July 5th

by underswansea


Today is my mother’s birthday. I can’t believe it has been so long since she passed away.

She was older when I was born. She said I damn near killed her. She always laughed when she said it. And boy she could laugh!

From the sound of it, the near dying was true. Care was different back then. You got better or perished.

Her passing away scared me. Everything I saw her go through. I kept my eyes open through it all. I wanted to see every last lesson she could pass on.

I’m older now. I can see it clearer. Her life wasn’t easy from the start. Her father was a Scottish coal delivery man in Hamilton.Things were tough for their family. They were poor, often not having enough to eat. Isabelle’s mother was a pillar of strength in the family. Saving meat and giving them a spiritual upbringing. Isabelle often talked of her mother. Mentioning her brown eyes and her beautiful voice.

She told me about the times she had to fight. Coming out of closets unexpected, or holding cast iron frying pans over her head behind closed doors waiting for the right time.

Things didn’t get much easier when my father brought her west. Back then you grew, caught and shot what you ate.

My dad said things were always good because you could always shoot, grow and catch what was needed. They were never hungry.

I wonder if my mother felt the same. I wonder if she felt cheated. She listened to Louis Armstrong outside a club during the war. She was beautiful after all.

She worked hard at the newspaper. On her feet for hours running the Chandler and Price. Later, writing articles and developing photos in the darkroom.

She worked hard for the disadvantaged. How easy and more advantageous it would have been to go another route.

That is what most people did then and nowadays.

Writing is easy, same as reading. It is difficult to talk about how much she meant to everybody.

Happy birthday Mom!