07 July 2017

Happy birthday, Mom!

SHE'D likely say it like this: "I'm 49 for the 51st time" but however you say it, mom was born 100 years ago today. 

Mildred Hume (Née Mastin) Weedon was born in the front room of an old farmhouse that I remember visiting as a kid (in fact, my first dog came from that farm), at that time owned by Roland and Jean Yeager (and later by my brother's friend, Buck Rogers). 100 years before it was just one of several farms that my family had, all carved out of the original plantation land-grant from George III. 

As a wee thing, she was afflicted with polio. It left her crippled, one leg quite a bit shorter than the other. She needed special shoes to get around in; barefoot she could only hobble a few steps. Because she couldn't keep up with her multitude of sisters and her two brothers, she tended to spend a lot of time alone and reading. Her beloved Aunt Annie (Nannie), told her that with a book she could travel the world and never leave her rocking chair. And right there were two of her favorite things: a rocking chair and a book. 

She frequently reminded me that children could be quite cruel in the things they said; only later did I realize that she must have been teased a bit as a child with that horrible gait of hers. From her I get my own quite intense love of solitude, my love of tea (though I do NOT sweeten it as she used to, three heaping teaspoons per cup - YUCK!), my love of time with family prized above any other social interaction. 

She was a constant tease (a challenge for all the inlaws till they got to know her). Though the very last time I got to see her, she didn't have a clue about who I was (and glared at me as I tried to feed her), only a month or so before she died, my cousin Tommy came from Wyoming to visit her. Her sisters told her: "Mibby, Tommy's come all the way from Wyoming to visit you" and she responded with: "Well, aren't I worth coming a long way to see?" Now THAT was mom! Dementia or Alzheimer's robbed her of so much, above all her treasured memories. She would regale me for hours with stories of her childhood - and memories that the older ones handed on to her: A's memory of balls in the basement of the Great House before the war between the states began, the ballroom with its marble floor. She loved nothing so much as visiting her sisters at the old house where her father had grown up, and two of the sisters lived, swinging on the screened porch and talking as the gloaming faded and the whooperwills began their song.

Happy 100th birthday, dear momma. You are greatly missed:

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