She was born in her grandmother’s cabin on the desolate plains of northern Minnesota. Such a setting brought to her an intense longing for glamour and romance. She found it in novels, Hollywood movies, with friends and, for a time, in each of her marriages.
She lived in six states and visited many more. She traveled to Canada and to Germany, savoring the wonder of new sights, new places. There was always something beautiful to discover.
But she was also a mother. Along the way, she gave birth to seven children. Her third child was a blue-eyed whirlwind described by many as all boy. When she was 32 (how young that seems now), a car accident took her son’s life. I doubt any mother ever recovers from a child’s death. She didn’t. Not totally.
Despite her loss she journeyed on, though perhaps with less spirit. She found stability in raising her children, in keeping house, baking breads and pastries, reading. In selling Avon. How appropriate for her to turn to selling cosmetics and perfumes. She did well with it, earning honors and awards. For nearly four decades, Avon helped her find the glamour and recognition she craved.
At some point I came to see that she never seemed to plan. Although she worked hard, for her life simply happened. The realization disturbed me. It wasn’t my way. But somehow things seemed to work out for her.
I spoke at her funeral. It was only as I wrote out my words that I put shape to the thought that she had been the ultimate pantser. She had lived her life by the seat of her pants, seemingly sliding from one event to the next. Making it up as she went. Of course we writers know there’s something to be said for pantsers.
It’s been 18 months since she left us. Today would have been her 81st birthday.
Happy birthday, Mom. I love you.
Wow, Deb! Fantastic and I know what writing this cost you. Your mom would be proud, really.
Great photo also.
Perhaps, you need to build a novel around this story. There’s much in there readers would love.
It’s a favorite photo. Mom is in the center, between her cousins. She was 18.
Deb, beautiful story, and what an amazing picture! My heart goes out to you. I, too, lost a mom and the empty space is always there. She sounds like a wonderful mom and friend. You did her proud today…
Thank you for your kind words, LaDonna.
I loved this. I lost my mom 5 1/2 years ago and I miss her every day. Incidently, your mom’s picture reminded me of a picture of my grandmother that I saw at Christmas. It was a trip that she and Aunt Fan took to visit a friend in New York City and they had made their way to the top of the Empire state building. The picture is of my grandmother and Aunt fan standing on either side of the guard on the observation level of the building. They have fancy hats and gloves on and even the guard is smiling. It was at that moment that it struck me that I had gotten my wanderlust from her. And her nerve to head off in unknown directions without being scared.
The lessons we learn..
Thank you, Teagan. There’s something so special about old photographs. Seeing our parents and grandparents in their younger days is like opening up a door to the past. Neat observation, about your inheritance. Connections.
Thanks for your post and for following my blog. Are you going to National this year?
If all goes well I’ll be at National this year. I’ve been picked to give my Creating Believable Anti-Heroes workshop. I just have to figure out how to come up with the rest of the fee. I take it you’re planning on going?
Congratulations, Teagan! What an honor to be chosen and it sounds like a terrific workshop! You have to find a way to go! Yeah, I’ll be there! Nothing could stop me.
Oh, you brought a tear to my eye. I lost my mom in September. I hope they run into one another beyond the stars.
I’m so glad I reached you, Ciarcullen, despite the sadness. Maybe there’s hope yet for my writing! 😉
I’m so sorry to hear about your loss. There are still times when I think “Oh, Mom would like to hear about that” and I almost reach for the phone. But time passes…
Thank you so much for writing. It means a lot.