My mother was a teenager.
Not really a revelation, but still a particularly important detail to remember.
In a previous post, 93-40=Me I mentioned we are 40 years apart, my mother and I, actually 40 years and 4 days. When other kids were growing up they might have experienced parents, mothers who had interests in things that didn’t go back as far as mine, but I grew up with black and white movies, gangster films, westerns and war movies. All with a very patriotic lean built in. These things left me with a fascination for time periods, the 20’s, 30’s, and 40’s; outside of my reach until now.
Today time travel is relative. With the right film delivering a story based in another time, one can feel transported. When reading a book about another time and place, it’s as if you’re there. I went back, so to speak, through a photograph. I saw this image of an older woman who could have been a relative of mine, though I have no reason to believe she was. In the background there was a small child wearing a dress, anklets and pair of what looked liked patent-leather shoes, most likely black. For me they would have been Sunday shoes because I would have only worn them to church on Sunday. The little girl she was walking along a dirt road in the photo. Well you know how memory can be triggered by anything; this photo pushed a bunch of things to the surface.
I called my Mom just as soon as I could sort through the memories. I asked her “Did Dare (that’s my father) take me to the merry-go-round? Memory being tricky, I needed verification. “Real or not Real?” as Peeta would have asked. (see “The Hunger Games” for a more in depth understanding.) During that conversation Mom said, “life’s too short”. She didn’t say it to be cliché. She meant it as an instruction to live my life to the fullest, without regrets whenever possible.
But still that line got me thinking. If a 93 year old woman who has lived through segregation, wartime, the Great Depression, the deaths of 11 siblings, her parents, one daughter and her husband of 65 years, tells me life is too short it seems I should be listening, really listening, right?
Well I am. But before I can just say it plain, I have to get to the philosophy of it. My mother is in the evening of her life. Her morning started in November 1918 and extended through her teenage years, through her 20’s and beyond. I can’t say for sure when her afternoon rolled around, but I’m thinking it was some undefined time period called mid-life. The evening, well the evening is that time when the moon is more present and our lives are reflective of what has come before. Her evening is here and I look forward to it being a long and beautiful one. But the night, well the night…I think it’s obvious I don’t have much information on it as death is not known, and when we’re living it, really living it, we stretch the night into the morn.