My mother was born on Friday the 13th, except it was a Thursday. Don’t bother to look it up – she’ll tell you the truth in the same breath she tells you the lie.
She’ll also tell you exactly how much she paid for the blouse she’s wearing ($7.00), how much it cost originally ($63.00), how she finagled the use of coupons, senior citizen’s discount and a well-timed sale to pull that coup off (this part, usually accompanied by a giggle), and how long she has had it (on average, 22 years – she takes very good care of her clothes). Just ask. Or don’t. She’ll tell you either way.
After my father died, she moved out of the house and into a condo bringing with her no less than 11 pairs of white Keds (for gardening), 8 bathrobes (spring, summer, winter, a little sexy, Daddy’s heavy robe, after bath, travel, Daddy’s light robe), and enough earrings to require a special structure to be mounted on the wall. The three jewelry boxes were already overflowing with enough colored beads and trinkets to buy Manhattan, and possibly even Staten Island (at the original price, adjusted, of course, for inflation, and discounted, of course, because, well…really? Staten Island?).
When I was a kid, her side of their closet held just two pair of washable polyester pants, three jackets, three or four blouses and a handful of scarves. Everything was red, white, or blue, which made it easy to mix and match, but also gave the impression that she was crazy patriotic. She was, but in a I’ve-read-the-United-States-Constitution way, not in a traditional my-country-right-or-wrong-book-burning-flag-waving, red, white and blue kind of way.
When she was a kid the Great Depression has just hit. It didn’t let up until she was almost a teen. She’s stuck it out though the Depression, two bouts of breast cancer, two marriages, forty-three years with my father, and twenty years of sleepless nights worrying about her drunken, drug-addicted daughter. She kept a rolodex card with all my vitals: hair color, eye color, tattoos, and scars, in case she was called to claim my body from the morgue.
She’s entitled to have 11 pairs of sneakers, 8 bathrobes, two walk-in closets, an entire wall full of jewelry, and all of the anything she wants.
This is going to be all about her. My little mommy.