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Happy Mothers’ Day!

May 7, 2015

 

NOTE: To celebrate Mothers’ Day, I am sharing again with you the blog which I posted for Mothers’ Day of 2013.

 

 

A Mother for All Seasons (1914-2001)

by Alice Jane-Marie Massa

 

 

Prelude

 

What happens to Mother’s Day

when I can only visit Mother at the grave?

Since there is no category in Hallmark

labeled “Heavenly Mother,”

I call Sawyers Flowers;

and Chris will place the bouquet for you

because I am too many miles away.

Not a Hallmark, but a credit card

is the only interaction—

not much satisfaction,

just a sigh and sign of cherished memories.

 

Part I: Season of Liberation

 

On my piano rests a magenta vase

on which are gold letters that spell “Mother.”

In 1933, when few young women traveled alone,

you and Anna went to the Chicago World’s Fair;

and you bought the vase for your mother.

Now, I keep it as a reminder of you—unusual you

who also went to Niagara Falls with your friend—

liberated women before the word became popular.

 

Part II: Season of Baking

 

At the Italian bakery and grocery store where you grew up,

you—the youngest of six children—were given

the bookkeeping duties which became one of your loves—

as the season of taxes was your favorite season of all.

Unlike most women of your generation,

when you married—late—

you did not know how to cook nor bake;

so, Dad taught you how.

By the time I was your younger daughter,

I thought all mothers made perfect lemon meringue and chocolate pies,

tasty cherry and Betty Crocker-worthy pumpkin pies.

Eventually, I learned that only Mrs. Josephine Perona

and you (my mother) made these unawarded blue-ribbon pies.

You were famous for your pineapple square pastries, date bars, and polenta dolce—

always part of the holiday baking—

always part of the waking

of my scented memories.

 

Part III: Season of Post Office

 

Always busy with working at your post office,

helping at the store and restaurant,

participating in your clubs and organizations—

thank God—you did not have time nor the inclination

to be a hovering “Helicopter Mom”

so that one little, dark-eyed girl

who gradually and quietly became blind

could grow up to be an independent woman—

as liberated as you—

you who did not hover, but, instead,

kept writing and writing letters to eye specialists

across the United States.

You carried so silently the task

of rearing a special child:

all the while, you just kept writing.

Somewhere in a file folder,

I have all those reports and letters.

In the little drawer of my lighthouse music box,

I have your “Postmaster of the Year” pin;

and I remember so clearly

the time you hid me in the pile of mail bags

at your beloved Blanford Post Office.

 

Part IV: Season of Snow

 

On the back of my raspberry rocker

is a pink crocheted shell afghan

(one of many) you made for me

when you retired.

I can wrap myself in that afghan

and bring forth photos in my mind

of you (in royal blue)

dancing with my dad at Perona’s Hall,

of you (in a yellow linen suit)

smiling broadly at my graduation,

of you (in the mint green, long dress)

smiling radiantly at your older daughter’s wedding.

Then, shockingly, I am haunted by a video

that runs too often in my mind—

a film of you—

touched by the unkind hand of Alzheimer’s—

wandering in circles in the snow—

in your night gown, robe, and slippers—

aimlessly trying to find help

for my extraordinary Dad who had a cerebral hemorrhage.

Then, your different and sometimes difficult life

went on for three years in the other state of Colorado

where your older daughter graciously cared for you.

As you slipped away,

you forgot this and that,

here and there;

yet You forever remembered your patriotism

and the words and tunes of old songs.

The last time I saw you,

my big and boisterous yellow lab Heather

ever so gently lay her head

beside you on your final bed.

At your funeral,

your musically-gifted grandson Eric

played on his violin, once again,

so beautifully for you

the “Ashokan Farewell.”

 

 

(written May 4, 2013, Saturday evening)

 

Happy Mother’s Day!

Whether you spend this special day honoring and remembering your mother,

celebrating with your mother,

or enjoying your graces of motherhood,

we wish you a wonderful Sunday!

 

Many blessings to all mothers,

Alice and Zoe

 

May 7, 2013, Tuesday

re-posted on May 7, 2015, Thursday

 

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6 Comments
  1. Alice, so many memories a daughter has, and so many ways she has brought those memories to life. A wonderful tribute to the lady that you so adoringly refer to as “Mom”. Thanks for another touching post. dp

    • Deon–Happy Mothers’ Day to you and your mother, about whom you have written in such an extraordinary fashion! Take care! Alice

  2. Fran Rayce permalink

    Alice, I have tears in my eyes as I finish reading both of your wonderful tributes to a wonderful mom!
    You capture her personality and her gifts to you, (and to Mary as well), with your captured moments.

    • Good morning! Fran–Thank you for your lovely comment. I hope that you enjoy a wonderful Mother’s Day weekend! Take care–Alice

  3. This poem is bittersweet–sad, very touching and lovely. Glad you are feeling better, Alice!

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