During my childhood, it got to the point where my sweet relationship with my mother was broken due to her bad choices. I never stopped loving her, but, unfortunately, things with us were never again the same. She died 22 years ago, shortly after her 68th birthday (September 20). Questions I had for her were never answered. Apologies I craved from her were never received.
How did I deal with that loss? Terribly, at first. Talk about bad choices! I tried to replace that hole in my heart with a variety of temporal and unhealthy solutions. It wasn’t until my heart was filled with the love of God, through my faith in Jesus Christ, that I stopped focusing on my personal loss and started thinking about Mom and all she had experienced. I forgave her. I began to write stories fueled by my imagination, hope, newfound knowledge, remembrance of the good times, and a desire to keep God’s commandment to honor my mother.
Like this one. I imagined Mom in her current state of eternal life with God, listening to others tell their stories — theologically incorrect, I’m sure, but that was not my goal here.
This was: To hear her give to me the apology that I never received.
As I drove through one of my childhood neighborhoods, I was surprised to find Hoit Gardens only four blocks from Milpas Street, the main street on the east side of my hometown. As a child, I thought it took for-e-ver to walk to Milpas from our house.
Driving those few blocks brought back a poignant memory.
Hoit Gardens. I’m not sure who or what Hoit was, but that was the name given to the newly-built housing occupied by welfare recipients; public housing provided by the city’s Housing Authority. It was 1969 or ’70 when I, Mom, Dad, and five siblings first moved into a four-bedroom, two-bath, two-story duplex that we rented and paid for with the monthly welfare check. Nine other families did the same.
Happy Anniversary, Angry Lady!Five years ago this month (July 2016), I posted on my previous website an encounter I had at a grocery store that became the most popular story that I have ever shared. The story took several weeks for me to write, so the original readers received the story in three parts. Here is the full story in one post.
Fran the Angry Lady. I met her at the check-out line. We had a conversation. This is our story.
Part One: Darla Overhears an Angry Lady at the Von’s Check-out Line
When I arrived at the mall, I found a parking spot close to the grocery store, a feat which confirmed this truly was a glorious, work-free, weekday morning.
I entered the store and worked my way down the aisles. A bag of cat litter. A jug of water. A pack of gum. Done. I pushed my cart towards the “Express” check-out. There must have been ten people waiting.
So I steered my cart to Checkstand Four, which had one person waiting. Much better.
The woman in line had a full basket, so I prepared for the wait. I opened my purse to get my phone, but the words I was hearing distracted me. Angry words from an Angry Lady.
There are potato chips all over the rug, and I think about how brave Dad is not to care about the mess he’s making.
Crazy. I’m afraid to make Mom mad like that. She’d come and get at me behind my knees with a switch.
Dad’s not afraid. He’s taking his time on the Soul Express, that radio show he likes where the deejays yell and laugh and blow whistles all the time.
“It’s tiiiiiime for the Mighty Ten Ninety, Dee Dee!” And he just goes with it, dancing around the living room, stepping on anything in his way: that bag of chips, paper plates, comic books, the newspaper, his jacket. My sister’s cut-outs, too. She worked really hard to make those clothes for her paper dolls, but I see her smiling while Dad does his thing.
Throughout Spring 2020, I was too concerned about COVID and my health to walk into the local gardening center. I ached for the day when I could roam the crowded and too narrow aisles once more. Never again would I complain about the long lines. And when I finally did go in for my Spring shopping spree a few months ago, I didn’t have a single thought of discontent. Though no one could tell, I was smiling behind my mask as I swiped my card through the machine because I purchased more items than were on my list, as usual.
The Lowe Family did not miss church on Easter Sunday.
Mom and Dad didn’t think twice about skipping it every other Sunday of the year, but attending the Easter service was a must do. It was like they figured the liveliness of Spring stirred God into bursting from his year-long patience with them. It was time to get into the pews before they felt his wrath.
Plus there was that whole “sin” and “Jesus died, but he’s alive” thing that they told us Easter was all about.
Mom and Dad had both been brought up to know God and the Christian faith. They shared those beliefs with us (me and five other siblings) in unique ways. For example, Mom told us that all the bad things we did until we were teenagers counted as sins against her. We felt crummy about that. So, Mom had a flock of well-behaved children; we lived in fear of being responsible for her being sent to hell.