Mother's Day 2018


Hello 1,949 TAC Members!

Happy Mother’s Day 2018

“Memory is the scribe of the soul.” (Aristotle)

I hope all who read this blast will do two things:  share their memories with family members and enjoy a family visit with all their mothers. 

When I think of my mother and grandmothers, I recognize that I know so little about them. In attempting to complete a medical record form for a new doctor, requiring details about the age and cause of death of my grandparents, parents, and other family members, I had to face the fact that I know little about such things.  With more thought I realized that I also didn’t know much about their youth.  So do share!

I, however, know a few things that I do value.  I know they loved me.  I believe each looked for love in life.  I believe they met life as well as they could.  

The last few days I have been thinking of this “Mother’s Day” message to you TAC members.  And that’s about all I’ve gotten done about it.  Just thinking.  What to say; or what to say that I have not said many times over the past seven years that I have been writing to you?  (Obviously I've made some progress as I am emailing you this message.)


Be Still and Listen

Grandmother Williams was an old lady when I was a child, or so I thought when I was a child.  I know she was a twin and that both of them, age 15, married into the family, one to my grandfather and one to an uncle I may have seen once.  So by the time I was old enough to walk across the street to visit (from Landus Apartments, on north side of the school, where we lived for a few years), I have no memory of her outside.  I do remember my Grandfather Williams and have good memories of our sharing, but for most of my youth, the house was the home of my grandmother. 

I can see her on the front porch and when I do, I hear the children at recess on Central School’s west side playgrounds which were across the street.  Yet to this day, the sound of lots of kids playing takes me back to that porch and my mind forms images of my grandparents, often with others, sitting on that porch – mostly me alone with my grandmother.  “Alone together” – I wish I could make that phrase as poignant to you as it is to me.  Being with Grandmother Williams was like being a sponge – being silent, collecting the sounds that connect to impressions.  If I try to give credit to these three women whom I am writing about today, I credit to my Grandmother Williams that ability of being still and listening.  (My Grandfather Williams use to say, “Be still and know.”) 

If we moved inside, sometimes we’d go to her kitchen.  Stepping into that room shrank me.  Her kitchen seemed very tall to my childhood body.  And it seemed empty, having a breakfast set on one side with, on the opposite wall, gas stove, very high stool, and sink.  That’s it!  The rest of what we today expect in a kitchen, like a refrigerator, were in a joining, ex-porch, room.  If we moved into the kitchen, we’re going to make cloverleaf dinner rolls and eat them as a mid-afternoon snack. I would climb up the stool and watch while Grandmother Williams got her rolls out of the oven.  She must have started them before I arrived as I don't remember waiting on the yeast to rise.  I loved smelling the yeast.  I loved watching her butter the rolls, seeing her spoon out that thick butter from her butter bowl and then watching it melt on the rolls.

How old is this memory? -- I just asked myself.  Over 60-plus years! -- Close to 70 years old!  And I can still see us in that old kitchen, mindless on all else but the buttered rolls.  No fancy tv cook show can compete with my memory  --  or can smell as good as what’s in my memory made by that simple lady in that simple kitchen.

In her sitting room, we’d be sitting across from each other, her in her tall, wicker lounge chair and me on her foot stand, looking out a large window watching Cardinals.  Year after year, Cardinal family with one after the other of new chicks. We’d see the activities of the cycle of life: the parents alone, then with eggs, then with tiny newborn, then with – growing birds who in time fly away to their new life.  If I think about it, I can ‘see’ it as if in slow motion but with one year, like the snow that would rest on the evergreen, melting into the next and with my body changing unnoticed.  Then I’m a college student who rarely is home, but I am called home to visit her one last time, this time in the Richland County hospital, and then for her funeral. 

I would like to have the imagination to visualize her as a young wife to my grandfather.  I believe she loved growing flowers.  I think I would kneel besides her in the garden behind the house and push my fingers into the black earth, placing a tulip bulb between them.  I would look over to her and smile.  Maybe she would laugh.  I would love to hear her laugh; something I don’t remember ever hearing.



Laugh!  Have Fun!

Grandmother Keiger, on the other hand, loved to laugh!  From her, I credit with giving me a sense that aging doesn’t have to take away your joy of living.  Grandmother K was fun.   On her farm, in her kitchen or in her chicken yards, or in her garden, she was fun.  I have written about my summer times with her and so, here, I’ll just post a link and hope you’ll read about my summer days with my fun grandmother.  Click “I Remember Grandma.”     I loved my Grandmother Keiger in a very special, special way.  I keep her in my heart. 



Be Useful!  Serving others isn't an interruption, it's Life!

Mother gave me herself.  I mean she gave me patience, to always be open to my “future self” -- the person I yet didn’t know but who was the future me.  "Never," as my Grandfather Williams use to say, “Never say ‘Never.’”  You must promise to be open to whatever you are going to be.  Accept all offers of connectivity; try to be open to all who join you at points in time.  Always be kind. Someday, like now, you will look back and realize that such and such person gave you this or that or helped you see another point-of-view and while it may seem like an accident, who cares!  You lost nothing and gained a new facet in your character.  Before I understood, "networking" or "Community" my mother was conditioning me to be open to others.

I was an adult before I understood that  poor people, historically, joined their service or simple goods with that of neighbors as experience had taught them such created strength to servive.  On a similar note, my father use to say, "Poor people have poor ways."  I didn't know we were poor until I was in high school.  Never thought about why my mother was always working and the reason she and my Grandfather Williams got me started with a bank saving account when I was very little and wanting me to learn the value of having some extra money.  Maybe, next to having a network, having money was important.

Mother was always positive with me.  She didn't spank me once.  I have no memory of her using negative language to me.  I could make big mistakes, and often did, and she'd correct me by having us see conditions differently.  She taught me to see such as learning opportunities -- challenges to think about and to adjust to.  As she use to say, “If you’re in a situation of trouble, try to see what challenges are hiding nearby if you change your point-of-view.”  If it were a person, she’d say, “Always help a person in need if such behavior is not against your honor code or something illegal.”  At the end of a day, or the end of the period, you have lost nothing important and just may have found a rainbow of colorful opportunities.   And don’t keep count.  Be helpful and then forget it.

I’ve written about my mother at length in her obituary.   Click here to read my thoughts about her.   


Happy Mother's Day my Schoolmates!


Visit your Mothers!  Share stories!