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Memory jogger - Peter Hentges

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March 11th, 2008


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10:33 pm - Memory jogger
My mother turns 65 this year and since I was born on her birthday, the family is gathering at the Winter home of my parents (Mesquite, NV) to celebrate my 41st birthday. Awfully nice of them.

My Auntie Pat, my mom's youngest sister if I'm remembering the order correctly, is putting together a book of memories and stories about my mom to commemorate the event. I've been thinking about what I might add to that collection.

What strikes me, however, is that I'm having a hard time dredging up specific memories about my mom. I have memories of childhood but I think that I was very introverted then as most of them are memories about me. My mom seems to be, in my memory, more of a part of the environment than an active player in my life.

I know that isn't true, of course, as much of what I am today is a reflection of my parents. I'm just having difficulty remembering anything specific about my mom.

So what sorts of things do you think a person might remember about their mother? What sorts of events would tend to put moms in focus for their children? I'm hoping some of your suggestions will jog my memory.

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From:gerisullivan
Date:March 12th, 2008 05:34 am (UTC)
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Few of my childhood memories of my mother fall anywhere close to the normal or typical range or would be suitable for a celebratory memory book, but two likely candidates stand out:

1) My mother somehow *always* heard/knew when I was sick to my stomach and was quick to comfort and care for me with a cool washcloth, a glass of Coke or ginger ale to help settle my tummy, calm words, and a loving touch. It could be the middle of the night or the middle of the afternoon, she was just always there, helping me through the discomfort and dealing with any clean-up needed. I was in junior high school before vomiting for the first time when she wasn't home. My dad was in his basement workshop and didn't hear a thing. I still remember going downstairs, telling him I'd been sick, and how we talked through what I should do next. He didn't even come upstairs and pour the ginger ale for me...and it didn't work, either -- I threw up again almost immediately.

Her care whenever I had an upset stomach was part of the accepted landscape of my life...until the first time it wasn't there. The fact that it took until I was 12 years old or so still surprises me. It was just upset tummies, either. She was absolutely great at dealing with and helping me through the many illnesses and accidents of childhood, plus a few extras along the way.

2) Holidays, especially Christmas. Mom loved Christmas, and she loved sharing it with her family. She was the driving force behind Sunday evening at-home, family Advent services, decorating the house for the holidays, wrapping presents, singing carols, laughter, secret surprises in the gift department, baking cookies, and more.


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From:jbru
Date:March 12th, 2008 01:44 pm (UTC)
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Caring during illness strikes a chord. I remember a particular time when I had some kind of stomach ailment and we were living in the partially finished basement of the geodesic dome that would be our home in Blackduck. Mom brought me warm, flat Coke (the stomach remedy of choice in our family) while I laid on the couch under an afghan.
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From:erickavan
Date:March 12th, 2008 04:52 pm (UTC)
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how about the ways she taught you to add, subtract, and read?

or her car accident story - how she was before and after- focusing on the good bits of course
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From:nancymcc
Date:March 20th, 2008 09:45 pm (UTC)
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This won't help, but I can unwillingly conjure up my Mom's voice when trying to meditate ("stop fidgeting!") or when trying to accomplish some task so rapidly that I screw it up ("quit dawdling!")

How about... did you have babysitters or times you were cared for by a relative? Or were there times when other adults visited your home? That might help you recall something of your folks' social life. I can remember helping set up card tables in the basement family room for Bridge Club.

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