Friday, May 11, 2007

Memories: Mothers Entry May 7-11

Whenever I think of my mother, I think of Shakespeare’s line “She should have died hereafter.” She was only forty-eight when she died of a brain tumor on Easter Sunday night in 1961.

Daddy adored Mother and would often hug her and say to us children, “Isn’t she the prettiest thing you ever saw?” I always agreed even though I privately thought that Elizabeth Taylor had it all over her in the looks department. After Mother’s death he commissioned a gigantic portrait of her and hung it over the living room mantel where he would stand and gaze and cry.

I had to tell my brother the news that Easter night; he didn’t say a word but pulled the covers over his head…and remained that way symbolically for several decades.
My sister wrote in her Bible “Mother why did you leave me?” Me? I felt like there was now no place to hide.

Mother was a first grade school teacher who taught in what was known as the “underprivileged” school since most of the pupils lived in the housing project. Each fall she would make a list of what the children wanted for Christmas. Then on a frosty night in December she took her paycheck for that month, bundled up her own children and took us to Frank Sower’s hardware store after hours. Mr. Sower opened the store just for us and we would all scatter to search out the items on the list. Mr. Sower sold her the toys at his cost. Then we took the toys to the Police Station with a list of names and addresses and what went where. The Police would deliver them on Christmas Eve. One of my greatest childhood memories is going to sleep on Christmas Eve picturing the joy of those children when they received their gifts.

Mother was a feisty redhead who freely told us about smoking a marijuana cigarette once in college, about running away from church camp as a teen, and about opening the screen door as a child, in defiance of her grandmother’s admonitions, and yelling, “Come on in, flies!”

She also made sure we went to church on Sunday. If for some reason we didn’t make it to our regular Presbyterian Church on Sunday morning, she took us to a Baptist Church on Sunday night.

My mother was always the life of any party. The party stopped for us, but the Mortuary said her funeral had a larger attendance than any they ever held.

I hated that she died when I was only 18 years old and that my children never knew her. But I’m glad that it was on Easter Sunday because I never think of her death without automatically remembering the Resurrection. And that reminds me that I found my place to hide in the cleft of THE ROCK Whom she made sure that I knew. And because of Him, one day my children will know her.

Submitted by
Amy Barkman


Melanie Dickerson said...

Tag, you're it! Now that I've tagged you, you have to write eight things about yourself on your blog, then tag eight more people. See my blog for my eight things. :-)

Terry's Wife said...

Amy, what a beautiful story about your mother! Thank you so much for sharing that, it was really wonderful.

In Christ,