Sunday, May 10, 2009


She was tough.

But she could be funny.

"It's a great life if you don't weaken," she used to say and she was right. (she is pictured here with my own daughter)

She didn't like animals. She'd stand at the back door clapping her hands at some cat walking through the yard. "Git!" she'd say. "Go on! Go!" It didn't sound in the least threatening and the cat in question would generally lift its head and stare at my mother in a perplexed way. What are you looking at?

She liked to play solitaire. She dealt the cards out on an old board, balanced on the arms of her chair as she sat. In her later years, we used to say why don't you play on the computer. She would make a wry face at the prospect of trying to use the computer. "I know enough to stay away from it," was her only comment.

She was thrifty. She bought the cheap paper towels. She kept the same ice cream scoop from World War II. It was a darn good scoop made of weapons-grade iron or steel or something that will never disintegrate. I wouldn't mind having it. She put water in the salad dressing. When I accused her of it, she said "It goes a lot further if you do that." I suspected her of watering down the mashed potatoes, but never caught her doing it. When I grew up, I never imagined what real mashed potatoes tasted like.

When asked at the Motor Registry if she wanted to donate any of her organs, she said no, she'd spent too much money trying to keep them.

She made really really good fudge.

She sewed things. For years, she bought patterns and made dresses for me. One of my teachers in high school asked me once if I loved plaid because I wore so much of it. I told my mother and I think she was mortified. I had never noticed. She tried to teach me how to sew one summer and we nearly killed each other.

She was a terrible driver. She went 40 mph on busy highways and if you were a passenger, you tried to melt into the seat. "Listen, buster," she'd say when someone honked or acted displeased. "Get out of my way or I'll ram you. Damn Arkies."

She'd walk into a room and hold out her hand to give something to you. It was always candy. She loved candy. She was unable to walk by any Hershey's display, especially if it was on special. The freezer in the garage was loaded up with Easter eggs, giant Dove bars, foil-covered balls, and M&Ms.

Most of her things are gone now, given away or with my dad. There was so much stuff that some of it had to be put into a storage unit, which I visited last year. I haphazardly opened up a beat-up old desk and found all her sewing things. Dozens of spools of thread, acquired over a lifetime, ingeniously stored on little knobs, any color you would want. No one wants them now. I took her sewing scissors with me when I left. She used to call them "the good shears."

Happy Mother's Day, Mom.

I wish you were here.




At 10:11 PM , Blogger sandman1 said...

Love the image of her saying "listen buster" and then ramming someone at low speed.

I've seen thread collections like that, and similarly, button collections, from my grandmothers. The buttons were in a cigar box and I used to play with them when I visited.

The little girl's clenched hand suggests a certain apprehension about nail polish!

At 6:17 AM , Blogger Becky Motew said...

Oh, she likes nail polish, though! Thanks, sm.

At 7:43 PM , Blogger Kay said...

Becky I can understand how you would want someone that full of spirit to still be around. Thank you for this description of your mother, she sounds like a real, no-bullshit woman - the kind you know will tell you the truth and take no prisoners. A great ally - who couldn't face the world unafraid with someone like that at your back? (Love the photo - I could write a poem about it! You were the cutest little dot!

At 9:13 PM , Blogger Becky Motew said...

Omygosh, that's my daughter!!!!

Thanks for your kind words, Kay.



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