Yesterday, I was pondering out loud about what to write, and Bear said, “Why don’t you write about mothers?”
I shrugged and said instead, I would tell a story.
Once upon a time there was a small girl, who lived in a small house at the end of a small street in a small city. She had plain, straight, cocoa brown hair and wore cat-eye glasses which always slid down her nose. Her homemade dresses were adorned with ric-rac ribbon across the hem, and her knees were always skinned from playing outdoors. In the 1960s, girls didn’t wear blue jeans. Only boys did. For that and so many other reasons, she wanted to be a boy.
She also desperately wanted a bicycle, but her parents were very young and had no money for anything but necessities like food and shelter. The bicycle would have to wait.
Her mother’s name was Rose (yes like the flower) The rest of her mommy’s name was as Irish as the green isle itself. Rose was a pretty mommy, who wore her “sparkling sherry” red hair teased into an “up do.” She smelled wonderful like all mothers do, but her young face was often worried, and the girl tried very hard not to be any trouble. However, one fall day, she came home from second grade with a note pinned to her dress so she wouldn’t forget. Rose read the note and looked at her daughter with sad, brown eyes.
“Honey, I’m afraid you can’t,” she said.
A tear rolled out from under the girl’s glasses and down her cheek. “I can’t join the Brownie scouts,” she said, “Why?”
Rose’s face clouded with embarrassment. “I can’t pick you up from the meetings. I don’t have my driver’s license.” Then, her cheeks grew even more red. “I don’t know how to drive.”
Rose married when she was sixteen and had her daughter the following year. There was never time to learn, and besides, for women, it was a different time.
At her mama’s discomfort, the child rallied, “Oh, I don’t want to join. Not really.” She skipped outside to play with a friend.
After that, the little girl forgot all about Brownies except when the other little girls wore their uniforms to school.
But, Rose didn’t forget. She began taking driving lessons from a friend, and one day, she took the test. When the little girl came home from school, her mama waved a piece of paper in front of her eyes.
The next week, the little girl wore a brown uniform of her own to school. I’m told her smile was like liquid sunshine.
I never forgot. Thank you, Mom.