Memories of My Mom
Mom was the last surviving member of her six siblings.
By the time Aunt Peggy died in 2020, Mom’s cognitive decline was such that she was never aware of this fact.
I often wondered what Mom would have thought if she’d known — my feisty combative mother who insisted on having the last word. I’m pretty sure her reaction to being the final survivor would have been, “I suppose that means I won!”
Some interesting things about Mom folks may not know
Mom’s parents spoke Irish to one another at home.
Mom probably survived tuberculosis during her childhood. She always tested positive for it.
Mom was a terrible cook. She was living proof of the saying, “Irish cooking has two steps. On and off.” This meant Mom could roast a mean chicken or leg of lamb, but hardly anything else. Except a lovely orange cake. But that took her years to master.
Mom had a kind of personal bible she treasured. The History of Decorative Arts and Design published in like 1953. There’s a character in a Wilkie Collins novel who asserts that the answer to any of life’s questions can be found in the pages of Robinson Crusoe. Mom was like that with her design book. She consulted it on everything.
Mom never met an underdog she wouldn’t champion. Whether that was the intellectually challenged cashier at the grocery store, or a displaced group of people on the other side of the globe that she only knew about from CNN.
There’s an old joke that goes like this:
Q: What’s the definition of Irish Alzheimer’s?
A: The only thing you remember are your grudges.
Mom’s memory for grievances was like a maximum-security prison. And yet, when she decided to forgive, it was over and done, the hatchet good and well buried, the subject never to be mentioned again.