Friday, March 09, 2007
The Legacy
Scarcely distinguishing places from time, decoupage cut outs parade my life. To distance me from relatives mired in troubles, I moved away some miles. As if the space between us lessened my concern. I tried not to think of it much, and thought I was doing alright, until I turned the computer on last night.

A picture of my mother who's been dead a long time covered the screen. A relative had found and forwarded it. Growing up in my uncertain world, home was different places, with few keepsakes, so I had only a small picture of her.

High cheekbones, and classic nose and chin waited as silently as her thoughts, safe behind a face that neither smiled nor frowned. Quietly her elegance ruled. Gracious arms followed the slender hands she folded at her lap. She wore a simple ring.

I couldn't tell if she'd had babies yet, and wondered at a midriff that admitted no signs. I printed a copy of her picture, and searched the details again and again, then traced her fingers once more. They still looked young, and Her nails were filed, before life etched itself into her palms.

Her being gone so long felt strange, but stranger was the dress she wore. It was beige. A black bow decorated the front of it. Never had I seen her look so fine.

I put the picture where it wouldn't get crinkled or torn, but kept going back to it, her face, her expression, her eyes. I couldn't remember what color they were.

Family legends don't tell much. Did she like her mother? Did she like going to school? She had brothers and a sister, but their house was small. How she must have hated not having her own room. What was it like growing up without her father in a falling down house surrounded by clayey red dirt, deep in the woods.

Someone told me she and my father met where she worked. They borrowed money for a license, and eloped. Did she fall in love with his Irish blue eyes, or was it his teasing smile?

I never saw her at his people's house. Cold silence spoke of her there. How did she feel when pregnant? Her sister, and a doctor who came to the house, that's all she had. Her first baby was stillborn. How do you bear that.

I was born in the middle of summer in a hot Texas storm. I wish I could have put clean sheets on her bed, or washed her face. Nights like that she never flinched, and she had many of them.

What the depression didn't do, World War II set at her door. The disenchantment of them assaulted her soul, and broke her heart. Three of her children were put in orphanages, and adopted out. For years I see sawed up, then down, blaming my father, then her.

Reliving, remembering her history. a marker with name erased. There may not have been any way to know her then. Things I would have asked, perhaps she couldn't tell. I cannot judge her. But dreams go on. To hear the music she did not get to sing, I look into my mirror for the song.

  posted at 2:42 AM  

About Me
Name: Judith

Location: Colorado

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