Nineteen years ago today, my mother died.
I asked some people to share a memory they have of my mother….Here are some responses I received:
(from my best friend in High School) Boy, do I have memories. Let’s begin with that laugh. Especially when she laughed at television shows. And to this day, I remember her sneezes… the sound and the way she would let go of the steering wheel when she sneezed (because she didn’t want to jerk the car). The patience of a saint – especially since we would make such huge messes with Halloween decorations, fake fingernails and heaven knows the bedroom messes. And when I think about the times when we would get “that look.” You know, the one where she didn’t approve of something we did or said. She didn’t have to say a word… you knew exactly what she was thinking when she was perfectly quiet, but looking at you like you had lost your ever-loving mind. I REALLY enjoyed your mother.
(sister of my friend above) She was so funny, she always made me laugh. I can remember riding in the car with her dont remember where we were going or what we were doing but I can still remember seeing her as if we were riding in there right now!
(from a cousin) Oh darling Wendy … your mother was my second mom. When she lived in Greensboro before you were born, I would run away from home and go to her house to “live”. Of course it was just over the hill and little did I know she was standing on the porch watching for me to come over the hill and my mom was on our porch watching me climb the hill. I was never out of sight of them. What a team! I also remember the time when I was about 8 that I cut my own hair. I was so proud of myself. Needless to say we made a special trip to see your mom to get it “evened out”. LOL … guess I wasn’t the hairdresser I thought I was. I have lots of memories, but one more that I’ll share … you may remember living in Navy housing … a brick duplex. I can’t remember the name of the place but it was something park. I remember the “bug” truck coming around spraying for mosquitoes every evening. A lot of the kids would follow the truck to get in the cool mist. Your “mean” mom made us come inside … God bless her every day for having the sense to get us out of that poison.
(another dear friend from High School) I remember her sweet voice…..I sure called you enough and she always asked how I was……she was very patient with us because we would chat for some time…..back then, we didn’t have call waiting, only a busy signal….lol….
(a neighbor when I was growing up….one correction to his memory, my mother never had a rattle snake or any other poisonous snake, but she did have non-poisonous snakes) Wendy, I can remember growing up in Rock Bluff and thinking ” That lady must be crazy…she plays with snakes all the time.” She even had a pet rattlesnake! She wasn’t crazy at all as I got to know her better. She was a very kind and interesting person. I think she taught all the kids in the neighborhood how to handle snakes. Before we knew it we all were riding bikes with a snake in hand that we had caught. I thought of her and her snakes just a few days ago and wondered what ever happened to “Mrs. Calloway” but after reading this message i figured out that she passed while I was off at school.
She was a very kind and caring woman and I’m sure you miss her dearly! I’ll always have great memories of growing up in Rock Bluff and she was a big part of that!
(a sweet friend from High School – note when I asked for these memories I included my poem Memories of Mom and Me, this is what he refers to.) There is nothing more that I could say more elegantly than You. Just I Miss and Love Her to . Love You Wendy.
(a friend, but when my mother was alive I was not close to her, her sister and I were good friends, the three of us did some things together, but now I consider her a dear friend.) I remember she always seemed to be moving so fast like maybe she knew time was short. I remember thinking that when you lost her.Reminds me of a lightning bug in the summer. They have a glow that fades when the weather chills but if you have seen one just at the right moment it is never forgotten. I only met her a few times but she seemed to be so dedicated and devoted to you. A moment with a mother like that is a blessing. I am sure she is already cleaning a spot in heaven for all the people she loved.
(from my father) One of the best memory I have is when I med Flippy (my mother’s nickname), I was on the bus returning to Norfolk after a weekend at home. The bus stopped in Greensboro around midnight and I saw her getting on the bus the seat next to me was empty so I pretended to be asleep so she would sit there. Lucky me she did take that seat so not long after that we started talking, I was out of cigarettes so I ask her for one. Needless to say we didn’t sleep a bit on the bus from then to Norfolk. I got her phone number in Norfolk and called her later Monday, From that time on we fell in love and had a beautiful life together.
I’ve printed this poem before, but for those who missed it, or have forgotten, I’m including it again since I mentioned it above. This poem was written within the first few hours after my mother died, and was read at her funeral.
Memories of Mom and Me
-I look around me and all I see,
brings back memories of mom and me.
-The clouds in the sky; for hours we’d look,
picking out colors and shapes and books.
-Oh, look there’s a snap bug – remember him?
a play thing for me and mom again.
-A sea shell reminds me of a walk on the beach;
my diploma, a goal, she believed I could reach.
-Let’s go to a movie – her favorite E. T.
then go to the park and swing with me.
-An ice cream cone, a frog, a snake,
a Thanksgiving dinner we attempted to make.
-All the things around me I see,
bring back memories of mom and me.
-The people who loved her, I see in their eyes,
the love that she gave them was no surprise.
-She had a heart as big as the world
and the soul of a little girl.
-People who knew her will never forget,
because she affected everyone she met.
-Reminders of my mom are easy to see,
for there are parts of her inside of me.
by Wendy Calloway (Holcombe) June 23, 1993