Sunday, May 8, 2011

I Remember Mama

 [Linkup to Today's Flowers]

My mother has been gone for 21 years now; she passed away at Easter time in 1989 after a long illness.  I miss her and think about her every day of my life.  On this occasion, I post some April flowers for her, and a list of things I remember:

1.  My mother was Martha Stewart before Martha Stewart was Martha Stewart.  She did every craft that came down the pike, and did it exquisitely -- batik and bargello, sandcasting and Ukranian Easter eggs, macrame and tie dye -- you name it and she did it, better than you or I ever could.

2.  My mother loved winter sports.  I was on double-bladed ice skates almost as soon as I could walk, and she made a little ice rink out in the back yard (building it up with snow, flooding it with water), so we could skate every day.  When we moved to a house on a hill, every year she would build a saucer run with jumps and curves that all the neighborhood kids loved.

3.  Every Christmas for many years, she would paint a scene on our big picture window in the living room.  One year, the Nativity scene contained a lot of black . . . and the window cracked.  Oops.

4.  The joke among the German-speaking members of the family was that my mother was "Hochgeboren," -- "high born," or of the nobility, because she was born on the fifth floor of an apartment building in Bremerhaven, Germany.

5.  She made all our clothes, something I didn't appreciate until many years later, when I had to clothe myself.  We would go to the department store, try on clothes to find the ones I liked, then she would duplicate them, exactly.  I'm ashamed to say that I still wanted the store-bought ones.

6.  She was the world's best mother-in-law -- she had a firm policy of never interfering in her adult children's lives, and she never offered her opinion unless she was asked.  This was undoubtedly the result of having had her own mother move in with us when my mom and dad were 26 and 27, respectively.  That wasn't always fun.

7.  Her name, which she hated with a passion, was Waltraud Marianna Berneburg, which caused her a lot of trouble during the Second World War, since there was no way she could conceal her German background.  She went by "Wally," later "Walli," and we would often get mail addressed to "Mr. Wally Ortman."

8.  In the early 1970's, a line of her sculptures, "The Littles," was brought out by Hudson Pewter.  They were collectibles and can still be found now and then on eBay

9.  She loved to have fun, and her parties were legendary among her friends.  They would often include costumes and very silly games that led to much merriment.

10.  She talked me into getting an extra earring hole in one ear, right before I got married.  She didn't have pierced ears at the time, and wanted to see if it hurt.  :)  Later, she and her friends, after lunch with a few glasses of wine, all went together and had their ears pierced.

I miss you, Mom.  I think of you every day, when I see the big painting of a Greek village hanging over our bed, when I sit on one of the pillows you needlepointed as a wedding gift, when I open the little purse atomizer of Shalimar I have tucked away.  It's empty, but I can still close my eyes and catch your scent in it.  xoxoxoxo


P.S.  The "April Flowers" picture above is my most viewed photo on flickr, with 4,578 views, more than twice as much as any other picture in my collection.  Why, I wonder??  It's nice and colorful, but overexposed and not very well composed.  But for some reason, people seem to search on "April Flowers," and my picture pops up -- go figure.

11 comments:

texwisgirl said...

wow. your mom must have been really something. you inherited her creativity. she sounds like a wonderful mother.

Elise Ann Wormuth said...

Thank you so much -- I'm a pale imitation, really -- she was something else.

jo©o said...

Oh Elise,

I love this tribute, eulogy really, to your Mutti.
And I can see that she was adorable in so many ways.
Was it she that gave you your lovely name? I bet it was.
What a multi-facetted person. I'm sure you take after her.
The hoch-geboren bit is fun. And the little statues are sweet, but not too sugary. Real little gems. I do hope you yourself have quite a collection of them.

Elise Ann Wormuth said...

Thank you so much for that lovely comment. Yes, she gave me my name, which is the subject of another post (I always hated it). I do have her statues; my brother has the most. I have the one that is me -- a girl reading a book. Thanks for stopping by.

Digital Flower Pictures said...

Nice tribute. The M-I-L thing ht home. My Mom loved my wife as much as me.
I never can figure out which pictures are going to catch people's eye.

NatureFootstep said...

lovely post!

Rural Revival said...

How lucky for you to have a mother who enjoyed life to the fullest. There is no better way than by setting an example like she obviously did!

And the figurine in the link is so sweet!!

Nancy said...

Your mother sounds like an amazing woman.

Happy Mother's Day!

hootnonny said...

What a special mother you had! My mother made all my clothes too and when I married I didn't know how to buy a dress! My mother loved flowers too. BTW, I'm your 40th follower!

Elise Ann Wormuth said...

Thank you so much, hootnonny! I appreciate your comment, and your following me!

Margaret said...

This was very touching. I loved every word. Thank you for sharing your wonderful mother here.