Thirty-three years ago today my mom died.
You just never forget the day one of your parents pass on.
Mom never met a stranger, and I don’t believe I have either. She told me I could learn something from every person I met. I’ve seen her sit and talk to a senator and a state representative, and turn around to talk just as respectfully to the cafeteria workers at my school.
She saved me from a group of boys one evening. After I left a store, some boys began circling around me on their bikes, poking me in the chest and backing me up against the wall. I knew mom couldn’t see me, for she was parked across a field that had a decorative concrete wall between us. Suddenly, something came crashing through that field, and I saw my mom ready to come out swinging at those boys. They were terrified, not knowing where this beast had emerged from. They scattered like oil and water, and I fell onto her chest just weeping.
She was fiercely loyal to her family. We often made trips to Kentucky so she could check on her family. She was the oldest of eight children, many of whom died in the flu epidemic or complications from diabetes in their adult years. Only one other girl would be born, and she died at three years old.
She was a Kentucky hillwoman. She taught me how to shoot, and wasn’t satisfied until I could hit every target to her satisfaction.
She and dad grew a garden that would rival Jack and the Beanstalk’s best efforts. I’ve never known anyone to grow a garden like them. Dad always waited for the call that the smelt fish were running in Michigan. One year, we hadn’t used all of the fish from the previous year. Mom simply put one into each hill of corn and beans she planted. For the next few days, every doggone cat in the neighborhood came and dug up those hills. She and dad simply started over.
I once asked her how she and dad ever made it through the Depression. (They married in 1932) She said they were so poor they didn’t even know a Depression was going on.
She took me into the woods and taught me what I could eat to survive on, and what to stay away from.
It couldn’t have been easy for her when I was born. Her family was grown and almost out of the house when I came along. My sisters were 16, 19, and 21, and the oldest two were in nursing school. Mom was in her forties, beginning all over again. She developed toxemia with me, and had blood pressure problems the rest of her life.
I was known as “Ida’s girl”. Now, I’m just known as Miss Peggy. I wish more people knew her so I could still be known as “Ida’s girl”. That’s the highest compliment.
I only had her 29 years, and it’s not fair that my sisters had her longer. There are times I could sure use her sage advice.
Mom…I am surely missing you today. I can’t wait to sit and talk with you again.