl Harbor. My father was not accepted in the service because he had flat feet. I don’t get it but that’s the story and apparently this was a deal breaker at that time. He also worked in a vital war industry, although I’m not sure what he did..
By mid 1950 my mother had 8 children and Dad had bought a sturdy, but unbeautiful house in the suburbs where we had a great time growing up. Mom and Dad had 6 girls and 2 boys, but we all lived like hooligans (nice ones) outdoors almost all of the time. I picture Mom in those years in pin curls with a scarf wrapped around and tied in the front hanging laundry from a basket onto the outdoor lines with at least two kids hanging on her skirts.
She thinks it was terrible that she didn’t “work out of the house” and that she never learned to drive. She still faults herself for this at 94. But she did earn money by taking in children. After we were gone she worked at a check company, she and Dad sold Tupperware, and then for years she made craft items and she and Dad went to craft fairs. She lived through the Hippie Days, the Civil Rights Movement, the Space Race, the moonwalk, Vietnam, Desert Storm, 9/11 and all the events since. She danced to Big Band music and put her hip out doing the Twist, but she cannot hear well enough to listen to rap which she would purely hate anyway. She lost a daughter to a car accident and much later she lost her husband. There are so many more mom stories to tell but I can’t put a whole life in this small homage.
Mom, I have learned to admire your calm strength and gentle courage so much. It is a pleasure to enjoy your company and I hope we have you for as many years as you are able to stand us and hope you remain well enough to feel like you life has some quality.
Happy, happy birthday to you, Mom! Your family loves you.