She was the daughter of a hard-drinking, hard-working Scotch father and a gentle, forbearing Pennsylvania Dutch mother. Everyone described Grandmother as “classy” or “nice”… Grandfather as “stubborn” or “irascible”. That’s pretty much how I remember them.
My mom wasn’t June Cleaver. One of my earliest memories of her is being sent to the corner store to buy a pack of cigarettes… for her 😉 . She smoked Pall Malls, no filters, until she was about twenty-five.
She was a working mother, in the days before it was necessary for a mother to work… even before it was fashionable for a mother to work. It was the way she wanted it. I think she liked having control over her own money, and know for sure that she liked having control over the household.
Her temper was, at times, unpredictable to me. She would blandly accept things I didn’t think she could… like the time I wrecked the car and she almost yawned about it. Then she would throw a pitcher of water at me over something I didn’t think was any big deal. I guess I just didn’t get it.
Though she was a deeply religious woman, she was still at odds with many of the church teachings of the day… a sometimes not so quiet rebel against evangelical Protestantism. Our pastor didn’t like the women in the church wearing slacks, and she openly defied that, even snidely remarking that the pastor just liked to look up women’s dresses.
In her later years, I think she regretted her free-thinking, because it was passed down to her children. We all took our knocks when we butted our heads up against authority.
The last time I saw Mom she drove out from Reno to see us. She was making a tour of all the kids, stopping in and hanging out for a week. I think she knew her time was short. She called me Timmy then, like I still was her little boy. It made me remember how much I hated that when I got into my teen years.
I sure do miss it now.