I called her Mommy until I started high school. One day when I was 12, she took me aside and told me to use her name, Mary Elizabeth, which I did from then on. My heart barely remembers how it felt say Mommy.
I only saw my mother cry twice: once when I had thrown an especially horrific tantrum, and once decades later at the news of the death of a distant cousin. She was in her eighties by then.
“Everyone I knew is dead,” she lamented. “I am obsolete.”
I had no answer, but I told her, of course, that she wasn’t.
Since then, I’ve often wondered how she felt watching the world change around her (1911 to 2002). Things she’d learned as a child were outmoded; new generations had no clue what it was like – physically, morally, or visually – back in her day. When she was growing up, there was no television, no fruit out of season, no pantyhose. The airplane didn’t make its first commercial flight until a few years after she was born. There was no such thing as a long-distance phone call. None had yet dreamed there would be two World Wars. She was 9 when women got the right to vote.
My mother was an open-minded, free-thinking woman. She embraced the computer, the cell phone, and the digital camera. She accepted unwed mothers and live-in lovers without a second thought. Race may have been a problem for others of her era, but never for her. LGBT were no different from anyone else. The only folk she couldn’t abide were bigots, narrow minded people, and whiners.
She had an eye for color and design. She was an artist. She was a gentle soul. Sometimes she was lost in a world gone on without her; others, she was strong and flexible as bamboo, though unlike bamboo, she was one of a kind.
Here are just a few moments of her long and remarkable life, but they don’t do justice to the innovative, sensitive, multi-faceted woman she was and always will be in my mind.
~Mary Elizabeth Kable Rubin~