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Saturday, May 11, 2013

Reflections on Mothers Day

My mother, Alberta Martin, was one of six children. She was born in Maine, but her family moved to Canada, where she lived until she was fifteen. By then her mother had passed away, and she, her father and her siblings moved back to Maine. It was not an easy life; a large family being raised by their father, and none of them spoke English, French being her family’s language. She went to work in the Wayandotte Worsted Mill in Waterville. There were no OSHA laws back then regulating the hiring of minors to work in factories.


Eventually, she met my Dad, Chester Plourde and they were married. But the hard life wasn’t over. No, she gave birth to seven children and raised us with love and a firm hand. This was in a time before automatic washers, dishwashers, and when vacuum cleaners were a luxury item found only in the homes of the wealthy.

Bertha (which became her nickname) and Chester purchased a farm. Gardens were planted and Mom canned everything from strawberries, raspberries, green beans, to beets. I remember she made green tomato pickles, too. She would work all summer to stock the basement with foods that would carry us through the winter. Crab apple jelly! I remember how delicious that was on little rounds of homemade pie crust.

We had cows, pigs, and a few chickens now and then. Dad couldn’t stand the sight of blood, so once a cow or pig was butchered, it was Mom who would wrap the cuts of beef and hamburger, or pork roasts, chops and bacon for freezing. There was probably an icehouse before there was a freezer, but that was before my time.

Then there was laundry; tons of it with seven children. By the time I arrived, the youngest, Mom did have a ringer washer, but all those clothes were hung on the clothesline; there wasn’t a clothes dryer. I remember going outside and handing her the clothespins as she hung the laundry on the line, when I was too little to do any hanging myself.

One of the things I remember most about my mother was that every day at 3:00 p.m., no matter what she was doing, or what kind of a day she’d been having, she always stopped, would “freshen up” by washing her hands and face, combing here hair (removing any bobby pins she might have used to make “pin curls”), and change her clothes. She would don a clean house dress and apron, and check her appearance in the mirror. She always wanted to look nice when my father got home from working in the paper mill. He would walk in the door at 4:15, and she was always there to greet him with a kiss. Maybe that’s why their marriage lasted so long!

One of the things I am most grateful for is the fact that I told her I loved her the night before she died. I had always loved her, but had not put it into words until that night. I don't know why I said it that particular night, but I'm so glad I did.  If you still have your mother, make sure to tell her you love her; you never know when you will lose her. And it would be tragic to lose her without letting her know how much she means to you.


You've been gone for 29 years, but you are always in our hearts.  Happy Mothers Day, Mom.

And Happy Mothers Day to all the mothers and grandmothers out there reading this!


EVA

37 comments:

Marla said...

This made me cry. So beautifully written. I sure miss my mom.

Happy Mother's Day, Eva!

Joanna Jenkins said...

Eva, this is a wonderful post. I love that your mom always freshened up for your dad at the end of his work day-- That put a big smile on my face. I hope it did yours too. It's a great memory.

Happy Mother's Day!
jj

A 2 Z said...

Beautiful Eva. I did not know that you had French roots. Its a small world. I love the tribute you wrote for your mom. I did the same thing for my mother on my blog. I'm sure our moms can still feel the love we have for them!

Brian Miller said...

yeah i got tears too....happy mothers day! moms are so special!

My name is PJ. said...

Beautifully written and a heartfelt post to your dear mom. I'm so glad you got to tell her you loved her! HMD, EJ!

DJan said...

It doesn't matter how long they have been gone, they are still our mothers and we don't get issued another! Wonderful word picture of your mother's life, and how hard she worked the whole time. Thanks for showing her life to me.

gayle said...

This is such a beautiful post about your mom!! Have a wonderful day!!

Steven Anthony said...

a beautiful tribute to a beautiful lady;)

BONNIE K said...

This was a wonderful tribute, and I always smile when I heard people complain about doing the laundry, cause I think all you do is throw the stuff in a machine! I can't imagine life without those machines!

Deb said...

Happy Mother's Day, Eva!

Your mom, and all the moms like her, are the ones who teach their kids a very valuable lesson: appreciate what you have for there are always those worse off than you. Of course, they taught us much more than that - strength, fortitude, grace and how to thaw out clothes brought in from the line in February.

sm said...

emotional and beautiful
happy mothers day

Cinnamon-Girl said...

Your Mom was a gem! Happy Mother's Day Eva!

Eva Gallant said...

sm: The same to you.

Deb: Clothes brought in from the clothesline in February! lol But they sure smelled good!

Steven: She was a truly beautiful lady.

A2Z: We always hope they know how much they meant to us!

May said...

I think I should learn a lesson from your mom!!! Of looking pretty for my husband when he comes home!!:-) Loved reading your post Eva!!!!

Lee Ann said...

Oh thankyou so much for introducing me to your beautiful mum. Happy mother's day xx

Sonya said...

You Mom was a beautiful woman and I LOVE her glasses! wonderful post..Happy Mother's Day!

Bossy Betty said...

What a great tribute to your mom!!!

Happy Mother's Day!

Respectfully Yours said...

I loved this post...especially the last paragraph. So true, seems we have lost something somewhere. Thanks for introducing us to your mom.

lakeviewer said...

Beautiful! Loved it! Thanks for sharing this heartfelt memory. Happy Day to you, Eva.

rose said...

Great post. It sounds like your was a wonderful woman. I've lost my Mother, but she will always be with me as does your MOTHER. happy Mothers Day.

Eva Gallant said...

Mae: Perhaps we all could! Happy Mother's Day!

Sonya: Thank you so much.

Respectfully: You are so welcome!

Rose: She was definitely a special lady!

Jenny Brown said...

Happy Mothers day, Eva.....since you're such a cool lady and I enjoy reading your blog, I've given you an award.....come check it out at http://mylifeasjenny.blogspot.com/

Wanderlust said...

What a beautiful tribute to your mother, Eva, and what an interesting life. My mom has been gone for 17 years, so I agree, tell you loved ones you love them now while you have them. Happy mothers day.

The Lucy and Dick Show said...

Don't make me cry.... Again! She's so sweet looking! You never get over losing your mom, do you?

Erin said...

What a great post! Some really great memories!

Happy Mother's Day!

JackieA said...

Eva, thank you for that post......we don't appreciate what we have until we lose it. Mum's are underrated with all that they do for thier family and children, EVERYDAY should be mother's day in fact. I am glad to have my mum who plays an active role in our household. I am an only child and my mum and dad live with me so I am thankful that they are still around.

injaynesworld said...

What a lovely piece. My mom's been gone for almost 40 years and I still feel set adrift sometimes.

Thank you for sharing this story. It was fun to read about how you grew up and I love that she would freshen up for your dad.

Unknown Mami said...

Eva, that was very touching. I love that she would freshen up everyday before your father got home. I should take a page out of her book.

Tam said...

So beautiful, Eva! Thanks for sharing your story :)

Poppy said...

Thanks for the reminder about how easy life really is. I love my clothesline, but I don't have to use it. I also think it's kind of cute your dad had your mom wrap the meat :) What a lovely tribute. Happy Mother's Day, Eva.

fishducky said...

This was lovely, thanks!! I tell the people that I love (my family AND friends) that I love them every time they call or I see them!!

Yamini MacLean said...

Hari Om
Marvellous to read, Eva. Thank you. I hope you in your turn are being honoured!

Love with the capital 'ell', YAM xx

Stephen Hayes said...

Now I'm all misty and it's hard to type. Happy Mother's Day.

Sue said...

So touching, Eva. I loved reading about your mom. Seems like you and I were on the same page today.

Happy Mother's Day!

=)

Jayne Martin said...

What a beautiful tribute to your mom. I loved reading about the farm and how she took care of all of you. And so sweet about how she'd freshen up for your dad. I wonder if my father, Joseph Harold Martin, was related to her in any way. Cousins maybe. He was born in 1907 and raised in the same area with French-speaking relations. I'd love it if we were related!

Al Penwasser said...

I lost my mom 30 years ago next month. Like you, I'm glad I told her I loved her before she passed. I look forward to seeing her again one day.
Your post made me sad, Eva. But a good sad.

Jessica, Science of Parenthood said...

Happy Mother's Day. What a beautiful post. Stopping by from the Dish of Daily Life's blog hop!