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My Mom’s Many Scarves – Flash Fiction Journal


By Andrée Gendron

I inherited many issues from my mom past widespread bodily traits like wavy gypsy woman hair, large brown eyes, and quick legs. By osmosis alone, I adopted her healthful idioms just like the pretend swears all of us as soon as made enjoyable of: “fudge” and “sugar”—nobody was allowed to cuss in our house. Ultimately, I took on a few of her persona traits, like her no-nonsense view of household life and her selfless behavior of struggling in silence. After Dad died at sixty-five of an anticipated coronary heart assault, Mother figured she would quickly observe regardless of a wholesome way of life. She began giving me her belongings: assorted jewellery, artistic writings, outdated pictures. I learn her poignant quick tales and poems. Apparently, she had a tricky childhood I knew little about. She determined the perfect treatment for that was making a house crammed with youngsters and love; I used to be the youngest. A lot to our shock, Mother outlived Dad by thirty-plus years. In the meantime, my inheritance stored trickling in.

Throughout one among our final visits, my mom handed me a bag filled with silk scarves. She typically donated castoffs to charity like belts and purses, however by no means her silk scarves. I thanked her, though they appeared too dressy for me. I grew up within the informal period of cotton bandanas. Once I received house, I saved the scarves in a closet. Mother died alone in a nursing house on April 16, 2020, from Covid-19. She was ninety-seven and nonetheless in possession of all her schools. My mom received an abbreviated funeral with no associates in attendance, which had been many.

Not too long ago I rediscovered the bag of scarves and resisted the urge to toss them apart, inspecting every one intently. Somebody had given Mother a shawl meant to maintain make-up off her overcoat, although she solely ever wore lipstick. The brooches Mother gave me with the jewellery assortment as soon as held lengthy slim scarves under her throat, serving to cover openings in her button-down blouses. Her picture appeared in highschool yearbooks carrying these.

Mother labored as a secretary there, witnessing eight of her 9 youngsters undergo the identical faculty system. A few of us excelled at lecturers, whereas others struggled and stumbled alongside. She allow us to type it out for ourselves. Her youngest son, Tommy, was a particular wants little one from start who stayed in a state-run hospital. I used to be Mother’s child woman. We didn’t all the time get alongside. There was a protracted bitter stretch of friction between us after I couldn’t meet her excessive requirements, however Mother was at odds with all three of her daughters for one purpose or one other. Fortunately, I received her stamp of approval later in life, and we grew to become shut.

Mother traveled overseas with like-minded girlfriends from work throughout summer time faculty breaks. Dad took over the housekeeping whereas she was away. Having already seen the world throughout his WWII stint within the Coast Guard, Dad was glad she had the chance to get out. In Italy, Mother wore a brand new scarf over her head when she met the Pope. She purchased scarves whereas in Spain, Holland, and Greece. Her solely earlier information of those locations got here from books. Mother was an avid reader of fiction, set in unique areas as a way of escaping day-to-day life, though her journeys overseas had been far much less adventurous or romantic. For one factor, she was a diehard teetotaler resulting from the truth that her personal mom was a imply alcoholic. Additionally, Mother all the time went to mattress at a “respectable” hour—no nightlife for her. Naturally, when she received her fanny pinched in Italy, it made her mad as heck.

Even Mother’s on a regular basis scarves had attention-grabbing tales to inform. I discovered {a photograph} of my mom carrying a slimming costume and a small sq. scarf with the facet knot, like these airline attendants put on. One scarf had a brown smudge on it. Instinctively, I knew it was chocolate. Mother struggled together with her weight. Insisting we eat every part on our plates regardless of being full might have contributed significantly to that downside all of us had—one more inheritance. Mother’s weak spot was chocolate. She tried hiding the proof in unused automobile ashtrays, as if not seeing wrappers made any distinction to her hips. Crumbs would inevitably fall onto her scarves.

Mother’s scarves informed a part of my very own life story in addition to hers. I wore kerchiefs over my lengthy hair when climbing pine bushes in our yard. If sufficient pine pitch received in my hair, it resulted in a visit to the barbershop, not a salon. My childhood was spent as a tomboy, preferring the corporate of my six older brothers over that of my two older sisters. Once I wasn‘t sticking worms onto fishing hooks, I needed I might customise my very own muscle automobile.

Mother as soon as gave me a big linen scarf for enjoying dress-up. In contrast to different little women who see themselves as princesses, I pretended to be an outdated peasant lady who collected tree buds to garnish my mud pies. I sat in my hovel, constructed from scraps from the trash shed to eat them. As a unusual child I used to be content material for hours role-playing as that peasant lady, thanks partly to a shawl.

Maturity caught as much as me, I assume, since I now put on extra female clothes. Once I tie a shawl round my neck, it’s clear to me that the issues I inherited from my mom are ever-present. Her face could be seen in my reflection. Her voice could be heard after I use specific phrases. I typically ask myself, “What would Mother do on this scenario?” Fairly unexpectedly, I found household historical past ready inside a easy bag of fabric swatches, my mom’s many scarves.

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