One of the reasons my mother was upset over the divorce from my father in the late 70’s after 34 years of marriage is that she felt like a non-person. She told me before she died that she had invested so much time into her marriage and her husband and just being my father’s wife that she felt as if she had lost herself. My mother confided to me that she was embarrassed by the mere fact that she was divorced. I think my mother felt as though her career was to be the perfect wife and mother. Shewasthe perfect wife and mother, in my estimation and she wasa success at both jobs. My mother was a very private person. Now, that I think back about what she tried to tell me not long before she passed away, is the fact that her friends and neighbors would have to know about the divorce and that they would be discussing her divorce and perhaps speculating on reasons for the divorce. The one true tragedy is that she cared about what anyone was thinking or saying about her or her marriage. The truth is, no one cares except perhaps your children and maybe one or two family members.
My mother was so talented on so many levels. She was tall and slim and very pretty all of her life. I remember watching her sleep a few weeks before she died while noticing how pretty her legs and feet were while I covered her with a blanket, in case her feet would be cold during her nap. My mother had perfect taste in everything. She had taste in clothes. As a young woman she would make her own dress patterns cut out of newspaper and she would sew her own clothes. She made my older sister and my clothes when we were very young as well as our Halloween costumes. Later in life after my father’s business grew, my mother found a talented seamstress to make my mother’s own designs. I noticed actually after my mother’s death that my mother would often get her inspiration for her designs from classic films combined with my mother’s own natural flair. She had a taffeta off the shoulder dress that resembled Bette Davis’s fabulous dress in “All About Eve”. She made a dress that might have been one of Grace Kelly’s outfit’s in “Rear Window”. My mother had style.
Mother read about five newspapers a day. She knew the best writers in each paper. When one of her favorite writers would suggest seeing a movie or a play, off we would all go to see the movie or play for ourselves. This would happen with everything… if there was a ballet that was considered the best, we went to see it. If there was the best pianist in town… off we went to hear Van Cliburn…. not once, but three times. The great Chicago Symphony Orchestra. Mother and I went, with the added pleasure of being seated in her good friend’s box seats. This went on and on … and included fine restaurants, great hotels, the best art museums, and the best zoos. We went to see Chinese acrobats in a theater downtown before China was officially opened. She knew the best destinations to travel to, as-well-as the best way to get there. As children we were introduced to the best children’s books and yes, the best toys at Christmas. This made my sisters and I spoiled in a way, because we had been exposed to the best of everything, from birth on. This also made us very good critics.
This isn’t all. My mother was neat and clean and organized … so was my father, BTW. There was a place for everything and everything in its place. I believed this rubbed off on my siblings as well. My mother did not throw money to the wind. We were exposed to the best of everything, which was true, however, she knew how to stretch a dollar and save whenever and wherever it was possible. My father was somewhat, wealthy when my parents were divorced and although the divorce was due to my father’s dalliances, my mother did not want to argue or fight the divorce. My mother didn’t receive a great deal of money from the divorce however; she was a friend with a neighbor who had a very high position in an important company. He handled the finances of one of the largest companies in the United States. My mother hired this man to advise and teach her about the U.S. Stock Market and Bond Market. Mother read and studied and read more and listened to the very best financial programs religiously. In a very few years, my mother knew more about stocks and bonds than the reporters and writers who wrote and studied the markets all of their lives. She made a tidy sum of money because of her keen mind.
I only wish my very brilliant mother, had been a happier, stronger, woman. She was so; so talented at everything that she found interesting.
There is a song that I think women, both now, and in the past, have believed and unfortunately may have, taken to heart, … it is called “You’re Nobody ‘Til Somebody Loves You.” The second line of this song states, “You’re nobody till somebody cares.” I beg to differ. To all women, single and married…. you are somebody, you are important on your own, with or without a partner. By The Way, my mother wrote my father’s first two books but she didn’t get the credit for her work. My father published both of these books and they sold more than the number one seller on the best seller’s list for years.
Mom, you were always SOMEBODY and everyone knew it, except, maybe, you. Love you, Mom. I miss you.
Until Next Week…
* (“You’re Nobody ‘Til Somebody Loves You” Written By: James Cavanaugh, Larry Stock and Russ Morgan.)