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I Didn't Remember My Mother
We Weren't Always Together
My siblings and I weren’t always together with mom. There was a time she fell ill when we were very young and we had to be farmed out to far away relatives. I was about 3 years old then.
There were 4 children from moms’ first marriage. She remarried to a career Air Force man who became our step dad. She was to have 2 children by him and one which was a miscarriage. That’s when we were shipped off to her mother’s in Arkansas.
We weren’t told of the reason for us going to grandmothers’ house…we were too young to understand anyway. But we enjoyed living in the Ozark Boston Mountains where she lived. It was a young boys’ paradise. There was plenty of room for us youngsters to romp and play. And then there were all the farm animals grandmother kept. There were chickens, goats, geese a pet dog, not to mention all the wild animals which inhabited our scenic mountain top countryside.
My Pretty Mom
We Stayed With Grandmother
I don’t remember just how long we stayed at grandmothers’, but it was sufficient time for me to forget my parents. At that young age children aren’t too concerned about the whys and heretofore. As far as I was concerned the world only consisted of our mountain farm.
Then came the time my two older siblings went back home to our parents living in Warner Robbins, Georgia. Mike and I remained on the farm. I must have been very self absorbed then since I didn’t miss them in the least. Mike and I got along without them quite nicely.
We didn’t have all the toys and playthings most city kids had but we were happy. In spite of the fact there were no other kids to play with nearby. We made our own playthings from our surroundings. Granddads’ lumber pile was conveniently converted into a fort where we fought off imaginary Indian attackers, pirates and other villains. Broomsticks were easily transformed into magnificent stallions on which we pursued notorious outlaws. And our pet dog became a pack mule.
Older But Still Pretty
A Good Scrubbing Down
One day grandmother got out the big galvanized tub and gave Mike and me a good scrubbing down. She didn’t tell us why we were getting a bath. Then out came our Sunday go to meeting clothes which she dressed us up in.
I remember sitting on a counter top while grandmother meticulously combed my hair. I asked her if we were going to town or something. She replied no, but explained some very special company was coming.
My brother and I reasoned whoever was coming had to be somebody special for grandmother to get us all gussied up in our Sunday best. Little did we know who it was to be. Grandmother was keeping it a well guarded secret.
We Heard Grandpas' Car
It was about that time we heard grandpas’ car pull up in the driveway. Grandma lifted me off the counter and set me down on the floor. “Now you both just stand right there and don’t get all mussed up” she commanded as she slicked down a misplaced strand of hair on my head.
We heard the car doors slam and a few seconds later grandpa entered with a strange lady…strange, but very pretty. Grandma led me up to the woman and asked “Do you know who this is?” I studied her face, but try as I might, I couldn’t think of whom she might be.
“Come on” grandma urged. “You have to know who this is.” So, I tried again. She did look slightly familiar, but I still couldn’t place her. Then it struck me. “She’s Aunt Helen”, I exclaimed. My mom and her sister did have striking similar characteristics. However, my guess was wrong and the strange lady’s countenance fell. I must have said something wrong because the lady now looked extremely sad. “No, no, no” grandma scolded. “This is your mother!”
It had never dawned on me I actually had a mother. My world had completely revolved around my grandparents…they were my family. Maybe I had mentally blocked the separation from my mother in my mind as a defense mechanism against painful memories.
In any event, elusive memories of my mom came flooding back and suddenly I knew her. Tears welled up in my eyes and I ran to embrace her. My life was complete once again.