Memories of my Mother
Tribute to My Mom
My dear mother was born in 1927, and grew up with a sister and two brothers. She was born, however, with a speech defect, otherwise known as a harelip and cleft palate. I don't know when the first of her surgeries took place, but by the time I was old enough to understand, she told me she had undergone more than 20 operations from the time she was a child till her mid-30s, which included surgeries on her mouth, ears, nose. The very early surgeries took a toll on her, as back then, they used to 'drip' the anesthetic in your mouth, and it ruined her teeth. I know they fixed that from the pictures I saw of her as a young child, so she was never without teeth.
She loved school, and was a straight A student. She progressed to high school, however, in the 10th grade she quit school. The reason? The teasing from her peers was merciless and she couldn't take it anymore. She found a job in the local 5 & 10. One day, her teacher found her working there, and told her to get back to school, but she never did. The kids were too cruel.
Prior to meeting my dad, she never lacked for dates :). I saw many pictures of the gentlemen who courted her, and wow! were they cute! She eventually got a job at an Army base as a waitress, where she met my dad. They got married, and since my dad was being shipped overseas, she stayed at my grandparent's house. I was told that my dad wrote to her and said their baby would be a girl, with blonde hair and blue eyes, and her name would be Patricia. So, on October 10, 1948, I was born, complete with blonde hair and blue eyes. I was two years old when my dad was discharged and met me for the first time.
When he came home, they began house hunting. They were able to borrow money from my grandmothe, and soon thereafter, found and bought their first house, where they raised me and my brother.
It was the early 50s. and I can honestly say I had a happy childhood. My mom would always play games with us. Winters were the best. We all went sleigh riding and ice skating a lot. When it was too nasty to go out, we'd play board games, bake things, or watch tv. Every several years, we would take a vacation to go to OK to visit my grandmother, then to CA to visit an aunt and on the way back, stop in TX to visit an uncle. I often wonder, to this day, how they survived driving for three days with two young kids in the car lol..
My mom continued working as a waitress, which she ended up doing for 40+ years. She worked through probably four different owners. Many times they would give her a hard time about one thing or other, and she'd simply up and quit. It wasn't long before they called her, begging her to come back. She was quite a feisty little woman! The customers loved her. Despite her speech defect, she was loved and had lots of friends. Children in the neighborhood especially loved her. She was simply a 'kid' person :)
Oddly enough, it wasn't until I was a teenager that I even knew she had a speech defect. The phone used to ring, she'd answer, then always hand it to me to do the talking for her. It used to make me mad, because I didn't understand why she couldn't talk for herself. Till one day, she said, 'Patty, you know I have a speech defect, and they don't understand me', and I looked at her in disbelief. I said 'What? what are you talking about?' Then she told me, and I simply couldn't believe it. To me, she sounded like anyone else. I guess, because I grew up hearing her talk, I never discerned a difference in her voice.
She stood by me through thick and thin, and always played the 'buffer' between me and my Dad, who became increasingly strict the older I became. She had the greatest sense of humor and loved to have house parties. My favorites were Halloween and New Year's Eve. For Halloween parties, my best friend (Sally's Trove) and I were allowed to make the invitations, and we had great fun inventing different ways to do it. New Year's Eve was fun because when it was all over, my brother and I got to keep all the noise makers. He and I would get the job of cleaning up, and when we were teenagers, we'd taste some of the leftover drinks LOL,,,,but ughhhhh!!! What were we thinking??
My grandparents,,, I never knew my natural grandfather, as he passed away when my mom was only 9 yrs old. My grandmother remarried, to the man I knew and loved as 'grandpa' my whole life. He was the sweetest man I ever knew, and how I loved spending weekends with them. He would take me for walks, buy me a wonderful coloring book, that at the time used to cost $1, which I'm sure was pretty expensive for him. We'd sometimes walk to church. My favorite time was spent in their yard. They had wonderful fruit trees and beautiful flower and vegetable gardens. I was allowed to pick the fallen fruit which I'd carry in to my grandmother so she could bake her wonderful pies and cookies. He'd hold my hand and show me the flowers, and would pick one or two for me. Sundays, although a day of rest, he and I spent picking lint off the rug on our hands and knees. I thought that was great fun. Once we finished doing that, he'd turn on the tv and we would watch his favorite sport, wrestling.
I thank God for them and admire how they did what they had to do to make sure my Mom had a good life. It couldn't have been easy dealing with the countless surgeries, not to mention the cost.
My Mom was my hero. At the age of 53, she got her high school diploma, she was so proud, and we were so proud! Mom,,,,,unconditional love, compassion, strength, always standing up for the 'underdog'. I used to tease her that she'd take anyone or anything in if they were down and out, animal or human lol,,,,it didn't matter that our house was small, because the love in her heart could have healed the world.
I lost her at the age of 59, almost a year to the day after I lost my husband. I love you Mom.