Exodus 20:12 reads: “Honor thy father and thy mother."
This is number five on the top 10 Commandments. May 13 is Mothers’ Day. Those of you who still have your mothers in your life are incredibly fortunate. Many times, I have bemoaned the awfulness of being an adult orphan. Both of my parents have gone on to their final reward. Mom died April 23, 1990, and Dad on Feb. 23, 1993.
My mother and I had a complicated relationship. She lived in a small house next door to Fred and me. The same house where Fred and I lived in when we were first married. At that time, his parents lived in the big house and we lived in the small one. After they passed away we moved in and brought mom out to Dixieland, an area of Madera about half way between Madera and Chowchilla.
She made a great house and pet sitter when Fred and I traveled.
She had health issues my whole life. Talking to people who knew her before she was sick they describe her as this amazing, competent woman who could and would do anything. Her deep love of politics led her to campaign for JFK when I was just in first grade. She registered voters and went house to house telling people what a great man she was supporting. She collected money for the cause under a “Dollars for Democrats,” program.
She gave me my love for reading, and trips to the old Madera County Library were a big treat for the two of us. She loved medicine and began nursing at about age 20. She worked at the Dearborn, Sanitarium and Madera County hospitals. She started as a nurse’s aide, advanced to the status of practical nurse and was on the path to being a License Vocational Nurse until her illness derailed her plans. She also worked as a nurse at Westgate Convalescent Hospital the facility where she spent her last three years.
She had a deep thirst for knowledge and it didn’t stop at medicine and politics.
Raised in the Church of Christ she studied other religions and had a flair for the paranormal. She attended meetings of the local chapter of the Theosophy Society. While some people opined that psychic phenomena were witchcraft or in league with dark forces, her stance had astrology as a science to study, not a religion to believe in.
When I was in high school, she had a radio show on K-HOT the local AM station.
She was listening to Ross Thornton who was trying to reach an astrologer for an on air interview. When his call went unanswered, she called in to advise him she knew astrology and proceeded to give him what she called a thumbnail scale of his personality based on his sun sign.
Thornton felt she had done a good job and off-air they devised a plan for a weekly show with readings and predictions for the coming week.
People who remember listening to her show tell me they still recall the spooky background sounds when the station ran its promos for “Quo Vada Astro Analyst.” She would write and record a weekly horoscope reading for each of the 12 sun signs. She would end each segment with the name of a local celebrity’s sign. The Madera High School principal Bob Warner is the one who comes to mind along with varsity football coach Bill Sherman. Since it was the early 1970s everyone she met she asked what’s your sign.
She also cast personal horoscope readings based on the exact date, time and place of a person’s birth. The whole process was fairly involved and required the consulting of charts, tracking where each of the planets were in the solar system at the moment of birth.
She did all this research from books and magazines. I wish she had lived to embrace personal computers and the Internet. At the time of her death, banks, the government and businesses were converting its data to computer files and she had a deep mistrust of most electrical data.
My mother kept house with one mantra, “A place for everything, and, everything in its place.”
I have tried to emulate that system although things have been known to get away from me.
When I was a kid my mother accused me of “hanging my clothes up on the floor!” She wasn’t wrong and my belongings were strewn around a very messy room. I wish she could see my closets and my bedroom now. I can get nostalgic hanging clothes up in neat rows like she taught me.
Enjoy your time with your mother. When she leaves you she is gone for a really long time.
Have a great weekend.
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