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MY MOTHER


Yesterday was the thirtieth anniversary of my mother’s dying. So long ago and in another life. Sometimes it hardly seems as if she was here at all.

She was such a tiny wisp of a lady at only 4’11”, and gone too early before her 73rd birthday. My father had given her a snow mobile the winter before, which she drove through the snowy Oregon woods at top speed. They lived at Diamond Lake, Oregon during the summer months, and in Mexico during the winter. She took classes and learned to speak a passable Spanish, while my father simply pointed to what he wanted.

In her last year or two they remained in Oregon, buying a home in Brookings on the coast, but still spending a lot of time at the Lake, where she worked in the resort grocery store and ran a gift shop at the Lodge. She had never worked, always using possible poor health as her reason, but in her role as a “lady of some importance”, she bloomed. Earning her first money, she was able to spend something on herself. She had had very dark hair as a young person, but it began turning grey when she was only in her 20’s. It became a lovely white, and since she had an innate sense of color and style, she was as pretty as she had been when my father married her.

They married at the age of 19, and the love affair lasted through all those years, surviving the many absences caused by his Naval career, including five long years during WW II when he was at sea.

Though she never seemed to be a strong person, being overshadowed by my Grandmother, in whose home we lived, I’m sure she had a certain inner strength. During peacetime when we were often stationed in another place, I never heard her complain about starting a new home, however short a time we might be there. More often than not, she was given only a week or so to pack and move. She was a good seamstress, and if we happened to be living in a one-room apartment, which we sometimes were, she made curtains, bedspreads, etc. to make it as pretty as she could. I often had a small cot on one side of the room, and if possible, she hung a dividing curtain between my side and theirs.

When we were stationed in Connecticut at the Submarine base, my father did not want to live on the Base, so they found a rather ramshackle place out in the country which we called home for the next 2 years. It had been a trailer, to which a room had been added. There was no running water, a wood stove and an outhouse a distance away. It sounds awful, and it may have been, but they were the happiest 2 years of my childhood. I have often wondered why that should be. My Grandmother’s rooming house was large and in a fine neighborhood, and the Auntie with whom I often lived during a great deal of my childhood had a lovely home. But we were all together, and my little mother was happy, which was not always the case.

She was given her grandmother’s name, and I was given hers. My Granddaughter is also a Kate, so she will not be forgotten. After she died, I came across a small slip of paper she had tucked away which said “I hope if they remember me they will say I was fun”.

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12 comments on “MY MOTHER

  1. This is such a tender and sweet memory. Simply ‘fun’ will be enough for me as well. My mom died at 74 – you are right 73/74 way to young. Kisses to you dear one!

    Linda Sent from my iPhone

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  2. I loved hearing about your mother. One thing they will say about you is that you are also fun, but interesting, talented in so many ways, charming and loving.

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  3. Lovely post. We used to visit friends in Brookings. Perhaps we passed by your mother in the supermarket sometime. It is coming up to seven years since my own mother died. I still miss her terribly. She was a fine seamstress, too. Her mother taught her to quilt when she was nine and after my father died, she took up quilting again. She was a real textile artist, and I have precious quilts and wall hangings to remember her by.

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  4. What a dear letter..in tribute to all the memories of her.Soooo REAL, Kayti
    and so understanding. What a gift you have..not only to understand your mom
    but people and really KNOW them..that’s love.
    xoxo
    me

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    • What a sweet comment Joyce! I’m so happy you enjoyed it, and I’m sure you have wonderful memories of your mom as well. It’s hard when you lose your mother, because then you are no one’s child and it is a lonely feeling.

      ________________________________

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  5. Oh Kayti, this is lovely. My breath caught on that last line and the phrase “my little mother was happy”. So moving, so vivid.

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  6. My mother died a few years ago at 94. She was the one who pulled us through back in 1956 after arrival from Holland with her six sprouts.
    Dad was the dreamer who looked up into the sky but mum looked at the family and cared for a more level approach.
    They went back to Holland in 1974 and enjoyed still many years together with their family and friends.

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