It’s all coming back to me – my life in snippets. My Brownie uniform. The pretty little dressy dresses I wore 40 years ago to my brothers’ weddings. My First Communion veil. All lovingly tucked away for decades in my mother’s hope chest. The cedar chest shall always belong to my mom because I will never call it mine even though I am now in possession of it.
Every cherished memento placed neatly: my mom’s 1937 high school letter jacket, the wedding dress she wore as she walked down the aisle toward my dad in 1941, the 1950’s den mother uniform, a much loved "Velveteen" bear belonging to my oldest brother, my parent’s firstborn. His baby book. The only baby book. Dates and weights and doctor visits which a young mother of one found the time to record upon the pages. Babies two through six had no such baby books. We just had a whole lot of love.
Today I unearthed my mom’s original 1919 birth certificate among the books in her bedroom. The hospital spelled her name wrong. Or she’s been spelling it wrong for the last 91 years. Depends on your perspective. But my money’s on my mom. I hear the same thing happened to Oprah. Funny in an odd sort of way.
A lifetime of memories waiting to be found. Pages of flowers torn out of magazines – no doubt with the hope to duplicate the lovely blooms in the backyard. Early American furniture advertisements. Newspaper pages – although I searched the headlines I could not make heads nor tails for saving some of the yellowed crinkly pieces. But they were important to my mom. My dad has saved his share of newspapers also. One such copy from 1934 in which England warns "Nazi Germany" to leave Austria alone. Had they only listened.
Had I only listened to every pearl of wisdom from my parents’ lips, and always heeded their advice. Not the name of the game though, is it? More likely we are all destined, like Germany, to learn from our mistakes. Hopefully, we have time in our lives for reflection, time to remember what was and dream of what may be – a time for every season.
I’ve lived through the heart wrenching time of moving my parents into Assisted Living. Now my brothers and I deal with all that remains at home, or "home home" as my parents nicknamed their real true home of so many years and even more memories. Sure, they understand that their new little apartment is now their home, but the farm is and ever will be "home home." As I learn more about the parents I already thought I knew so well, I just may learn a little bit more about myself and what makes me tick. Do our parents ever stop teaching us? I sincerely hope not.
Copyright 2010 Maureen Locher
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