Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Photographs and Memories

Mother's Day has passed and I've spent the last few days reading blogs and articles about mothers. It has put me in an introspective mood about my own mother.

Mother's Day is one of the few occasions I think about my mother. The other times are when something significant happens in my life - like the birth of my sons, the death of my father – or when someone comments on how much I look like her. This latter happens less often now as I get further past the age when she died. My grey hair and increasing wrinkles are gradually obscuring what was once clear and unmistakeable.

She died when I was about twenty months old. I say "about twenty months" because I've never received a straight answer from my relatives about the exact date. Her gravestone only states the year of her death. From overheard stories, I've gleaned she became ill around Christmas and died shortly after in the following year. Thus, my guess.

I have no memories of her. What I know about her is only what others have told me. She was lovely, nice, kind, liked dancing and music -- platitudes for a daughter. Maybe she was all of those things, but I'd like more.

The closest I've gotten to more than platitudes was an aunt who said that when my father and mother danced, it seemed like there was no one else around. I like to hold onto that picture. I envision Ginger Rogers and Fred Astaire. Maybe that's where my love of old musicals and dancing comes from. Surely, I can dream.

My greatest regret about not knowing more about her is that I can't pass on more than a few photos of her to my sons. I regret that she never got to meet her grandsons. I think she'd like them.

I once tried to have a conversation with my father about her. I took him out for lunch at a quiet restaurant and thought we'd have a chance to speak more intimately. He would have none of it. He artfully dodged anything personal and insisted on talking about his mining investments. Maybe too many years had passed. After all, in the interim, he'd remarried and raised a new family.

I've come to accept this lack of knowing. I suppose it allows for some poetic license on my part.

Here she is on her wedding day.

Her name was Luna. She looks happy.


kenju said...

Ell, she looks very happy and I am sorry you don't know more about her.

Thanks for the visit and for linking to me; I appreciate it! I'll be back to poke around here.

joared said...

Wish you were able to know your mother better through others eyes. Reminds me of newly published book, "Full Fathom Five" by blogger, Mary Lee Coe Fowler (blog same name as book.) Her father was lost at sea during WWII, family wouldn't speak of him and only later in life did she begin to try to get to know him through others who did.

tamarika said...

I appreciated your comment on my blog. Thanks so much. Belatedly, Happy Mother's Day. Thanks for sharing your story.

Joy said...

I wonder if this is typical of the generation of our parents. I've had trouble getting some information, too. I wish you could find out more before there is no one who can tell you. I know it would mean a lot.

She looks lovely and happy in that picture.

How old were you when your father remarried? Was it OK with your stepmother?

Jay said...

Have you tried talking with uncles, aunts and cousins? Since doing some genealogy within my own family, I've been amazed at the personal stories which have been offered, sometimes by unexpected people!

I'm sorry you never knew your mother. That must be hard.