I remember the day my Dad took this picture. Mom wasn't thrilled to be sitting in the icy river, but damn, she was beautiful, wasn't she? Today would have been her 72nd birthday. I suspect that the Beautiful Mom in these pictures would have been appalled by that. She was only 55 when she died in 1990, and I don't think she was liking the idea of aging. It's hard to watch one's own pink bikini beauty slip downstream. I'm looking in that same mirror, but I think those of us who are hitting our 50's now have an easier time of it. There isn't quite the same level of pressure to remain Hot For Life as there once was. We can say, naaahhh to the myth of youthful perfection, trading it in for more substance, less glamour. And yet... we also have better face creams that keep us smoother longer... While I like to think how I see the world is more important than how I look to it, I'm still a sucker for Hope In A Jar...
Look at her hands in the picture above. As I type this, I keep seeing an already-older version of those hands sticking out of my bathrobe sleeves. She almost looks like she's typing on the water. This cracks me up. It's like a little neener-neener message from the other side... The one thing Mom begged me for years to do was to learn to type. Being a teenager in the 70's, I resisted, rebelled, refused... I'll bet she's laughing her head off now, watching me flapping around the keyboard, slow and clumsy, loads of mistakes. I can admit it now... she was right about the typing. But maybe more important things were passed from her hands to mine. She was artistic and creative, and always making something wonderful, from food to paintings, to clothes for her three girls. I like to think that I got Mom's creative hands, and Dad's sturdy, stable, practical feet. Everything in between is mine, but the two of them gave me what I needed to keep my balance while creating a life that suits me.
This funny hat picture was probably taken that same summer. The little girl turning to look at the camera is my sister, Linda. The slender hip poking out of the right side of the photo is me. I barely remember living in that skin, but I cherish the proof that I once looked like that! We spent several summers at Royal Pines Lake Club, near Yuba City, California. It wasn't fancy. Just a bunch of moms and kids and trailers. The dads were gone all week, working, while we got to hang out at the lake and play. Doesn't seem fair now, but it was so much fun. I remember this as the Best Summer Of My Life - the summer to compare all others to. I don't know if it was that for Mom too, but I think she had a pretty good time. She had friends there, and they sat around at night, playing cards, drinking, laughing. Lots of laughing. Happy times.
Here's to Mom! Happy Birthday Tessie!
I'm catching up - we're almost the same age now, but still... she'll always be the mom, and I'll always hope she's sitting on a beach somewhere, looking beautiful, and knowing her kids are happy, and finally got a few things right.