My Mother and Me

A recent phone conversation between Mother and me…

“I dream about my childhood almost every night,” Mother said. “I miss my mother. In my dreams, I’m with her again. As a child, I thought everybody’s mother was wonderful like mine.”

“Goge (our name for my grandmother) went through some hard stuff, but I never heard her complain. Every single time we were together, she made me laugh. She never mentioned herself or her problems. She just loved on me.”

Goge and me--my 34th birthday

“Your grandmother wore a white eylet dress to my daddy’s funeral when I wasn’t quite two. She was 27. May 18, 1938. Back then, widows wore the traditional black dress. That white eyelet dress was Daddy’s favorite. Mother didn’t care what anybody thought.”

“Goge was ahead of her time.”

“She had Wednesday afternoons off from work. When it was pretty outside, your grandmother walked home from work and put on shorts like mine. My friends came over and Goge  walked with us to Sleepy Hollow–a lush green hide-away deep in the woods–amazingly cool on hot summer days. Clear, pure water to swim in. She packed peanut butter crackers and small bottled Cokes.”

“She really wanted to be with you, didn’t she?”

“More than anything.”

“Remember how she peeled an orange?” I said. “She’d sit beside me, laughing and talking the whole time, and take off every piece of skin. Even the yucky white stuff. Then she’d divide it into sections, and arrange it on a plate for me. So much love in everything she did.”

“And cutting a watermelon was like a festival. She’d laugh expectantly, so I did too. It made a marvelous cracking sound as she slicked it open on newspaper. Then she’d say, “Oh Mannie, we’ve got a good one. And she’d cut a chunk right out of the center for me.”

“She gave you all that mattered in life.”

“I wish I could do it all over again,” Mother said softly. “I’d be more like her.”