Thursday, July 19, 2018

The Book: Dusting Up Another Memory

by BusinessLife (writer), The Carolinas, September 18, 2010

Credit: Childhood photo, Mother and I - 1969
Photo from 'Christmas Book for Gillean'

Weekends are normally a time for housecleaning. But this particular time, my son dusted up some memories I wasn't sure I could handle.

If you have young children, you may spend some portion of your Saturdays getting chores done as a family. As my 13-year-old son was dusting my bureau, he came across a hand-held mirror of mine that I received as a child. My son thought the design was really fascinating because it was so detailed. He read along the side that the design was 'hand decorated.' And in an instant, time seemed to shift back more than 30 years ago as I listened to my mother share the story once again about how I had received my own sterling silver pattern that included this hand-held mirror.

When I was little my mother told me of her grand life as a child. Her father adored her and built her a single lane bowling alley at their Michigan mansion. And when she was with her parents visiting their Palm Springs home, child star, Shirley Temple was her neighbor. She also told me that her mother and father took her to select her own silver pattern as a young girl. And that's why, my mother said, she and my father took me as a little toddler to select my own silver pattern to be engraved with my initials. I always loved the next part of the story. The way I remember my mother telling it, she and my father took me to the appropriate store and the two of them were talking to the shop owner when I walked up to my mother with something in my hands.

"Well, what do we have here, Gillean?" I had selected flowers. I found something with lots and lots of flowers. And thus my silver pattern was selected, even though in my mother's mind she was pretty sure I happened to like the flowers from the pattern. Mother mother would always smile at the end of the story.

To this day, I still like the pattern. I have a mirror, comb, napkin ring holder and other items. Now, seeing my eldest with the mirror in his hands, I asked to see it, noticing some markings, barely visible as the sterling silver so desperately needed to be polished. I knew my son was watching my face as tears began to fill my eyes. The tears were tears of unexpected compassion. All these years, I had looked in that mirror and never knew of the personal message engraved around it.

To Gillean with love and kisses from Mother
June 6, 1973

Had my mother truly loved me all this time but not been able to verbalize it? At the same time, a bit of reality set in as I looked at the date again. My father died in 1970. My mother and father would not have been together when this moment was said to have taken place. There was much my mother said to me as I was growing up that turned out to be far from the truth.

Was it her illness that caused my mother to make up something that she believed to be true but wasn't? Back then was it still so hard for my mother to think that my father was not beside her that she simply imagined that my father was with her everywhere she went? I'm not sure. As Mother died in the spring of 1983, the truth of that time will have to be left unanswered but engraved forever with love and kisses.

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BusinessLife is a writer for BrooWaha. For more information, visit the writer's website.
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1 comments on The Book: Dusting Up Another Memory

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By BusinessLife on September 19, 2010 at 12:48 pm

@Melody. Thank you so much for a warm and caring comment that you shared. My mother and I weren't very close for the majority of her life. She died when I was 16. But, yes little memory nuggets like this give the a thought that maybe there were truly feelings of love for her only child. :) Thanks again.

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