Thursday, January 02, 2003

Mom went back to Connecticut today, after a three-week stay. It was obvious, from talking to her on the phone when she got back, that she's happier at home than she is here or anywhere else. Clearly, we're not going to turn her into Granny D., but in a lot of ways I think I still grieve for what she could have been. She had to have been full of hell as a young woman, although there's never been anything about her that wasn't also at least outwardly proper.

Because of Mom, I learned to read and do arithmetic before I ever started first grade (kindergarten was only for the rich in our New England mill town in the early 1960s). Because of us, Mom reads Jim Hightower and Noam Chomsky and William Blum and reminisces at length about the union activism of her father and sister. (I never knew until my forties that my Aunt Frances had been such a firebrand. To me, Frances was the soft-spoken sickly one, the meek one who died young of ALS and never seemed to raise her voice in all of her 54 years. Apparently, there were some garment-district bosses in New York who had no choice but to take notice of that otherwise quiet voice.)

Anyway, I'm glad that Mom could be here for my graduation. She missed my master's graduation eight years ago because my father was seriously ill, and she's been itching to come out for the big one ever since. Wouldn't have been the same without you, Jo K.; we salute you.


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