Wednesday, July 2, 2014

Happy Birthday Mom!

Today would be my Mom’s 85th birthday. She passed on fairly early; as a matter of fact I am now older than she was when she left us at the age of 55, just days after her birthday. She had been ill for so long it was almost a gift for her to finally be free from the pain which had become almost second nature. Her illness colors much of my childhood memories, but not my memories of who she was. If that doesn’t make sense I can’t explain it, so you’ll simply have to take me on faith.

You see, my Mom was sick; from the time I was 5 years old, until she died of the complications from pancreatic cancer 25 years later. I only knew her for about the first 5 years before she became ill. But I do have very warm recollections of those times; clouded in the haze of early childhood. 

I remember being young enough to have a "sink" bath; that is, being washed in the kitchen sink rather than the tub; so I must have been about 3 or 4 years old. I can remember her calling out to my brother and I from the 4th floor window of our apartment at 3619 Bedford Avenue at Kings Highway; even throwing down change wrapped in a paper towel for ice cream. I don't think anything can dislodge those memories from my mind.

I can also still recall her striped dress and her dresser drawer full of kerchiefs. I know that I have printed this here before, but indulge me as I remember her with these lyrics, written several years ago while thinking about her sitting at the piano; on the beach; or just sitting on the sofa reading a book. 

The photograph at the top was the inspiration for the lyrics and it is also the first family outing I remember, on Veteran’s Day, November 11, 1957. I had just turned 3 years old. In it I am discovering the mysteries associated with the clam shell.

I Can Never See You

I can still see you there,
standing by the door.
Wearing your red kechief and your coat.

And though I think I see your face
so clearly in my mind,
I know I'll never see you anymore.

I can still hear your voice
it's ringing in my head.
I can hear the words to every song.

And though I think I hear your voice,
So clearly in my mind,
I know I'll never hear it anymore.

Times a worthless master,
it will steal your heart away.
It robs you just a little at a time.

And suddenly you realize that
you've got nothing left,
she's taken all the things you once called "mine."

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