Sunday, May 9, 2010

Thinking of Mama

Our mother died suddenly on September 15, 2008. There was no warning, no lingering illness, just a phone call while I was at work from Bobby, my sister's husband, telling me as gently as he could that mama was gone. I say our mother because it seems selfish to claim her as mine alone. My sister Rhonda, and my brother Jimmy, and I lost our mother.

I have no doubt that there are many others who on Mother's Day think of loss, memories, and wishes. I hope that you also find comfort in your remembrances.

When we were children, my mother listened to the radio and sang along. My own love of music and my eclectic tastes in artists is linked directly to her. She listened to Aretha and Patsy, taught me to appreciate James Brown and Johnny Cash.

In the summer, when the days were long and hot, we liked to go outside late in the evening, in that lull before dark when the fireflies were just barely visible and the evening breeze had begun to blow a little coolness into the air. My mother would chat with our next door neighbor and my sister and I, and one of our playmates would inevitably form a line and pretend that we were the Supremes, or Martha and the Vandellas, or any one of the myriad girl groups that were a part of popular culture. I wrote the following poem years ago. Thank you mama for giving me a soundtrack to my life.

To Martha, Aretha et. al.
On warm nights my sister and I

danced the streets,

toe tapping,

hip swinging,
finger popping—

do whopping up and down the block.

Singing “stop” and

   “stay” and

       “ooh baby love”—

doing a slow soul strut under a summer moon

as the night breathed fire in the step.

The Marvelettes performing "Mr. Postman." Please hit the pause button on the player in the left column prior to watching the video. This is still one of my favorite sing-a-long songs.


Beth said...

Sending you much love and big hugs, Sheria.

Nance said...

Thank you for that great clip! I was a huge Shirelles fan, myself: "She's So Fine," "Soldier Boy," and, today, "Mama Said."

Recently, I've been feeling closer to my mother than ever and I was starting to believe I finally understood her. Then, I remembered a couple of things she did that I could never understand, and I realized I'm still stuck with just loving her.

A fine poetic tribute to the early sixties.

dmappin said...

Very sweet remembrance of your Mom!.

My mom has been an inspiration all m,y life. she riased six kids. And for a number of years she did it along after divorcing my father. She worked two jobs, one that was frowned upon my a lot of religious kooks, but what the hey, it put food on the table and kept us clothed.

In more recent years as she has aged, she has faced medical challenges galore. She is diabetic, has hig blood pressure and was diagnosed with multiple scelrosis in 2001... and more recently still had two mini-strokes. Even with all of this she is upbeat, fun and hardworking... even at the age of 70.

She is a trooper and I love her!

Bucko (a.k.a., Ken) said...

Hugs to you on this day to remember our mothers.

warrior scout said...

this road we travel most certainly twists and turns, doesn't it? and had we known this much at the start no doubt we would have packed very differently- oh but wait... that's not an option... i guess we are where we should be and we must be doing fine...

big warm hug... and then another..

Mark said...

What could be cuter than you and your sister and friends doing the Marvellettes on the porch?
All you would have needed would have been a nerdy Poindexter in white socks clapping awkwardly on the bottom step. Not me! I would have been right there singing with you!
I'm sure your Mom cherished that memory just as you do.

Anonymous said...

Do me a favor-when you publish a book-and you will-- please let me know. ~Mary

Teeluck said...

That is a beautiful post, happy mother's day to you

Sarcastic Bastard said...

Just sending love, Sheria. I wish you peace. Your Mom must have been a real doll.


Sandra Moreano said...

You had a special connection to a wonderful mom. Those fond memories keep us going through out the decades. Thanks for the post, it makes me grateful for my own childhood memories.

Cathy said...

I'm thinking of Ronnie Spector for some reason. The Shirelles too. And my mother, who sang opera and could appreciate ANY music that affected a human being. Sweet memories you related, thanks.

Alan said...

I find it interesting that despite sociaties promice that "time heals all..." the emptiness never goes away. I lost my mom in 1993, and I've gotten better at looking forward instead of back into the gaping hole that was left by her passing. BUT, it is still there. One step back, one turn, and I'm in that dark lonely place. The loneliness birds ride the wind just over my sholder, and some days it is a struggle not to get beaten up by them.
Good on you for grabbing the gems of memory and moving forward. Keep it up.