Today is the 20th anniversary of the death of my mom. And…before you start the boo-hooing….thanks, but, I’m good. My mother was a complicated person. Had she been born about 20 years later, so many things would have been different. She would definitely have benefitted from Prozac and Oprah. And, wine…..she totally missed out on wine……well. Not really….she was quite fond of Sutter Home White Zinfandel. It’s okay to laugh. Because even I remember that Sutter Home White Zin (because that is what the hip and cool kids called it) was what all the cool kids drank. And by, “cool kids”, I mean the parents of that generation. I don’t know anyone today who calls that “wine.”
Mom married young…..mostly, her childhood had been hell so she got pregnant early, got married, and moved away from that. She really didn’t get to be a kid and she had to grow up fast. She had 3 children before she was 20. And was a Grandma when she was 34. (Ouch…..I had my first kid in my mid 30’s. She was a young “Great Grandma” too.) Her husband, my Dad….worked military contracts, so we moved. A lot. This was hard on her too. She wanted to settle. She wanted to have a home. And stay there.
She was way under 10 when she started travelling all over the Bible belt with her parents….along with some weirdos, hucksters, animals, and tents. My mom was a carny. Well, to be honest….her parents were. While I am thrilled to have this piece of Americana in our family history….mom was ashamed of it. (I mean, hey….if we didn’t come over on the Mayflower…..we’ve got this) Which is why I never heard about it until after my mother and both grandparents passed. Okay, that isn’t the only reason.
Not too long after my mom passed, I was helping my dad go through all of Mom’s things. It was late, I was getting ready to head home. Dad and I started to discuss the fact that Mom kept a lot of her past to herself. Or, away from her kids. I think it hindered any relationship any of us would have had with her. And Dad quietly said, “you know why she didn’t talk about it, don’t you?” Um…no….even though I am in my 30’s you still treat me like a kid….so, no I have no idea. Dad said,……”Your Grandpa ran the strip show.” “WHAT?” WTF? – but, we didn’t say that 20 years ago. And while I was still trying to wrap my sheltered, naive ears around what he just said, he drops another bomb.
“And, you know who was in the show?” Okay…..every single one of you knows the answer to that. But, sheltered and Naive says……”Who? Mom?” because that would be preposterous. (My poor dad…must suck to realize how stupid your kids are.) When he told me it was Grandma, I don’t think I stopped laughing until I had to actually breathe. This is the BEST thing ever! And my sisters are 3 hours later than the midnight it is now….I have to wait until tomorrow to tell this story! Maybe I should have been embarrassed too….but, no. All I could think was….how much did she take off? This was the 40s…Bible belt. What did she leave on? Did she have those nipple tassels? Could she make them rotate the opposite way?
2 things occur to me…….1. Why am I surprised I write erotica when those are the questions in my head? And 2…..I should have known…those were my mom’s parents…who had never married. A story for another blog.
I miss and love you, Mom….I wish we could share a bottle or 2 of wine…discuss my new life….and tassells. What great blogs she and I could write together.