the daily doyle

August 18, 2011, 11:22 pm
Filed under: Family stuff

Today (August 18th) would have been my mom’s birthday. She would have been 81.

She lived a good life but maybe not for herself. She made a good life for others – that’s for sure. But her own life, at least the last half of it, was not lived as well as it could have been. She deserved better. But that is a story for other days. Today is Reminiscing-about-the-Good-Times-with-Mom Day.

My two sisters and I usually called her “Mom” when we spoke of her. I always always called her Mom directly. My sisters sometimes called her Mother, which I always found endearing.

She raised the three of us, with no man around to help. We have three different fathers. Undoubtedly, that’s an exciting story but truthfully, I don’t know the details of it. She kept most of it to herself and even if I knew the story I probably wouldn’t write it. I know a fair amount of what happened with my dad from what he told me. But it’s a story Mom didn’t care to share so I’m not telling it either.

So why three kids, all that work, and no man? I always thought she just loved us (myself and my sisters) and wanted to have us and just didn’t want a man around interfering. Maybe there is some truth to that. Possibly she intended it to happen exactly as it happened. In any case, she never complained.

We were poor, I suppose, but I never noticed. We always seemed to have what we needed. We never went hungry but we ate simple food and rarely ate out. We had good clothes, though she made some of them. I had toys, bikes, color TV. Everything we had along those lines, including an electric guitar and amp I remember from my early years, came from the Western Auto store. She bought everything on credit. When she needed something, she called up Clay, who owned the store, and he delivered it.

We didn’t have a car but she didn’t drive. It would have been pointless to have one. We got around by walking (we lived in a small town), taxi (Oscal Goble, one of the TWO taxi drivers we had in our aforementioned small town) and rides from friends and relatives.

My fondest memories from childhood are when she played with me. Since I didn’t have a dad around she had to “man up” and play some frisbee, toss a baseball back and forth and a few other outdoor activities. She even tried fishing once but she really didn’t have the patience for it and I quickly worked out doing it on my own.

We also played Monopoly, checkers, chess, Yahtzee and some card games. The best part is, she cheated. If I looked away, or left and came back, she somehow always ended up with a strategic advantage. We’d laugh endlessly about her cheating. She just did what she could to make the games a little more fun.

She worked ALL the time, early morning and late at night. Mainly, she was a seamstress. Our house was a constant stream of the townspeople showing up unannounced with dresses, suits, curtains to repair. Sometimes a big fat man would show up with a pair of pants he’d ripped out. That was funny. She made dresses and weird green, pink and psychadelic pantsuits out of polyester for the stylish women of our town. Hey, it was the 70s. She kept the leftover pieces of the clothes she made and sewed them into patchwork quilts. I still have one, my favorite material possession. It’s the best beach blanket ever.

She also made costumes and uniforms, being the only full-time seamstress in town. In the 70s, rock bands had to have matching costumes – think the Osmonds and Jackson Five. She made them, from scratch. She even made school band and cheerleader uniforms. Once when I was a young teenager, in 7th or 8th grade, my bedroom was full of cheerleaders in various stages of undressed, trying on their uniforms. It was awesome. Well, I imagine it was awesome. I got kicked outside and I was shivering in the snow.

As I said, she worked a lot. As I also said, she never complained. I remember clearly that, in my childhood, she sang softly when when she worked. Gospel songs mostly, along with some Jim Nabors and Stevie Wonder. After 1976, she didn’t sing anymore but that’s a story for another day.

Today, I remember Mom, I miss her and I know two things. Wherever she is now, and whatever she’s doing, the place and the people are better off because she is there, and she isn’t complaining.

Love you Mom.


6 Comments so far
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This story made me smile and cry at the same time

Comment by Jenia Poluektova (@JeniaPo)

Your mother must have been a very loving person.

I’m glad to get some ideas of what she is like. I say “is” because, like you said, wherever she is people around her is bound to be better.

Thanks for this delightful true story.

Mary Collins

Comment by Mary Collins

That’s awesome.

Comment by Kat

Beautiful, touching, sincere. I really could see her singing and working for you three without complaining. It’s impressive the memories you have, And the most impportant ones come from your heart, the observations you could realize on the process of you infancy and adolescence. I really enjoyed. Go on, never, ever stop. It will be a plesure to follow you. – Gisele

Comment by Gisele Guimaraes

Thank you Gisele. It meant a lot to me to be able to write this and to share a little bit of my mom’s life with the world. The story doesn’t do her justice; only those who knew her would really understand. But I’m glad you liked it. Very glad you are reading my blog. 🙂

Comment by doylemills

Aww this was so sweet :). I’m sure your moms on an adventure wherever she is having a good time :). Well Id atleast hope so.

Comment by kaley aka kaykay

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