Mama’s Birthday Today.

The memories continue. In a lot of ways, Mama was a very special woman. She was startlingly intelligent, talented both musically and as an artist, and had the ability to make some very unique friends. Truthfully, there would be visitors from everywhere who came to see Mom just to have coffee and talk and learn. She started out young in the schools teaching small children and added private lessons in both piano and portrait art. I respected this for decades.

She was the reason I learned to read at the age of three. My love of libraries came from her. She was the one who went to bat for me when certain teachers tried to confine and regulate my growth when I would learn things beyond the school curriculum.

I spent a lot of time in the principal’s office all the way up through high school because I would open my smart mouth. She was my biggest cheerleader, but she did tell me my sarcasm was going to get me in trouble. She said most people wouldn’t get it. To this day, she was exactly right.

When I turned “Hippie” in the late 1960s, she just shook her head. I would climb out the window and down Daddy’s ham radio tower to go out and a) hang on the corner and smoke or b) just plain hook up with boys – and smoke. If I could get in trouble, I’d do it. Mom was not patient with this. I was eternally grounded.

The truth is that she was right. I was a typical teenager, but even with my rebellious streak, there were certain things I wouldn’t do including drugs, except the one time I smoked pot and ended up with anaphylaxis and an admonition from the ER doctor that my allergy to the stuff might could cause my demise. I never told Mom that this happened. I used it as the reason I never touched drugs in my life, though. I also quit smoking in general shortly after that.

Part of my rebellion included my escapade to try to get to Woodstock. Yes, we had a Volkswagen van. Yes, it broke down. I wasn’t supposed to go, anyway. I was just barely 16. Underage was the operative word. We got all the way from SW Iowa to eastern Illinois. I had to call Mom and Dad to pick me up. Mom grounded me for life. I wasn’t allowed to ever do anything with my fellow adventurers again. But that’s okay. Mom used logic to institute her punishments. It was well founded and unassailable to me, even at that young age.

One thing I heard her say to my sister and khan was that it would be best to use my various examples as reasons to not say it and not do it, whatever “it” was.

Again, Mama wasn’t wrong.

There were many times Mama called me her “carbon copy”. My grandmother always claimed this was true. Mama was also a rebellious teenager. Now that I think about it, I can see it.

There are many times, looking back, that I wish people had known Mama the way I did. It took me years to thoroughly appreciate her. If your parents are still living, appreciate them now while you can.