My Mother! 95 Years Old today!
She was born in 1923, lived through the Great Depression, World War II, the Korean War, the Vietnam War, and “Make Love, Not War.”
She outlived her son David, her daughter Carole, her husband Lou, her brother Paul, and both her parents.
She soldiered on through my bratty elementary years, then my completely rampant teenage years. I was a precocious child, and a wild teenager (in my defense, I was a preacher’s kid – I HAD to be wild! It was prerogative!) Case in point. I must have been about four years old, and my mother sat a bowl of soup down in front of me, giving me the motherly warning, “be careful, it’s hot.” Me, being the spoiled, mouthy child I was, exclaimed haughtily, “it’s NOT hot!” Then, I proceeded to put a spoonful in my mouth and burn my tongue; to which I exclaimed, “it’s warm though!”
She rolled her eyes and yelled for a good while every time I brought some new animal home. Dogs, cats, horses, ferrets, gerbils, birds, frogs, snakes, newts, fish, mice, rabbits, rats, hamsters, guinea pigs, and more.
She should have headed the warning she received early on that her home would be a constant influx of beasts when at two years old I asked her for a pet bird and she slyly told me that if I can catch one I could keep it — never in a million years guessing that I would actually do so. But, one morning, in through the back door I toddled with a fledgling Robin that had just fallen out of its nest. Of course, she didn’t let me keep it – something about lice and other grotesque propositions – and my world crumbled because she had “lied to me.”
She drove me to and from my riding lessons, dusted me off when a horse would buck me off, or when I would face plant when being unbalanced in my 2-point position over a three-foot vertical or oxer.
She planned the most awesome birthday parties for me, made crafts with me, caught butterflies with me, signed me up for summer-long classes at the Dayton Museum of Natural History (now Boonshoft Museum of Discovery) (my most awesome summers EVER), and took me grocery shopping with her.
She also yelled at me, reprimanded me, and grounded me when I needed it; and somehow managed to not choke me out in my sleep.
I’m fairly certain it is from her that I got my loud mouth. My father was the preacher at a small country church in the middle of nowhere – literally! Corn fields in front, bean fields behind, and vice versa for crop rotation purposes. We lived in the parsonage next to the church building. One of the Elders and his family lived on the other side of us. Small country homes and farm houses progressed sparsely up our street in a manner in which you could probably fit 2 or 3 more houses in between each.
One morning I apparently wasn’t feeding my rabbits fast enough for her and she was standing on the back porch just telling me about myself.
A few minutes later, I boarded the little country school bus, which then picked up David Gorman next door, before stopping three more houses down to pick up Mary Neatherton. Mary boarded the bus and we always sat together. This day, she boarded the bus just laughing her head off. I asked her what was so funny, and she said she and her mom were standing out in the yard waiting for the bus when her mother looked at her and said, “Is that the preacher’s wife down there cussing like a sailor?” It’s true. I’m still not sure to this day that my name isn’t really Dammit Anyhow Lowery.
Don’t get me wrong, though. She was an awesome Mom! She fed us, kept a clean house, took great care of me and dad, doted on me when I was sick, and loved to laugh. At everything. She’s hilarious and quick witted. She has the dry, sarcastic wit that I’m so famous for. Guess that’s where I get it from.
I can never in my 54 years remember that woman EVER being sick – like cold or flu sick. I remember her getting food poisoning once from a bad fast food breakfast burrito, but never random illness. I’m sure she did, but she would never let that stop her or let us know she didn’t feel well.
She had a hip replacement in her early 80s and a heart valve replaced in her late 80s, but that is all I can ever remember of her being down for any amount of time.
She is now in a wheelchair on the skilled nursing floor of the facility where she lives. She loves the place, but says she’s bored out of her mind. They take great care of her and I know she is safe and well looked after.
Her mind is hit or miss. Most days she’ll ask you the same question 5 times, and I just answer her every time like it’s the very first time she’s ever asked. She can, however, remember crap that happened 30 or 40 years ago with so much detail and clarity.
At 95, she’s still an awesome mom, even though it’s me taking care of her, and I love her more than anything.