My mother is no longer with us but will live in my heart forever. She passed away September 9, 2008 at the age of 87. She had suffered from dementia with lewy bodies. Her happiness was her home, being surrounded by her "pretties" and her privacy. This disease took that away from her.
My mother's greatest gift was her unconditional love for my brother, sister and I. She raised us kids on her own, working in a factory until she retired. Growing up as young children in the early '50s, it's amazing what she accomplished through hard work and perseverance. Although she had to work outside the home, the rest of her time was devoted to us kids. She loved us and talked to us about everything. She would buy records (45s) and play them on our record player. We'd sing and dance in the living room. She would read to us from the Bible, especially stories about how Jesus loved little children. She was also very creative, making up her own stories and telling us - I loved listening to her stories when I was little. We could play with our toys in the living room - I don't think she ever told us not to mess anything up. We were poor, but we didn't know it because of her unconditional love for us. Did she ever get mad at us? Well, the only time she would get mad was if my brother and I would fight. She did not like fighting at all. Oh, and maybe the time I cut my sister's hair that had never been cut before....we'll just leave that for another story.
My mother enjoyed collecting things and going to auctions and never, never threw anything away. She had always saved newspapers even when we were little kids. She'd like to cut out recipes and fashion advertisements - well, just about anything that caught her attention. When grocery stores started selling dinnerware in the '50s and '60s, she started buying dinnerware - she liked every pattern! When she retired, that's when she started going to auctions and really started collecting. In her eyes, anything old, especially glass, was beautiful and special. I don't think any auctioneer had to put back a box due to no bidders if she was in the audience. Most items are still in the boxes that she brought home from the auctions, still carefully wrapped in the same newspapers. She also loved to read and belonged to about every book club there was. And, I would almost bet that her Avon rep received sales awards having my mother as her customer. She saved all of our clothes, our toys and school papers as we were growing up.
It is taking us quite a while going through all her things and to be honest, I don't know when we will be done. She had always said we would have fun going through her things. Wasn't convinced at the time, but she was right. My brother, sister and I have found a new closeness that we had not shared in a long time. Not only are we finding our childhood memories, but we are also finding things including her written personal thoughts that bring awareness about how unique and wonderful our mother was.
At times there are tears, but then there is laughter, so, yes Mother, we are having fun going through your treasures. You see, these "things" are our memories, too.
On this Mother's Day, I want to thank you, Rebecca Joan Smith Beheler, for being my mother and all the beautiful memories that you have left me. I love you!