Sunday, May 8, 2016

My Mother Before I Knew Her

Mary (in the front) with her family.

As the dirty thirties hit, my mother was born.

Was it possible to have a joyful childhood during a great depression?

Could a person find love during a hateful world war?

Born on the Canadian prairies in October 1930 to Danish immigrant parents, my mother arrived on a day so cold that her freshly laundered diapers froze to the clothesline. She was called Mary Elisabeth, an English name her parents knew.

They moved from home to home, one right across from the railway station. My mom performed acrobatics in the yard, hoping to catch the attention of travellers. It was usually hobos that approached her, looking for food and odd jobs. Her mother provided a meal and sent them on their way.

“Hoo hah,” her mother would exclaim. And my mom just laughed, not realizing that she was almost as poor as the beggars at the door.

Mary during WWII.

She found kittens and dogs and horses to love. She taught her favourite pup how to do tricks. He could ride on the handlebars of her bike! And though my mother never had a horse of her own, she befriended those who did, and rode with confidence and pride.

Riding high.

When World War II wreaked its own personal havoc on her family, my mom found a room to rent and a job.  She was just a teenager. Some might say it was her thick wavy red hair that gave her such gumption. It certainly caught my dad’s eye! In 1949, they were married. They are together to this day.

Dating my dad.

In this tumultuous new millennium, she is still spirited and brave. She knows joy and brings love.

I think my mother before I knew her is the mom I know today.

Conni Cartlidge  March 2015

No comments:

Post a Comment