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Talking Politics with my Mom

Mother's slippers

I got a lot of feedback from former neighbors on my post about my “escape” from being aborted! (way to go mom!)

But I got it all on Facebook where I posted the first kernels of my blog, then expanded on it here.

It got me thinking about a lot of positive memories of Mom, her aprons, and fresh flowers on our tables, and prayers before I went out the door, stray dogs and all the animals she allowed me to collect. Our long talks about my “never getting married”.

As she grew older, and I would come home from college, we would always have  “The Talk” I most looked forward to! She would sit me down at the kitchen table, half loaded with reading materials and articles she’d collected, dish me up a bowl of her stew and homemade bread and  one of us would ask, “Sooo…What are you thinking about…so and so”?

It would be some political figure running for office, or in scandal, or a leader in Congress or the war effort.

I look back on those times as a pretty shallow, self centered time in my life, and yet she always asked my opinion on politics. I wonder what on earth I said?

I remember being fascinated by her knowledge and opinions and I would pump her for more and more information , trusting her judgment. She would sometimes laugh at herself when she realized she was taking herself too seriously.

She was an activist, a campaigner for the rights of the underdog. Literally, if a dog was in trouble without water, or in the elements for too long, she would be right there in the face of the owner, or calling the authorities.

As an elementary school teacher for 36 years, she brought home so many disadvantaged children, I never felt the lack of siblings. I always had the naughtiest children in her class as my playmates,  just “because, they don’t know any better”.

Mom would make sure they got a good meal, stern boundaries, and some good fun (Me). I had my own “small town “street” buddies to play with after school, all of whom were pretty disadvantaged already, so the visiting children fit in just fine. I was quite proud of them, actually.

My mom seldom let my street friends come into our house because “they might steal”. True!  However we had a protegé who worked for mom from the time he was seven years old.  The consensus in town was that he had been abused, or had his head kicked in because he wasn’t “quite right”, but he practically lived at our home: bringing in wood for our woodstove, mowing our lawn, teaching me to anticipate  “Highlights” on TV, walking to town for groceries when I was still too little, keeping track of me until I went to college. (He went on my first college visit with mom and me to Philadelphia.)

The neighbor kids remember my mom in later years, planting her entire yard full of trees, and going out each year with tar to save the dying Maples.

I remember tapping those Maples for sap and boiling it down to make maple sugar in the backyard. I remember being drawn to play with my cars under those trees in the front, where my mom had a horror of my being killed by a run away car. Indeed two cars missed the curve in front of our house, hit the tree where I used to play, and killed someone. The other car ran broke through into our living room and almost killed my mom!

I wish Mom were alive and in good health now that I have the benefit of age and perspective, I would love for her to know my children, and especially the little grandboys. But, we’re only given what we have. It’s the wise daughter who receives the gift with a grateful heart. And a wise mother who allows for growth and independence in the daughter.

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