2017 – A to Z… J: Conversations with Mama… The Best of!
I married and moved away from home when I was 19, so I didn’t grow up stopping by Mama’s for afternoon chats. Living almost a thousand miles from home, a nightly phone call is how I stayed in touch, as she’s gotten older, it’s how I check in on her. As I became involved in researching my family history, it was often how I heard the family stories. I recorded the usual dates and names, but all the tidbits of family stories…. well where was I going to put them. That was how Conversations with Mom evolved, and I eventually blogged those conversations. What better choice, than to glean an A to Z of my favorites here to celebrate Mama’s birthday month; she turns a spry 87 this April, but “mums” the word on me spilling her birthday number here!
During the month of April, I’m participating in the Blogging from A to Z Challenge for my 2nd year… both on this blog. I will post each day, except Sundays… using a daily alphabet letter in my theme of “Conversations with Mom… The Best of.” If you’d like to read more blogs, hop over to their Facebook page.
J… Conversations with Mama – The Best of!
J is for Jeanne, Jewelry, and Jokes
I asked mama about going to the movies, and … “I watched mostly cowboy movies when daddy took us to the movies… mainly because that’s what mostly came around. I do remember watching a movie called Leave Her to Heaven with Jeanne Crane – I thought she was so pretty and, that’s who you are named after. I never liked Clark Gable, don’t know why, but did see saw Gone with the Wind with mama and daddy. They took me because I kept begging to go… Leroy wouldn’t take me, he had to go see his girlfriend.”
I called tonight after dark and when she wasn’t answering the phone, I was almost ready to call the police – as she doesn’t like to drive at night. Finally, after trying for over an hour, she answered saying… “I knew it was you. I went out to Walmart to finish using up that card you sent at Christmas and I walked around and around looking at flower seeds and stuff for the yard. When I went to pay and saw it was dark, I was like “Oh no, Jeanne is sure to be calling.”
Mama called me tonight, and ironically we were about 10 minutes from her house; it was a surprise visit. After talking for a few minutes, I said to her, “could you turn the porch light on so I don’t trip over anything when I come in.” She was quiet for a minute, and then said, “don’t tease me, you’re not here.” I’ve never heard her sound mad, but she really sounded mad. I told her again, “I’m not teasing you, I’m really on your street and almost ready to turn in, look out the window and you’ll see the car lights.” “Jeanne you’re making me really mad now, stop teasing me.” So again, I said, “mama I’m not teasing you I’m really here, so I’m hanging up, come meet me at the door.” I could tell when she opened the door that I had caught her so off guard and surprised, that she really didn’t know what to say, but she was happy, but also fussed at us for coming.” And like usual, I had to move the three loads of laundry off the chairs and couch so we could sit down, LOL.
Mama bought this headboard a few years back… just so she could pin her jewelry on it!
I happened to mention Aunt Lena’s jewelry, and …. “Do you still have the child’s ring with the pink stone that was mine? Aunt Lena gave that to me but mama never let me wear it, she always put things up. I guess because she never had anything when she grew up, so she tried to save things given to us. I could never understand how she’d never let us play with things though. (yes, I still have the ring.)”
“I hope more jewelry comes in at the center like last week when all that costume jewelry came in. I need to find my pearls I wore the other day. I do have a real pair of pearls that your father gave me one Xmas.” I told mama about how St. Anthony helps to find lost things. She told me to say the prayer tonight to help her find them. The prayer is… “St. Anthony, look around, something is lost and must be found.” I never knew mama had pearls saved that daddy gave her. I hope that St. Anthony helps her to find them. I just recently came across an older photo of mama – and she had pearls on – maybe those are the ones.
In remembering her pearls she mentioned the other day, I asked tonight if she found them…. “I did find a pair, but I’m not sure if they are the ones I’m looking for. These had a little weight to them. I laid them somewhere to show you when you come – if I can find them again. Well, they can’t be too far, probably over there with all my other jewelry. We could take them to a jewelry store to see if they are real.”
“Everyone is always asking me where I get the jewelry I wear. They look at me funny when I tell them I make it. I bring home all the costume jewelry that comes into the Senior Center and take it apart at night to make new pieces. They want me to make pieces for them, but I always say you’re going to have to use your own imagination and make your own; you can make anything if you have some imagination – I guess they don’t have any! I see many people looking through the old costume jewelry now that comes in at FISH.”
“I’m going to yard sales soon when people start having them, so I can find some jewelry pieces to make me new choker necklaces; I take everything apart and redesign to my liking. Everyone loves my jewelry – even the girls at the therapy center ask me where I get my jewelry from and even my clothes – as you know I make everything to suit me. I don’t wear anything like anyone else. I have to be different, always have, and always will.”
Jokes: “I never used to forget things like I do today. Clayton always said that I had the memory of an elephant and never forgot a damn thing – and I didn’t! I can still remember from years ago, but not where I put something today or yesterday – and it makes me so mad! I’ve never forgotten the log cabin I was born in or playing up in the attic there. When I was a beautician in Perry, I could tell joke after joke – and never forgot the punch-line, but now, I’m lucky if I can remember that you told me a joke yesterday. I still remember a couple of jokes from those days, and the one that I don’t think I’ll ever forget was the one told to me by an elderly woman as I was washing her hair. She looked up at me and said, “did you ever see a one-eyed sex maniac.” When I said no, she covered one eye and said, “you have now.” I just fell over on the counter laughing and I hope I never forget that one.”
“I always have had a sense of humor. Willie Mae, my girlfriend, and I laughed all the time – at everything. She still enjoys reading through joke books today and can sit and read and laugh. I used to laugh telling jokes and remembered every one told to me when I was a beautician. I told jokes all the time to my customers. Now I can’t remember where I lay anything, much less a joke.”
While at mama’s, my daughter called to I-chat with mama via my I-Phone. The conversation with McKinley (granddaughter) turned to her “famous” knock knock joke she’s obsessed with and works hard to remember. So it went like this, McKinley – “Knock Knock”, mama “Knock Knock Who”. McKinley – “Orange you”, mama “Orange you glad to see me.” LOL… the whole joke backfired as mama gave the punch line. You had to witness it, to appreciate what happened. It was funny to listen to the two of them and then hear my daughter in the background saying, “Angel you screwed it up.” Hmm, a new word there for the little one to pick up on. Before Melissa hung up, McKinley yelled, “where’s Pop”, she never forgets to talk to Pop – He’s No. 1″
Mama asked me about Rose (my daughter in law) today and said. “I don’t think Rose is ever going to have that baby. That reminds me of a joke I heard years ago. There was a woman who wanted to have a “polite” baby and the doctor told her to go home and rock while saying the words polite – over and over again. Well, the woman went home and did just like the doctor said, but nothing ever happened. Later on, she had to have surgery and the doctors found two little old men inside saying, “you go first, then the other one said, no you go first.”
My mother grew up on a small farm in Georgia and has more memories of her childhood than I can only dream to remember. If you’d like to follow along from day 1, click on 2017: A to Z… Conversations with Mama – The Best of!
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