Memories of Mom


Today is the 5th Mother’s Day our family has spent without my Mom. This seems too short of a time since she passed and I think I might have figured out why.

For a petite gal, who never grew taller than 5 feet, 1.7 inches. We let her get away with saying she was “five foot two” because it did not matter what her height was – she was larger than life. If you were unfortunate enough to warrant a ‘lecture’ delivered by my mother, than you know what I’m talking about. Mom was always the powerful force of the family, and she reigned like the stubborn hillbilly woman that she was.

Born in Whitman West Virginia – a coal miner’s daughter. She lived in what they called “comp-nee houses”, which were owned by the mining company and rented out to miner’s families. The only local store was – you guessed it – a “comp-nee store”.  When asked by everyone she met, “where on earth are you from?”, she would smile and tell them she was from West Virginia originally, but lived in California since 1955.

Some of her accent softened out over time, but she never quite “lost it”. Our ears were used to her voice so we would forget she had one. We would notice it when she was mad, or super happy.

One memory, imprinted on my brain, happened when I was a Kindergartner learning how to read.  When the “Phonics” way of teaching started up we were learning to visualize words as we sounded the letters out. Not only would I see the letters & words, but I would see the emphasis the speaker was putting onto the word. For example, Dad followed baseball and was often vocal about what he thought of the ref’s, coaches and  Ideeyouts on the field.

The day my mother totally lost it and screamed “shit!” over and over and louder and slower each time was scary. I can still visualize that word, exactly as mom used it, full throttle and accented:


♥  TTFN ♥

NoMo, NoMo

And just when I am totally into the story and my fingers are playing the keyboard like a piano…

I am interrupted. I try to be a good sport and listen to what my beloved is telling me, even though it could have waited for me to emerge from my office during a stretch break.

Since I’m interrupted anyway, I go to the kitchen and refill my glass, use the facilities, and do a few yoga stretches. I remember that I need to get laundry going so we can have clothes to wear when we join my beloved’s family for Thanksgiving.  So, I go unload the washer to the dryer, then load it again.

Now. I return to my story and read over the part I had just finished. Whoops! It has a typo. Maybe I should rephrase that sentence. Perhaps that part needs to be from Juan’s point of view?

The spell was broken.  There shall be NoMo words today.

Blank Notebook
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Strange Talk

Kansas Farmland

My parents both came from families that had many colorful interesting sayings & expressions. My father was born into a Kansas farm family. My mother was born into a West Virginia mountain coal-miner’s family. This makes my sister and I Hickabillies. For some reason we are proud of this.

The other day one of my father’s favorite words popped out of my mouth. I had not heard (or used) it in years. It’s funny how your subconscious mind stores things from childhood that you don’t even know you remember.

did·dly·squat (dĭdˈlē-skwŏtˌ) noun, Slang:  A small or worthless amount.

Origin of word:  Too insignificant to piss on. (I don’t know if that’s true, but it makes sense.)  Used in a sentence:  “I got diddly squat for my bonus this year”;

Dad drove us all crazy with this expression:  “We?? You got a turd in your pocket?” You might be saying “What???” to your screen.  I know, it’s a strange one. It took me months to get it, and  dad had to explain it to me (hey, I was a dumb kid!)

Grandma often hollered at us when we were being rambunctious; “Too much laughing always turns into crying!” Sis and I would just snicker and roll our eyes. And damn it all, she was right. Somehow during our giggling & carrying on somebody got pinched, poked or scraped and ended up crying. One day my sister’s precious Ooffy, her old stuffed dog’s head flew off.  Her scream reached decibels never heard before by human ears. Imagine a couple of screech owls, trapped in a metal barrel. That would have been music.

I remember it like it was last week. A mind-numbing horror to witness, especially for a five-year old. They only way to get her to calm down was promising her  Ooffy would have surgery to re-attach his head and he would be OK. Grandma took headless Ooffy into her bedroom and sewed him back together. Then bandaged him up. Whew! My sister still thinks it was my fault, 45 years later.

Not only was Grandma right, but her words of doom actually came out of my mouth last Saturday when my granddaughters were playing and giggling (quite loudly). They turned to me and said, “What???”  I simply rolled my eyes and said, “never mind”.

Not a minute later both of them were crying.


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