Tuesday, November 9, 2010
A Birthday: November 10, 1938
If she were still amongst the living, my mother would be seventy-two today. The photo here was taken in the mid-sixties, in her twenties. I would have been about seven or so.
A complicated woman, she was the first person I ever knew who could stop traffic, holding herself bolt upright amid cheers, catcalls and other exclamations. She could alternately curse like a sailor or hold her own with the most cultured, and she placed high value on manners.
Her eyes were a blue green that darkened with her mood, and when her eyebrow was raised without a smile beneath it, I learned to beware as a storm of anger could quickly ensue.
She endured much, including an early divorce, the death of a child and being a single, working parent before that became commonplace. My stepfather, whom she married at thirty, was the love of her life.
Widowed without warning at forty-two, I watched as her life imploded, never to be the same.
We were both like gathering storms, two forces of nature determined to have our own way. She loved but did not understand me, and I understood but sometimes failed, to appreciate her.
She was the first person in her family to attend university, an opportunity she was more than happy to extend to me, and one of which she was most proud.
Sarcastic, funny, irreverant and often surprising, she walked with her head up, rarely bowing to sorrow in public, a trait we both share.
She died at 59 of cancer. Her name was Sarah.