I haven't put anything on 'Mom's Page' for ages...I think because I have been trying to get on with life, keep busy and recall the happy times we had. Most people here spend the Memorial Day holiday putting flowers on otherwise forgotten graves in seldom visited cemeteries. Other than this web page there is no monument anywhere to my mother except the love that lives in our hearts. This is the way she wanted it. I have decided to write some more about Mom on this holiday weekend. I will make this the opening page to her section of our site as it is going to be, I think, a better place for beginning.
Who was she, where did she live, what did she do...
Well...Mom was born June 1, 1931 in a big green house on the corner of Howe Ave & East Main Street in Millbury Massachusetts. Her name back then was Shirley Mary Lambutis. She was one of the last children in this area to be 'home delivered'. (Now we're going back to home deliveries as they're less traumatic for the mother & child.) Mom was a very bright child and enjoyed life as much as one could growing up in the shadow of WW2. Things weren't perfect and she didn't have the ideal childhood, but as children have a way of doing, she had her times of fun and pleasure. As I said, Mom was a very intelligent child and she skipped several grades in school. She did in fact graduate from Business College at the age of 18. Her early departure from scholastic life left it's mark on her and she was very much against skipping grades or pushing children ahead when she had her own. She told me often that she felt kids pushed ahead like that may have been able to handle the school work but that friendships and social activities were often beyond the grasp of a young mind. You have to remember that back in the 1940's there really weren't any special schools or counseling for exceptional children.
Mom married young,
at the age of 19, and had my sister the following year, July of 1952.
I didn't come along until 1955. Dad was a young man who worked as a
maintenance man for New England High Carbon Wire in Millbury. He was
one of many young men that had graduated from high school early to
go to war. Dad was with the 30th Division, Old Hickory it was called.
His patches, marksman's pin and Bronze Star are among my treasured
possessions. His unit fought in the Battle of the Bulge, and many
other important conflicts up to and including the relief of at least
1 concentration camp. I remember dad telling me about the dead,
dying and horribly treated but still grasping at life people, that those
young soldiers found there. Still through it all these 2 people who
came together from their similar yet different backgrounds became my
parents. Mom went to school and became a hairdresser, and dad studied
and became an independent plumber. Like Mom before me I managed to,
in my childs way, make good times and fun for myself even when things
weren't as rosy as they might have been. My sister was the bright
shining star in our family. First born, sharp witted, and pretty she
demanded and got most of the attention. She was a real unique
individual. That individuality would get her involved with some
unsavory people and would result in her leaving to eventually cut
off all relations with her family and willingly disappear from our
lives. Something that bothered Mom all her older life and left her
always wondering if 'she' could have done something different with
my sister. When I came along Mom was already well into life with a
toddler. She and my sister took Tap-dancing together, they went
shopping and did things around the house. From the time I was born
until the time she left my sister spent her life trying to make me
feel like an intrusion on 'her' life. Mom often said she regretted
not having more time to spend with me when I was little like she had
with my sister. I don't ever remember feeling neglected. But Mom
often worried that it had inhibited my growth. Well, my intellectual
growth. I quickly grew to 5'6" with the bone structure attributed to
a medium sized man. Mom and Dad had wanted a boy for their second
child. They had even picked out a name, Scott Lee. Well if they were
disappointed they hid it well and they sort of got what they wanted,
I was a tom-boy right from the start. Mom loved to recount an
incident that occurred when I was a toddler about 2-3 years of age.
I had entered that inquisitive age and discovered hand-tools at the
same time. Nothing, she would often say, was safe from me and my
trusty screwdriver. door-knobs fell off in visitors hands, cabinets
toppled from their screw less hinges, and my crowning glory...the
Plymouth Station Wagon.
Called a Beach-Wagon in those days, the Plymouth was a 'woody'. In
other words it was trimmed in real wood where todays vans & wagons
have stuck on vinyl and plastic. Cars back then used lots of screws,
nuts and bolts to hold them together. Dad used to keep tool-boxes in
the back of the car and playing with the tools while mom drove was
one of my favorite pass-times. (You have to remember this was long
before the advent of seat-belts and child protection devices) Well
Mom was driving and I was happily tinkering around when for some
reason she had to stop quickly. To her absolute horror she saw the
back window of the wagon sliding over dad's tool boxes to rest
finally on the floor of the back seat. She fully expected to find a
decapitated baby in the back of the car. Instead she found her
grinning little cherub sitting between the boxes with a big smile
on her face. The window you see had a curve on either end and when
it fell into the car on the boxes it was high enough to slide
harmlessly over me. Though I never seem to have done anything else
quite so spectacular, as we both aged Mom came to rely on me to help
her with all those little things that go wrong around a house. Mom
managed to survive those early years and raise us to be moderately
happy and quite healthy. There were the usual fights over clothes,
friends and who get's to use the bathroom for how long. Mom always
wanted things to be better for us than they had been for her growing
up, and I know it bothered her that she couldn't always make that
happen. Some of the things more important than a nice house and fancy
clothes she was unable to provide. The ability to express love and
acceptance were things that eluded her for most of her life. Having
had some very traumatic experiences as a child she had closed the
door on her feelings and found it almost impossible to experience
love as an emotion and not as an expression. What I mean by that
is that Mom showed her love in a shower of gifts, or things done
and not as a hug, a pat on the back or words of encouragement. She
felt this more later in life and as I say on other pages we grew
closer as we aged together. I could tell her my feelings and she
tried to get back in touch with the lost part of herself. My sister
left home the first time when I was a Junior in high school. I came
home from school one spring day and she had gone. Mom said she would
be living with her parents for a time while trying to decide what she
wanted to do with her life. She never called to talk to me, That really
bothered Mom. No matter what real or imagined hurts my parents had
inflicted on my sister, my mother felt that my sister had no reason or
right to hold that against me. She let my sister know that too. Mom
was a fighter, and if she felt she or one of her family had been
wronged, well she would go to great lengths to resolve the wrong.
As I've said before Mom wasn't perfect but she and Dad tried their
best and that is all I could have asked of them. Sister moved away
telling us that she didn't really love us, that families only said they
loved each other because they didn't know any better and society told them that was the way it should
be. Over the next few years she drifted further and further
away until we didn't hear from her at all. She finally had her
wish to break from us completely. That was when My family became even smaller.
I know that at any time if my sister had showed up a my Mom's door she would have taken her
in, not because society said she could, but because she was my mothers child.
My parents separated some time after that. and about a year later my Dad
was found to have Squamous Cell Cancer of the head and neck. I took 2 jobs,
Mom stayed home and cared for him until he died in his sleep just over a year later.
She said at that time that she would never get married again, and I remember telling
her never to say never, that she didn't know what might happen in her life.
About a year after Dad died she decided to sell the house and move to
Florida to be closer to her aging parents. Dad's parents had both passed on by this
time. I can't say that I was really shocked when she called me and told me
she had met a really nice man down there. A short while later Mom married my step dad
Ed. He was one of the best things that ever happened to her. Ed loved my Mom like only a man really in love
with a woman could. In his eyes she could do no wrong. He adored her.
(I would later learn from a psychic that they had known and loved each other in another life-time.
I can only hope in their next they have more time together.) Mom and my new Dad were there when I
got married and Dad gave me away. I couldn't ask for a better father and he isn't even related to me by blood.
They weren't always thrilled with the choices I made in life but we all learned to accept each other.
We did things like a family, small as it was. All the grandparents had passed on, My husbands parents too.
Mom and I did things together, we shopped together on Saturdays, talked to much on the phone, shared
intimate secrets like girl-friends. Finally in her 60's Mom was
begining to loosen up...
I spoke to her the day she crossed over the Rainbow Bridge. She was
excited to be going home (She had been in the hospital for minor surgery on her shoulder.)
and as we said goodbye, we promised to talk
again on the phone that afternoon when I got home from work to make
plans for the weekend. Though I miss her terribly in a physical sense,
now as I hold her in my heart we are closer than we ever could have
been in many ways. When I'm in a store shopping, when I work in my gardens,
when I design or create something...there is a touch of her knack for
together in a beautiful way, be it something done with hands, words, or thoughts...
I know that as long as I can think and remember that
she will be with me. I often feel her presence by me as I continue to
grow into myself and fine-tune the skills she passed on to me.
I think if Mom had lived longer she would have come to be a whole person once again. Then again I believe at the moment of her passing her spirit becoming aware of all it's accumulated knowledge shone in her being as a realization of her true inner infinite ability to love and be loved...
To read other stories...
and explore memories...