Karisma is this week’s Fun Monday host and her request was simple enough:
"I want you to take a trip down
memory lane, and keep right on going, right back to your childhood. And
I want to hear "THAT STORY". You remember the one? Yes, you do! The one
your parents, siblings, extended family or friends, would never let you
forget, live down or get over!"
For the life of me, I can’t think of a thing that fits neatly into Karisma’s theme. Either my childhood was largely forgettable–I DO have a miserable memory (what did I wear yesterday?)–or my siblings and childhood friends are forgiving in their recall.
In any event, since I did sign up, I’m writing about one of my most distinct childhood memories. It’s a conversation with my mother who lost her battle to cancer when I was just nine. Most of my memories of her are blurred and fading, much like a kaleidoscopic chalk-drawn sidewalk masterpiece, cruelly erased by an impassive and indifferent summer rain. I suppose I should note while this memory is concrete, it may not be accurate…yet it still brings a smile to my face to remember, especially since I’ve had children (this age) of my own :).
In my mind’s eye I can see us sitting, no squirming, on our multi-colored 60s-style sofa–Mama, my sister and me. I knew this was going to be one of those Serious Talks by the way Mama told us she needed to talk to us about "something". This wasn’t one of those "life and death" talks–we were already well aware that Mama was sick, we even knew she was dying–but to a third grader that has much more significance after the fact.
No, this was something different, but it still seemed to matter…a lot. There were just some things Mama wanted to be the one to tell us, daggum it, and this was one of them (this example eventually impacted how I mother my own children 🙂 ). She knew she had limited time, so perhaps some things were rushed that might otherwise have been put off.
It’s important to note this was the early 70s. Though the Sexual Revolution may have been raging outside our doors, it hadn’t found its way into every home in America through magazine covers delivered to our door or a thousand channels of cable television ("All in the Family" may have been edgy, but it was hardly sexy (!) and "The Doris Day Show" and "My Three Sons" were still on the air); Victoria hadn’t yet spilled her "secrets" at the mall, either. In other words, the barrage of sexual images prevalent today hadn’t yet sledgehammered our innocent, young minds.
I cannot remember the "words" Mama used, whether or not she was anatomically correct; what "parts" were called was irrelevant to me when I, horrified, discovered the a) husbands and wives actually saw each other without clothes on, b) that "that" goes "there" to make babies (I had a baby brother, I knew what "that" was), c) everyone ever been born was conceived that same way (pre modern-day infertility miracles). I recall thinking…saying…if I ever did that (one or two times, just so I could have a baby), I most certainly would not cut on the lights!
Any embarrassment I might have had was trumped by incredulity and curiosity, and in keeping with who I am today, I asked questions. What I know now that I didn’t know then, is my inquisitive nature must’ve been embarrassing for my mother! In a moment of exasperation, I can still see…and hear… her saying, "Well, I’m not going to sit here and draw PICTURES for you!!"
Hehe…imagine the post I’d have for you today if she did….;)