Mama had a fierce short fuse, 7 kids,
anxiety, loneliness, & fear.
Leaving home at 21, I resolved not-being-Mama would be my default:
My first response wasn’t going to be modeled after Mama’s,
& I’ve stuck w/ this default for 50 years.
So, how’s this worked for me as a wife,mom, & teacher?
It grounded me so I could be strong
& deal in the midst of chaos & crisis, if not perfectly, at least calmly.
PS In the picture, Mama is pinching Bobby’s cheeks over some infraction while Barbara is pushing me to turn around and mind my own business. Ruthie is in front and I suspect little Linda is safe in her right hand. We were all safe when Ruthie had us in hand.
The last time I played any Faure I was 15.
With the high fi and my Janos Starker recording at my left,
I’d play my cello for a few measures, lift the needle, scratch it back,
and play the measures again.
At my audition, the judges said my interpretation was (strangely) remarkable,
but at All State I was way out-classed:
other cellists played Bach at breaks,
but me and the trombone player
made out in the warm up room.
(I found the old record. No wonder I had such a soaring style and melting tone!)
I never told
when my hand-me-down panties w/ the frayed elastic fell down
& I walked out of them, chin up, never missing a step;
while behind me, Converse AllStars, penny loafers,& white bucks
scuffed them along the packed halls of Salem Classical.
But then it was slips & petticoats
Mum mostly insisted upon for my sisters & me,
for a reason we knew had something to do with modesty, being good,
& boys; so I never told.
(Toward the end of the 50’s as I went through K-8 Horace Mann Training School into Salem Classical and High School, these would have been on the hi fi back in our den where I was supposedly practicing cello.)