Looking back at my mother’s life from an adult perspective often renders me speechless. When she was 17 her father died, which plunged her family into poverty. I honestly think she got married just to get out of that overcrowded, depressing little house.
By the time I came along she was in the process of divorcing her abusive, alcoholic husband, as well she should have. But that just “wasn’t done” in the 60’s. She became a neighborhood pariah, and was left to raise three girls alone in the projects with no support whatsoever, neither financial nor emotional, from her ex-husband or anyone else.
Man, that must have been hard. That must have been scary. I’m not sure I would have been able to handle it. I’m sure she needed a friend.
Fortunately, she found one. And what a friend she was. Ann was quite a character. She was strong. She did not suffer fools gladly. She was fiercely loyal. And she didn’t take herself too seriously.
One time Ann was having a particularly bad day. One of the lenses had fallen out of her glasses and broken. And then on her way home, her car horn got stuck. So she was driving down the street, horn blaring. Naturally this drew a lot of attention in the neighborhood. She just laughed and stuck her middle finger through the lens-less glasses at people as she drove by. That was Ann in a nutshell.
Eventually Ann became the mayor of our little town, and she also nursed her son through a tragically fatal case of AIDS back before anyone knew what AIDS was. The woman was tough as nails.
Growing up, I remember hearing my mother laughing with her almost daily over coffee at our kitchen table. That just seemed normal to me. But now I see that it was also probably sanity-preserving for both of them.
Friends. What would we do without them?