Posted by on May 14, 2014 in celebration | 11 comments


In honor of Mother’s Day last Sunday, and what would have been my mom’s 84rd birthday on May 17, I’m re-sharing this post I wrote about my mom shortly after she died in 2010.

It inspired so many people to think of their own mothers and what they knew and didn’t know about them. Several friends wondered how much their own kids knew about them.

Maybe it will inspire you to spend some time today thinking of your own mom.

My Mother Never Wore Makeup

My mother never wore makeup. No eye shadow or mascara, no foundation or blush. A tube of pink coral lipstick could last a whole year in the bottom of her pocketbook, only rolled up out of its gold tube on special occasions, like weddings and PTA meetings.

In her wedding picture, my mother looks like Elinor Donahue, the daughter in Father Knows Best. Her short black hair has a slight wave below the ears, framing her twenty nine year old face.

My mother never rode a bike, could barely swim. She said she didn’t know how to breathe like a swimmer so, for her swimming test in high school, she held her breath for the entire lap across and back.

My mother didn’t like octopus or squid. She did not like to sit in the sun. She was good at crossword puzzles and Scrabble and those logic games where you have to figure out, if Jane likes cats and Matthew is allergic to dogs, who sits next to Bob in the office.

We’d watch Jeopardy together way back when Art Fleming was the host, and my mom got so many answers right I thought she should be on the show.

She didn’t drink except maybe a single whiskey sour at someone’s bar mitzvah. She didn’t smoke, either, but she sometimes held a friend’s cigarette because she liked the way it felt between her fingers.

My mother had scars from a hysterectomy, a lumpectomy and the death of her seven year old son from neuroblastoma.

Her favorite ice cream was Baskin Robbins Rocky Road and Burgundy Cherry. She liked the eggrolls with the bumpy wonton wrappers. When she was on the original Weight Watchers with Jean Nidetch, she ordered beef with bean sprouts with no cornstarch at the Chinese restaurant.

My mother could recite entire poems, like Trees and The Wasteland and Casey at the Bat. She played the piano by ear and sang the harmony on Happy Birthday.

She swore by Ivory soap, Prell shampoo, Scott toilet paper and Kleenex tissues. She preferred S&W over Libby’s, Macy’s over Penney’s. She always drove an American car.

My mother didn’t garden or sew or read Ladies Home Journal. She drank Chock Full of Nuts coffee and SweeTouchNee tea. Her standard home cooked meals were hamburgers, salmon latkes and spaghetti and meatballs served with canned LeSeur peas.

She had small hands and AAA narrow feet and her pinky toes curled behind the others, just like mine. She could add three digit numbers in her head and type sixty five words per minute. She edited spreadsheets and newsletters and balanced her checkbook with Quicken, even when she could barely read the numbers in the register.

My mother looked pretty in pink and gray and periwinkle. She preferred elastic waisted pants and skirts and didn’t wear a bra around the house. She usually wore a turtleneck under her blouse – partly because she was cold – but mostly to hide the folds of her neck.

We buried her in the navy velour pants and matching jacket, hood up, with a pink turtleneck underneath. No bra, no makeup, just a hint of lipstick, just like she asked.


What do you remember about your mom? Please share by clicking on the Comments below.

Share this post
Share on LinkedInTweet about this on TwitterShare on Google+Share on Facebook