MOTHER’S DAY — I’m looking through albums for pictures of my mother and am carried back to the past. So many memories fill my heart today. Each picture I see tells a story, some stories about family and others about the world in my mother’s time.
I look at the first picture of my mother Bernice and grandmother Nora in 1911, and think of the generations of women who have held newborn babies. The world, makeup or the lack of, hair styles, and clothes have changed, but that feeling of holding a baby never changes. It doesn’t matter if it’s your own baby or your niece or nephew or even a friend’s baby, your heart opens up and jumps in response.
I don’t know much about my mother’s life as a child, she never talked about it. I learned bits and pieces of her story through the years, enough to know her childhood was not very happy. Mother‘s left arm and leg were severely burned in an accident when she was around ten years old, She always carried deep scars. She also lost hearing in her right ear as a teenager. On a happier note, the middle picture is mother at seventeen in 1928 when she graduated from high school. She won a trophy for being the most valuable basketball player in her senior year. The third picture is my mother holding me, Betty, in 1935. It’s the only picture I have of us together when I was a child. I have a couple of pictures taken with my grandmother Nora, but they didn’t take very many pictures.
Mother was the COOK in our home and a wonderful one. I was never allowed to cook very much; mother said food was too expensive to be wasted. There were a few things I was allowed to do such as stir the yellow coloring into the margarine. When margarine first made its appearance it was white and you had to mix in yellow food coloring if you wanted it to look like butter. My chore was to dry dishes every night as mother washed them.
I remember World War II and the difficulties of war rationing. Mother loved to make cakes, pies, and cookies and the biggest hardship for her was the lack of sugar. She and her friends would get together and trade food stamps. Mother always wanted more ration stamps for sugar as her favorite thing to cook was desserts.
My dad was the happy recipient of all those desserts. Nothing pleased him more than good food and good company and nothing pleased mother more than cooking! I do remember dad coming in the kitchen when a cake was in the oven and opening the oven door to peek in. He had the bad habit of letting the door close hard and would turn and grin at mother. He said a fallen cake was always better, it was moister. Needless to say, mother was not happy!
Mother was a wonderful seamtress and made all my clothes as well as her own. She would see a dress or blouse or coat she liked and draw a picture of it. Then she would choose material and make it. I did not inherit that talent! I wish I had.
I would love to sit at her table one more time. I’d choose her roasted beef with potatoes and onions. For dessert, I’d have either mother’s Burnt Sugar Cake or her Applesauce Cake with icing, not frosting as we know it today, but a thin sugary one that makes my mouth water when I think about it. I’ve tried to make it many times. I can make the cake, but I’ve never managed to duplicate the icing. I searched mother’s huge collection of recipes for the cake and icing and neither was written down.
For me, Mother’s Day is a day of remembering the past and my mother, but it’s also a day of remembering the present and my children. And of the very first time I held my babies, oh, how my heart melted.
For me, Mother’s Day is a day to remember the births of my grandchildren and great grands. I think how blessed I am to have daughters and grandchildren and great grandchildren. And I wonder, where on earth did the time go? It happened when I wasn’t looking. How fast time passes—it feels like you just turn around and another year has evaporated.
So here’s to my mother and grandmother,
Happy Mother’s Day with love.
And to my family,
I say again Happy Mother’s Day,
With love and hugs for making me a mother!