I’ve moved my mother to a nursing home. It is a gorgeous situation where she has an almost private room with her own shower. This is an unusual thing. Most of the nursing homes have semi-private rooms with a curtain between residents and a shower down the hall. She has spent the last three months in a tiny room with the shower down the hall, so we know. Now, her room has a wooden divider between her roommate and herself and a shower in the room. She is one fortunate woman.
I’m going through her things, which is no trouble because though she saved every little thing from 1939 on, this is only a quarter of what we went through trying to clear her house out.
But here is a sample of what I found in one box: Old rubber bands, old worn dog tags from every dog we ever owned, hat pins (a treasure!), human teeth with fillings, old lead bullets dug from our ditch in South Houston, broken paste jewelry, name tags from the Houston Fat Stock Show 1973, Amway reward pins (I used to sell Amway, too. Don’t get me started.), her diploma from Secretarial School, her rejection from the Civil Service during WWII, Canadian money, her saving account book dated 1942 in which she spent five months saving up pennies to $5.95, several lace mantillas that she wore to church, dozens of tiny old perfume bottles, and ancient salt and pepper shakers.
The most interesting find of all may be the letters from the German POW in France. He had found her address in an address book on her dead cousin’s body. MORE on this later.
I had never seen any of it before. After my father died suddenly, I squeezed a vast amount of her personal belongings from their large four bedroom ranch house into her one bedroom apartment. I did not spend a lot of time poking around. It was toss and go, her house was in foreclosure. It was a tough time for all of us. There wasn’t any time to peruse things. Also, it was horrid enough for my mother to lose her husband and her home at the same time, I needed to give her a bit of privacy with her personal things as much as possible. I would go through drawers, see her handwriting and toss the notebook or scrap of paper into a box while I was clearing her house. So most of her personal writing, poems, and photos were salvaged.
I never looked at them until now.
My mom was an aspiring writer. In those days there wasn’t much in the way of information about publishing but she sent her poems and short stories to Ladies Home Journal, Woman’s Day, and Saturday Evening Post from 1959 until the mid 1960’s. She was never published. I look at what she has and know that with a bit of editing and some serious cutting she has some golden kernels.
I’m sad for her. If someone had taken the time with her, she could have been a contender.
So…I’m going to be publishing her poems and short stories on my blog. In honor of her, my mom, the writer.
I will do it within the jacket of an idea, a casing if you will, of the vacation notes she made of our trip to Canada and back to Texas in 1970. I found that she not only journaled everything we did, she included the mileage and the amount of money spent for everything. This trip was amazing. We left (I know this from the extensive notes that she made) on June 29 and returned on August 25. Who does that? Two months of vacation? Wow.
Also, she says some things that might seem shocking and controversial in our new politically charged environment, but these are real things that she said. The date is 1970, a very politically charged time indeed. So bear with the things she says, take them for being said at that time, and realize that something shocking and related to my mother’s controversial statements took place the day we returned from our vacation. You’ll have to keep reading to discover what happened.
I know that for so many years she tried and tried to get her efforts published. Now they will be, albeit not in the format she was hoping for. But I think that if she had ever learned how to get on the internet, I know that she would be pleased. It would be especially exciting for her to know that you will read what she had written.
- Respect for the Old Man! (justmureithi.wordpress.com)