A wee bit melancholy

MomMy mother would have been 71 today.  She was killed in a car accident when I was eleven.  I was talking with my (younger) sister this morning and we were reminiscing.  I am always amazed that her memories are so much better than mine!  She will say, “Do you remember when…?” and sometimes I can recall the event but quite often I draw a blank.

DDC 1971

My mother holding me, holding my sister.

I think that is a defensive mechanism.  Some things I remember quite clearly.  For example:  My dad walking into our hospital room, still wearing his hunting gear, with an empty holster (a float plane had been sent out to collect him and his hunting partner the morning following the accident).  He sat on the edge of my sister’s bed and sadly told us that our mother had not survived the crash.  I folded my arms across my chest, looked him square in the eye and said, “I am not going to cry.”  Everything that followed – that entire year, in fact – is a blur.  I think that is a good thing.

I do have some happy memories of my mother:  She made matching clothes for me, my sister and our dolls – I still have my doll and one Matchy Matchyof her outfits. Mom came into my first grade class and taught us how to knit. In second grade, she helped me make a quilt for my sister. I taught myself to read when I was four and she always encouraged my love of books. Once when I was playing hide-and-seek with my sister and friends, Mom let me sit under her quilting frame  – she kept right on quilting and never did let on that I was crouched at her feet! She let me use her Tri-Chem paints to make pictures. She taught me how to make gooseberry pie and sourdough starter & how to deep-fry doughnuts. Mom never scolded when my sister and I brought tiny crabs home from the beach – she would just tell us to turn right around and put them back where they belonged. She brought newly hatched baby chicks into my fifth grade class so everyone could hold one. She showed me how to stuff the bodies of her Japanese dolls. She taught me to not be afraid to go into the chicken coop in the early morning to collect eggs when the Alaskan winter sky was as black as pitch. Mom loved working in her garden – she’d stay out there for hours and come in with a slight sunburn and wake up the next day as brown as a berry!

She had a great sense of humor and loved to tease.  One of my best memories is of looking into her face and seeing her beautiful smile and the twinkle in her eye.

My father was alone for a long time.  He remarried when I was nineteen.  My stepmother is a wonderful woman, and they are perfect for each other.  I’m glad he found her.  Awkwardly enough, my stepmother’s birthday is the same day as the anniversary of my mother’s death.  She doesn’t care to celebrate her birthday, but it *is* nice to have something pleasant to associate with that day.   🙂

Oh – one other thing I do remember about my mother.  Her favorite hymn was “Joy Unspeakable.”   When her friends were planning her funeral, they asked me for my mother’s favorite hymns.  I remember being angry that they refused to include it, because I felt it was the perfect song for her.

Joy Unspeakable by Barney E. Warren:

I have found His grace is all complete,
He supplieth every need;
While I sit and learn at Jesus’ feet,
I am free, yes, free indeed.

It is joy unspeakable and full of glory,
Full of glory, full of glory;
It is joy unspeakable and full of glory,
Oh, the half has never yet been told.

I have found the pleasure I once craved,
It is joy and peace within;
What a wondrous blessing, I am saved
From the awful gulf of sin.

I have found that hope so bright and clear,
Living in the realm of grace;
Oh, the Savior’s presence is so near,
I can see His smiling face.

I have found the joy no tongue can tell,
How its waves of glory roll;
It is like a great o’erflowing well,
Springing up within my soul.


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13 Responses to A wee bit melancholy

  1. zan, O1C says:

    Your Mom sounds like an amazing person. It isn’t such a surprise, seeing that her daughter is amazing in her own right. 🙂
    Thanks for sharing your lovely memories with us, Itsy.
    Happy birthday, Itsy’s Mom! 🎂 Thanks for bringing this lovely lady into our company.


  2. Servetus says:

    It’s a beautiful hymn — and such a poignant story. Mother stories — they are so nourishing, even when they are sad. You’re right, maybe the blur is a good thing, but there are also so many wonderful details here. Gooseberry pie.

    And now we know where you get some of your many talents!


    • ItsJSforMe says:

      Writing this post made me realize that I remember more about my mother than I thought I did and that is a very good thing!! I haven’t had gooseberry pie since Mom died. I wonder if I would like it as much now as I did when I was a kid?

      I did get my love of crafting from my mother, but not her green thumb!! She could make anything grow. I wish I could! I love to have a house full of plants. My sister doesn’t do crafts at all, but she has turned her home into a small farm. She has a huge garden, plus turkeys, chickens, pigs, cats and dogs. *shudder* I had enough animals growing up. I do not want them now!! lol


      • Servetus says:

        To me, gooseberries are relatively sour, but they have a fascinating texture. The problem is always getting the gooseberries. Totally with you on the animals.

        For me, anyway, there’s something about the scarcity factor — one reason I loved certain things so much as a child as there wasn’t very much of them. Asparagus was over by the time I could have gotten bored of it. It’s a bit different now when I can have what I whenever i want it (more or less), but the things that are scarce — they still call to mind those feelings.


        • ItsJSforMe says:

          Mom had a gooseberry bush. It wasn’t very big. It didn’t always produce enough fruit for a pie, so it was always a special treat.
          One of the great things about living in Alaska: the summer days are long! Terrific for gardens. Mom used to dig up red potatoes that were the size of softballs. I wasn’t so keen on vegetables, but I loved fruit. Mom had raspberries in her garden, and salmonberries & blueberries grew wild on our property. Yum!!


  3. jazzbaby1 says:

    Love you tons, Itsy. Thank you for sharing this with us.


  4. Esther says:

    Thank you for sharing this! Such lovely memories of your mother, something to cherish forever. 🙂


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