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Memories of my Mother

December 2, 2019

My mother died in November.  She was 98 years old.  My memories of her were contaminated because of my visits to her in the hospital and in the nursing home.  I prefer to remember her earlier, when she was healthy.

My mother was always at home when I was growing up.  She looked after the children.  She took care of the house too.  My father was away most of the time.  When he was home, the two of them would often go out with their friends, leaving me and my brothers with my aunt or a baby sitter.

Most of my memories of my mother are associated with food.  This is probably normal for family life at that time.  When I came home from school at noon, mother had lunch ready.  I still remember cheese dreams, made with bread, cheese, tomato, and bacon, cooking under the broiler.

She use to do Christmas baking.  I recall mince tarts, stollen, shortbread stars, and cookies with a pink meringue topping.  She also made healthy food.  I recall sunflower seeds in the salad.  When she and my father moved from a house to a senior’s home, where all of the meals were prepared in a common kitchen and served in a large dining room, my mother said that she liked cooking, and missed cooking meals for the family.

I remember sitting at the dinner table with my mother, my father, my brothers, and my aunt and my grandfather.  I looked forward to dessert.  Often she gave us pie or cake or ice cream.  Once she gave us butter tarts.  Normally they’d be wonderful, but that time mine had broken glass in it.  It crunched when I bit into it.  She had broken the light bulb in the refrigerator, and one of the glass fragments had fallen into one of the butter tarts, the one that I got.  I stopped eating butter tarts when that happened.  Even now, I bite into them very carefully, just in case I detect broken glass.

She used to have a milk man, a bread man, and an egg man, all delivering food to the house.  She must have fed me too many eggs, as I soon learned to dislike them, especially if I could see the runny yolks.  I do eat eggs now, but only when they are scrambled.

When I was small, she would serve everyone a little pile of cooked onions, along with meat and potatoes.  I wouldn’t eat the onions, even when my parents tried to force me to eat them.  It’s a curious thing that I like cooked onions now, and eat them whenever I have the opportunity.  I suppose I was just too young for them when I was small.

I remember one occasion when my mother and father went out, leaving me to prepare dinner for myself.  I must have been a visitor at that time.  Mother told me that I could find lots of food in the freezer.  I found a chicken pot pie that looked good to me.  I followed the package directions, cooking it in the oven.  When I put my fork through the top crust, I discovered that it wasn’t chicken like I’d expected:  It was leftovers.  I was hungry.  I ate it anyway.  When mother returned home, I told her about the deception.  She laughed and told me that leftovers were good.  I got no sympathy there!

 

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