27 October 2012

Gifts my mother gave me

Miriam Cameron Perry, Toronto, Ontario, Canada
 Gifts my mother gave me:
  • She took us to see the Peter Pan statue in Kensington Gardens as if it was our family shrine
  • Picnics! From proper picnic hampers at the Botanical gardens at Niagara Falls to tomato sandwiches in parks in Tehran she made a meal outside an adventure.
  • She took us to see the cannon that Rudyard Kipling's Kim sat on in front of the museum in Lahore, Pakistan.
  • Tea. It's always time to put a kettle on. We visited tea plantations and drank Assam Tea in Assam.
  • The love of books. My mother would get up in the middle of the night to have a few peaceful moments to herself. We'd awake to the sound of her typewriter and one after another we would sneak into the kitchen to huddle by the coal stove and insist on chapter after chapter of the latest book in progress. Eight kids - sniffling at the sad bits. Picture it.
  • How to patch a wound, knit a sweater and make a mean shepherd's pie. 
Things my mother didn't give me:
  • Middle name. Neither I, nor any of my five sisters have middle names. I didn't give my daughter one.
Many more but these struck me! My mother has been gone for years now but these are gifts I will always have.

16 comments:

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    1. She gave me decent legs but not the ability to stand on my head without showing my britches!

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  2. Wow - you really have been all around the world. Who needs a middle name when you have all that!

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    1. It was odd. They gave all of my brothers middle names but none of the girls. They assumed we would each marry and could use our maiden name as a middle name.

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  3. I wasn't going to mention those nice legs, of course, but Mr. Taylor has broken the ice.

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    1. Heheh. There are two pictures. In the first she is helping a kid stand on her head and then this one where she shows her how it is done. It is rather out of character for my modest mother.

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  4. Beautiful post..

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    1. Thanks Jo! I was watching the remake of Peter Pan yesterday and it made me remember going to Kensington Gardens and her delight in showing us the statue. I've taken my own daughter back to see the same thing and it made me think of how we pass on things that please us.

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  5. You had an amazing childhood and I love hearing stories about it. I don't have a middle name either. Wait - yes I do. Legally. My mother intended for me to be "LeeAnne" with no middle name. The nurse in the hospital who filled out the form for my birth certificate made "Lee" my first name and "Anne" my middle name. When my mother found out after it was filed she was furious but it was too late. I have always hated my name (no offense to other "Leeannes" out there but I think it's to be awkward and not pretty) and when I am able to I plan to change it to "Anne" (pronounced Annie, as was my grandmother's who I am named after).

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    1. I like LeeAnne but I bet your mother was frustrated when she found out. Two of my sisters changed their names slightly when they turned 50. One added a middle name and the other changed the spelling of hers. It was a present to themselves.

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  6. How wonderful! A great photo and a great post. I have never been able to stand on my head or do a cartwheel. Most impressed. What kind of fiction did she write?

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    1. She was writing long letters home. We were in India then and she'd type onto the thin blue paper with carbon copies. One of my aunts has the letters still.

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  7. Anonymous7:39 AM

    A wonderful lady indeed! The list of things she gave us is long.......we are blessed to have known her, thanks for the memories! Sally

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  8. I hope that you are able to get copies of those letters; would be nice to have the originals but I'd bet there are others in your family who would like them as well. Go get those copied!!

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  9. Not to mention a head full of smarts, and a great artistic eye!

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  10. What a cool mom you had! I could absolutely picture the kids sitting around the nice warm heat, reading the pages of her book, how COOL is that? My mom and dad also passed to me the love of reading, and for that I will always be grateful. They didn't write, but boy can they go through the books! You learn so much about the world just by diving into a good book, it's as if you are there. I love that!

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