This is my mother around the time she was first married. She was just a teen still and in some ways I have a hard time wrapping my head around the fact that she was so young. She married my father at fifteen, had her first baby shortly after turning sixteen thus beginning a large family of seven children. The first five of us were born in a seven year period so as you can imagine she was a young and very overwhelmed mother.
She was raised in a pretty rough household. My grandfather was an alcoholic and a mean drunk. I only know the small stories she told me of how bad the situation was with her father and his alcoholism but I know enough to know that it was a bad situation indeed.
Because of her upbringing my mom had a hard time with humor, teasing and such. But my father was a joker and a teaser and so she often became the object of his mirth and later ours. During the many episodes my mother endured she never found them to be funny.
But we did.
This will not be in chronological order. This first memory I write of just happened to pop in my mind because of an old car I saw this morning with hay hanging out of the trunk. So on to reaching back in those dusty rooms full of memories.
A few years after we moved from my home town of Baker City my mom decided to pay us a visit, one of very few. She really prefers not to drive in a large area. My mother needs a wide berth in the road. Most people know this where I come from. After all, she used our gold station wagon as a cow catcher one night when my sister was a baby. You know, that device attached to the front of a train in order to clear obstacles off the track. But that is another story.
At the time, my mom raised mini schnauzers. She had a batch of puppies ready to sell and decided she would bring them here for a week. Her idea was that they might sell quickly in a more populated area. Because she had only been to our home once she did not remember the way once in the city. So the plan was that I would drive to the mall near the first exit to Springfield and meet her allowing her to follow me home. Since she didn't know what time she would be here I was to wait until she called me from a pay phone. After a full day of waiting she still had not called. I was worried as it became later because I wanted her to be here before dark.
Finally I get the call and no she is not at the mall but at a Safeway store mid point between where she was supposed to be and our home. After finding out where she was I went to meet her. Upon arriving I need not look too far before spotting her car. A huge pinkish tan Cadillac that my father had bought used before he passed away. It wasn't the car in itself that stuck out but the fact that there were weeds, and I mean long weeds, sticking out from under the sides and the front of her car. She was standing outside leaning up against the car smoking a cigarette looking more than shook up. After looking inside the car I see a couple of dog carriers in the back seat, a blanket wadded up on the front seat and papers strewn everywhere. All dogs are in the carriers but I soon learned that this was not the case a few minutes ago.
During the long eight hour drive she felt bad for the dogs so she let them out of the carriers and they were laying on the blanket. She is usually distracted by something while driving like lighting up a cigarette, reading her mail, drinking a cup of coffee, etc. In this case she came up too fast behind a car on the freeway. In order to avoid hitting this car she slams on her brakes and they lock up causing her to spin around and go off in the median where the tall weeds were. The car came to a stop (luckily not hurting her or anyone else) but facing the wrong direction. She told me that after she calmed down a bit she gathered up the dogs, put them back in the carriers, drove up out of the median and back on to the freeway.
After making sure she was OK and the puppies were well, I burst out laughing. The picture in my head was of this spinning car with a bunch of puppies, carriers and miscellaneous papers and crap whirling around like the inside of a washing machine. Oh and in my minds eye and ear I could hear her spewing a few choice words and screaming Whoa! You S.O.B., Whoa! After all, that is how she commanded her horses to stop. Why not the car?