March 9th, 2015


Mom's Stories

My sister called to report the day's events.  She spent the day with a female cousin her age who once visited us as a teenager in Minnesota.  Aunt C went in to count the Sunday school money, as she usually does on Mondays, then worked with a children's group (new, or just not mentioned before?)

Mom, who has been unable to recognize people quickly, is in rare form remembering older episodes, typically for those with Alzheimer's.  LBHH had not heard two of the stories she told today, but the first one sounds vaguely familiar to me.

Uncle Frank, mom's oldest brother, smoked, as did my maternal grandfather, and mom, until I was fifteen or so, but her smoking was not as acceptable, and nobody did the smoking openly.  It especially was not generally done in the house.  Women smoking was somehow more shameful or more hidden, back then.

Mom and Frank were sitting in the living room, both smoking on this particular day in her memory.  (LBHH explains that mom's tone of voice expressed outrage that grandmother came in, as she BELONGED in the kitchen...)  When grandmother came into the living room, Frank protected mom by reaching over and casually taking the cigarette from her hand.  That left him with one cigarette in each hand, which grandmother either did not notice, or chose not to react to.  I remember this event being related with glee.

Mom also told a story about crossing the bridge between Biloxi and Ocean Springs.  There were two bridges - the drawbridge with a pedestrian area, and a railroad bridge, which had no such accommodations, no sides to deflect cars that should somehow become dislodged from the rails, but did have a lower platform under the ties to act as a work area as needed.

Mom decided to cross the railroad bridge.  Before she'd gotten clear across, a train came.  She hurriedly stepped from tie to tie until she reached the gap that gave access to the lower platform, where she crouched while the train thundered noisily overhead.  The noise and the terror were horrible.  Asked why she'd done such a dangerous thing, she replied that she had wanted to do something her three older brothers had NOT already done first.

Was she called a copy cat one time too many?  Although she tells many stories of collective escapades of the children as a group, especially the three older brothers, I don't recall any where she undertook dangerous actions on her own.