The Mother of All...

My mom. My first love. In her dungarees (as she used to call them). She used words like "waistcoat" and sang opera in the cereal aisle at the grocery store.  I'd mope along behind her casting spells like Bewitched wrinkling my nose willing us to be invisible.

She embarrased me to no end because where I was extremely self conscious she was all out pedal to the metal pre Samuel R. Jackson four letter sailor mouthed exultation of spirit. She dunked her dentures in the water glass in defiance of my paternal grandmother during a holiday dinner. My dad just hung his head in shame while Grammy politely asked if she wouldn't leave them floating in the glass while everyone ate.

She gently coaxed me to be free spirited. Imagining the insanely impossible instead of the plodding normality of the unimaginative. One Saturday afternoon she and one of her piano students were reading a book on auras and how to see them. I was asked to stand in front of our white refrigerator while they paused, mused then chattered about the prism of colors they said had appeared. When they'd finished all I saw when I looked at the fridge door was the slight greasiness of the Vitapoint hairdressing used to smooth my plaited hair.

Always hungry for knowledge she had stacks of books and even though The Boston Globe was okay she ordered in the New York Times on Sundays and got me hooked on the September fashion section. She was an outsider in our small town because she not only had an education but she was a classical pianist who'd won a Fulbright scholarship to Paris. Who ever envisioned a young Black woman who did that? Even now at 80 she surprises me with her comments about how my use of the English language has declined and that maybe I need to read more. When I'd dyed my hair "brond" and wore it natural she asked what was my NEXT hairstyle? She is unlike any other woman I have known or wish to make comparison.


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