Wednesday, August 4, 2010
Mom loved to travel, by whatever means
Three years ago today, our family lost our Mom. Lots of other people lost her, too, because she was adopted by many of our friends who loved her, and loved by all her friends and relations.
She was a no-nonsense kind of mother with a great sense of humor and a tremendous sense of fun.
This morning I received this picture by e-mail from my brother Clint and his wife Maria, taken the day they gave her a granny-scooter previously owned by Maria's own dear mom. Well, my mother hopped onto that thing as fast as her wobbly legs would allow her, and although I wasn't there, I can imagine her saying, "Toot toot, watch out, here I come!" because she always approached life the same way, with all-out enthusiasm and a cheeky grin.
I remember when we were young, Mom broke her arm, slipping on wet grass when attempting to "put a tin ear" (an empty threat she picked up from my grandfather, but which always terrified us) on one of the mischievous boys in our neighborhood. I'm not sure if she was running after my brother Clint, or his twin friends Arden and Allen, or the twins' older brother Dennis, but she ran with determination, and with her hallmark smile.
I remember when our family dog gave birth to a litter of pups, then died two days later. Mom raised all eight of those pups with baby formula in bottles, pablum in pie-plates, and a whole lot of newspapers spread across the kitchen floor.
Some people were shocked when Dad bought six acres on the back side of a mountain and, with the help of friends, taught us the basics of wood-frame construction as we built a house and then moved into it. For several months until electricity was installed, Mom cheerfully cooked our meals (including chocolate cakes) on the top of a pot-bellied wood stove.
From the fall of 1961 until the spring of 1963, Mom drove me, Clint, our sister Ann, and our friends Carol and Allan, to school because the school bus didn't go as far as our road. We'd drop Ann at the elementary school and Mom would take the rest of us, in her old green Jeep station wagon, to the high school. She'd zoom into the gravel parking lot just a teensy bit late, and slam on the brakes, splendidly spewing gravel, at the front step where the frowning vice-principal stood looking significantly at his watch. We trooped in behind him unrepentantly, and stopped at the office for our late-slips while Mom turned the Jeep with a flourish and, spraying more gravel, sped out and away.
I remember the summer of 1962 when she was dorm mother at a summer figure-skating school and called "Mom" by a whole crowd of girls and young women. And I remember the fall of 1967 when I phoned to tell her one of my friends was expecting a baby. "You young people aren't the only ones who can do that," she said.
Later, in Mexico, where Mom and Dad spent more than 20 winters, she was "Mamacita" to many members of our group as well as a doting but firm mother to our young brother Rob, having him do all his early schooling, from kindergarten until Grade 8, in Spanish as well as English. "It won't do him any harm," she told the occasional critic, with knowledge she had gained from many years of mothering. "He's smart, and maybe this will slow him down a bit."
We miss you, Mother-Mom-Mommy-Mamacita. Pauline Davies, nee MacKenzie, 1924-2007, a mom in a million. And we'll never know what "put a tin ear on you" really meant.