Monday, March 10, 2008

Happy Birthday, Mama

Today would be my sweet Mama's 93rd birthday if she was still here entertaining me with her incredible sense of humor and marvelous cooking!
Much as I miss her, I think I'm glad she's not here now to see the state of affairs in our world.

She was of another generation!
- she regreted the shift away from the beautiful people singing and dancing their way through the movies
- she chose to believe there was only good in the world, so the headlines today would hurt her deeply and make her very angry
- she was a bit of a renegade in her early years, wearing high heels and shorts and smoking cigarettes even though she trained at Mayo Clinic to become a nurse in 1936 - in fact it was her great legs and cigarettes that brought her to Daddy's attention the first time, at an air show in Ohio, when he had to chase her away from the fuel tanks!

Mama was born Anna Tomchuk. That name didn't please her, so she changed it to Anne Yvonne because it looked and sounded much more elegant!

She thought a bath tub was the only way to go - hated showers, and simply couldn't learn to swim, but she'd gamely try almost anything! Even though she picked Daddy up at the air show, she hated flying. She'd tranquilize herself to the eyeballs whenever we traveled, and when she learned her darling 10 year old was actually flying our twin-engine Beechcraft, she almost had a heart attack!

She loved to sneak off to the golf course with me, especially when Daddy wasn't around to criticize and correct our game! She was a sun worshipper, with the incredible skin to handle it, and changed her hair color to match her clothes! When we lived in Hawaii when I was a baby, she sported silver-gray hair to show off her tan, until one day when she took me by the hand in to see "Mr. Lewis" and said "I want to be her color"! At that point, my hair was so pale blonde from the sun that poor Mr. Lewis just shook his head.
My wonderful Mama suggested I not smoke, knowing already what a bad thing it was, and I never picked up a cigarette. She quit when she turned 50 because she "hated to see little old ladies smoking," but decided a couple days later that she wasn't a little old lady yet. She did finally quit 5 years later, but by then it was already too late. Smoking did eventually cause her death. Interesting though - quitting the smokes also made her quit drinking coffee ("just didn't taste good anymore") and she hated talking on the telephone ("I just couldn't talk on the phone without a cigarette in my hand!")

She taught me to love shoes, high heels in particular, and always had a closet full! She shared the joy of cooking and taught me how to make things taste good, which wasn't easy because Daddy was not easy to please! She shared the satisfaction of "playing in the dirt" and making things grow, finding beauty in nature and inner peace from nurturing the earth.
Mama showed me how to be a lady, and how to stand alone and to be strong.
I miss her.

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