Thursday, January 23, 2014

Me and Mama - peas in a pod

If you thought this was a mommy and me commercial you would be wrong -
Mama -pronounced (maw'maw) from the Midwest region, a name you call your grandmother.

My father's parents were Mama and Papa.  My Mama was born and raised on a small meager country farm.  She was taught to cook and sew and save everything. And she did.  She even saved her garbage in a  half gallon milk carton in the freezer, but just until garbage day. She didn't want it to stink up the garage. (smart right) But can you fit a week's worth of compostable garbage in a half gallon milk carton?? She wasted nothing.

We often gave our Mama a hard time for keeping so much stuff.  From used margarine containers and canned soup to Great Aunt Rosie's hats. She collected stamps and material for quilts and everything we ever gave her made by our own two hands.  And not in that hoarder kind of way.  Everything was labeled and organized and easily accessible.  She never threw out a baby food jar and 90% of them housed nuts, bolts, and screws.  A lesson I wish my husband would have learned for goodness sake.

When she passed away I was glad that my sister had stayed to help clean out the house.  I couldn't and to this day haven't gone near the house because the next owner remodeled it.  If you asked me where Mama kept something I can tell you.  The house is preserved in my head along with everything she had in it.

But when we needed something, she was gold.  Buttons! Holy Hat Trick Batman that woman had buttons.  Sewing room closet bottom left hand corner look for two small and one large Danish Cookie tins.

But if you asked me if I collected things I would say emphatically NO. But I do.  I realized yesterday while I was at the library (third time this week) that I collect words. More specifically other peoples words on paper. Cookbooks, How-to's, Poetry, Children's books, Novels, Self-Help, Magazines - It doesn't matter I love them all!!!

When I was a temporary worker after college and usually worked downtown I would get so excited to be close enough to take my lunch hour at the Main Library Branch.  Walking up to the doors my heart would beat a little faster and every single time I would hear a voice say, "Books are your passport to the world." I think it was a Schoolhouse Rock episode?

Sometimes I would go in on a mission like if my husband and I had a big fight it meant a beeline to the self-help section for a book on marriage.  Or a dinner rut meant straight to cookbooks for some new ideas.  My first nephew meant finding a toddler chair in the corner so I didn't look too crazy and read every board book they had on the shelf.  Other times I just walked in and got lost in an area or a stack that I had never seen before and that always produced something fascinating.  Like the day I read three chapters of a Physics text before I realized I hadn't understood a damn thing.

I don't think a day goes by that I don't think of Mama and how very much alike we are, and how very much I miss her.  And how very glad I am to have her love and life lessons to live on, like eating baby food just to get the jar.  I'm on it Mama!!

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