January 20, 2017
My mother has been dead for 34 years this week. I miss her. Judith Kathleen, my mother, was a hugely competent, energetic successful woman. A wife, mother to 5, teacher, librarian, singer, dancer, community organizer, gardener, reader, painter, quilter, knitter and amazing hostess and horse rider. She skied, sailed,ﬁshed, hunted and drove a yellow MG convertible sports car while wearing a full length seal fur coat. She wore bright lipstick every day and smoked Players ﬁltered cigarettes and sprayed her neck and the air just in front of her with Chanel No 5. perfume when she wanted to feel especially terrific.
There was white, long gloves on her dressing table that she put on just before pulling up her silk stockings that attached to the dress up girdle that she wore to hide what she called her “spare tire”, that extra “baby” fat around the middle. The 25 years that I knew her she was plagued with eczema on her hands and sometimes all over her body. Her hands would blister and crack after riding a horse or washing to many dishes. Mom wrote plays, poetry and made 15 loaves of bread every Saturday. She woke up early to get the coffee going and to make 6 lunches and breakfast every week day. She wasn’t especially happy in mornings and if Dad pushed to many buttons in his cheerful morning way she wasn’t afraid to throw eggs at him, as he escaped out the door. She would then sit, light a cigarette, reﬁll her coffee cup, pick up her book and read and relax in the quiet of an empty house.
The Twisted Purl and The Boutique in Armstrong are in many ways an homage to my mother’s life. She loved dressing up, going out on the town and having fun. My Mom drank beer, brewed by a friend, carefully poured in a glass, while she got ready to go out. I remember sitting on her bed watching the ritual as she prepared herself. Carefully laying out the clothes on the bed, putting on her slip over top her brassiere and then sliding the dress over her head. She would then turn and ask Dad to “do her up.”
This would occur after a day of canning salmon or green beans, mending a few jeans from the growing pile of ripped pants, or hanging out with a group of women quilting the centennial quilt. For me she embodied what a creative life could be. There was no boundaries and no fear. My mother taught me to explore what made me feel alive.
I am ever so grateful for the 25 years I knew her.
Here’s the Creative Life