Saturday, November 15, 2003

Funny How We Remember

Today is my mother's birthday. Funny how we remember such things. She'd be 71 today and I just can't imagine that. My memories of my mom are of her lying out in the sun in a brown bikini working on a tan that made her nearly as dark as her skimpy two-piece. I remember her waist-high in the lake waters, smiling, and holding me while she soothingly spun me around. For a chubby kid, that was a wonderful feeling... to be weightless and loved. I remember my mom taking me and my childhood bestfriend Phyllis into to the knobs in the '72 VW beetle to teach me how to drive on hills in southern Indiana. How could she ever tolerate listening to us scream when I stalled the car on a steep hill... repeatedly? I remember her snoring. Ohmagawd! Could my mom ever snore! It just wasn't human! I remember the ease in which she'd throw together a Thanksgiving dinner. She was never one for stress, at least she never, EVER, showed it. She was well-known and is remembered for her fine cooking. It was a mix of Polish, German and American and was always, ALWAYS, satisfying. My high school friend Monica still mentions my mother's pork chops to this day. I remember everything she prepared as being so very good. I remember my mom subtly acknowledging the special child she had that was me. She was never a doting mom, but she was aware of who I was and provided me with the mental stimulants I needed to make it through a day. She gave me culture, both in real life experience as well as in reading materials. She'd take me to heritage festivals during the summer in Louisville and she'd take me to her childhood home in Arcadia, WI. She'd give me trips to the library and subscriptions to World magazine, a subsidiary of National Geographic. And somehow, just SOMEHOW, she managed to send me to Europe when I was fourteen. The rest of the family had been there yet no one seemed to appreciate our culture as much as I did. It was only right that I get to see the land where my grandmother and grandfather called home. Sending me on that trip was no easy feat considering our lower class status but as mom's do, she made something important happen. I'll always remember my mother's good traits and good heart and will do so even when it's not her birthday.


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