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Been there, done that

The Spirit of Tehachapi

 


Last Sunday, in church, our Pastor announced that Mother’s Day was soon to be upon us. That same day I watched a little girl with a blonde pony tail, walking in holding her mom’s hand. It naturally brought me back to another time when I, too, held a little girl’s hand coming into church. This would have been in the late fifties and she knew that one had to be very quiet in church. One of my five sons sort of broke the mold when it came to church behavior and this little daughter of mine felt it her responsibility to keep his little two year old body “right side up.” Her older brothers, I am sure, used to try to pretend they belonged to another family.

I did a lot of standing in the vestibule with a fussy baby off and on throughout the years. Our Parish Priest went to a great deal of trouble preparing his sermon and many a crying baby in church often has an edge when it comes to volume; the baby usually wins. The solution is to allow the congregation to hear the sermon and take the baby out. It’s only fair. Often, my husband and I attended separate Masses and the baby was left at home but when “hubby” was off in foreign lands I had to take the whole crowd. Our Sunday treat was to have ice cream “frosties” after Mass. We all looked forward to this simple Sunday morning treat.

After the family was tucked into bed at night and all was quiet I used to stay up rather late to “think my own thoughts” and gain a little time for myself. It’s good quiet time but when those thoughts extend to midnight, or later, and six a.m. comes round, one will find some glassy eyed, yawning creature, called Mom, who is liable to fry their corn flakes in the morning.

Still, it was a good time. Some of my best memories as a mom was when one of the kids would bring me a Mother’s Day card which they had made at school under the teacher’s direction. Bless those teachers for teaching the children how to be thoughtful as well as how to read, write, add, subtract, etc.

Sometimes when the gift is pretty original looking and you haven’t the foggiest notion what it is , one might ask the child, “My, how did you make such a nice gift? Tell me about it.”

I still have a necklace made by one of my sons when he was in Kindergarten. A beautifully colored macaroni necklace. The macaroni was multi-colored and looked like it had been manufactured in those hues. My son was proud to see me wear it. Then, later, when he was a Cub Scout and I a Den Mom we needed Indian Beads for our Indian program. How did Miss Reed, the Kindergarten teacher, color that macaroni? I called her for the “recipe” and it was easy as pie. Food coloring and alcohol mixed together. Dip the salad macaroni (small and easy to string) and lay them on a paper towel for a few moments. The alcohol dries them almost immediately and you’re ready for your little Indians to make their beads and make their necklaces and ankle bracelets. Try it, really fun.

I recall many a Mother’s Day when I realize, “Oh no, they’re making me breakfast.” They never once set anything on fire and stone cold eggs aren’t bad when you get used to them.

My children grew up when clothes usually needed ironing. Laid end to end, you could walk around the world on the articles of clothing I have ironed. Lunches: I have packed a zillion lunches; enough to feed a hungry country. I have budgeted, charged and saved to get Barbie Dolls, electric trains, bikes, etc. so Christmas Morning would be a good time. It keeps a person busy and if we could only continue to make things right for them when they grow up. “Mama can’t kiss it and make it well then. They’re on their own.”

My husband and I ended up as we began; just the two of us. That was kind of fun, too. We were able to get re-acquainted. We had sixty years. On Mother’s Day and Father’s Day we would be reminded that we were parents of half dozen kids with phone calls, maybe flowers or treated to dinner to remind us of what we’d “gone through” bringing them up.

My father, Chauncey Davis, used to quote a line of a poem by Edgar A Guest: “It takes a heap o livin’ in a house to make a home. “ I could add to that: “It takes a heap o livin’ to bring up a family of children and it’s worth every minute of it.”

 
 

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