My Excellent Mommy
I’ve been going through mom’s things slowly, slowly, pacing myself with the weight of the emotion, the waves that hit unexpectedly. This is an experience all of mankind goes through, but I never knew until now, I never knew what it felt like.
I found a few things this weekend, Mom’s eighth grade photo and graduation certificate, carefully folded underneath the drawer paper in her bureau. It looks like she was an excellent student, receiving straight A’s in most subjects and winning an entire year’s tuition through a competitive exam. I also found an unexpected book, Greek Made Easy by George C. Divry, second edition, dated 1946 and carefully signed with mom’s maiden name. Greek, Mommy? Really?
These discoveries are bittersweet. I knew mommy was extremely well read, intelligent, interested in art, culture, history and people, but learning of her scholarship made me picture her as the hardworking earnest student with her life ahead of her, who never went to college, worked as a filing clerk and married, her brilliant intelligence shining through in family life during her periods of wellness, and overshadowed in dark moments when she couldn’t help but succumb to her illness.