2017 – A to Z… Q: 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, then to gleam 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.
Q…. Conversations with Mama – The Best of!
Q is for Quilting, Quarters, and Queen For A Day…
I asked Mama tonight if she’d ever seen a show called Hoarders on TV and … “My mother was a hoarder about quilting material. She made one quilt after another and constantly pieced scraps for the next quilt. She never stopped using a quilt either just because edges became frayed – she’d continue using the old ones even though she had a stack of brand new quilts… just sitting there. She also gave away a lot of quilts to the family. I guess I’m a hoarder with my clothes, shoes and jewelry. I found four long skirts today that I can wear with my boots. Everyone loved them – they are almost to my ankles. Went to FISH after the center today but can’t remember what I bought. I try to buy something everyday – about a dollar’s worth – have to support FISH!”
Grandmama’s Flower Garden and Wedding Ring Quilts
“Most days mama was busy ironing and chopping in the vegetable garden. She’d wake up in the morning to chores, chores and more chores… wash day was all-day, but she still had to cook lunch and later dinner. The only thing that was entertainment for mama was reading.. Cousin Ulma (McKinley) often gave her True Romance books, she’d read and then I’d read too. If she wasn’t reading, she was quilting or sewing.”
In talking about Celia’s house tonight, (Dec. 20, 2015), mama asked if we’d found any money – yea, LOL…. and we laugh every time we find a nickel or a quarter. Everyone always thought we’d find money, but there was none to be found, and Steve looked everywhere. He had a dream once of finding money behind the wall in the bathroom, and he went over there the next day and went through the closet to get to the panel to look… to satisfy himself that the dream hadn’t been a clue. He even went through every sawdust bucket in the cellar, thinking that maybe his dad might have buried something. He did find a burned pan his father buried in a junk pile down there…. his mother had looked for it for years, always asking who took her pan…. dad kept mum! Mama said… “After my father died, I cleaned out his clothes and almost burnt up the jacket with over three-hundred dollars in the pocket. I had a last-minute decision to go through the pockets of a jacket I found hanging out on the back porch, and boy was I surprised when I found that money.”
When I called tonight about 6:30 p.m…. “I was sleeping and having a good dream.. I was happy in my dream, but I don’t remember why. I’m just bored, but there’s nothing I know that I want to do. I need to clean this house, but I’m not interested in doing that. We went to Holcomb’s yesterday for BBQ and Stew and I brought home about four or five quarts of stew; that will last me for awhile. It’s clouding up out there now, but it’s not going to rain… it never rains here.”
Mama has TV channels we don’t have like “Decades”… “Buzzr” …. and “Me TV”… and as I watched “What’s my Line” – the contestant was catching quarters lined up on his elbow, and mama said “I used to put quarters on my elbow and flip them up – and caught them. Don’t know if I could still do it now – now I’m just lazy!” Melissa called and we video-chatted with her and the girls – they were being shy, but McKinley yelled, “I want to say hello to Pop.” She is Pop’s girl for sure!
The first thing I asked when I called tonight was, “did you fix your socks last night?” Mama said, “I threw those socks in the trash, they were aggravating me, I’m not like you, I’ll just throw them out and call it a day.” LOL… (she knows that I will drive myself to drink to fix something – I don’t give up easily.) She asked me what time it was while she was on the phone, and after I told her, she said… “well one clock is an hour ahead and the other one says a quarter till 12, so I don’t know what happened.” I told her that we turned our clocks back a few weeks ago, so that’s what happened to your clocks! She laughed, “Oh, they’ll catch up to the right time soon.”
“When we ran Moss Oaks Lounge in Perry, I could tear up those slot machines we had there. I’d sit on the bar stool and watch the men play, and I almost always knew when they would hit. They’d walk away, and I’d go over and put my quarter in, and often, out came loads of quarters. If I could feel the handle click, I knew that I would make a hit. Sometimes I’d put my ear next to it and hear that click; I milked them dry many nights. I guess those were some of the best times I had, when we ran that club. Most nights I’d bring home most of the change and leave it on the top of your bed. You’d wake up to find a headboard full of change and know that Mama hit on the slots.”
“While I was at the Senior Center this morning, I went in the clothes closet and tried on a vest, then the lunch bell rang and we were called to lunch. I went into the lunch room and while sitting at the table I realized I still had the vest on but hadn’t paid for it. I didn’t want to say anything then, so I just kept it on and decided I’d tell them tomorrow that I stole it and here’s my quarter.”
Queen For A Day:
“I remember how you liked to come home from school and watch the show, “Queen For A Day”. You used to ask me, wouldn’t you like to go on that show and wear that cape? My answer was always No. I don’t think my mother watched it, her favorite show was Art Linkletter’s show… Kid’s Say the Darndest Things. She’d tell me when I came home that he had come to visit her that afternoon in his little car he drove; this was when her mind was going.”
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!
© 2017, copyright Jeanne Bryan Insalaco; all rights reserved