mom in the kitchen

How much I miss my mother! I miss her funny way of dressing and the way she wore curlers and bobby pins in her hair. I miss her cooking, as much as we could stand of it. I miss her yelling at me to get up in the mornings. There’s not much left of her besides a very infrequent dream, and boxes with some gloves and an empty perfume bottle. I wish I had saved more of her to keep with me. In my kitchen I have one of her old aprons. She wore aprons, housecoats and slippers all the time. Much to my mortification, she thought nothing of going into the street to sweep the front walk wearing a housecoat and with her slip showing. Dressed in her underclothes, she would go out the back door where the milk was delivered, happily lugging garbage. She would do all the chores dressed like that.

mom in apron on front walk

Occasionally in the summer, Mom would joyfully bring in a rose blossom; it was either a red or a bright yellow one. She would proudly display it in a ‘Saucy Susan Shrimp Cocktail’ glass or a ‘Breakstone Sour Cream’ glass, which was shorter and wider. I don’t think we ever bought a set of glasses in our lives. The rose was put on the windowsill for display. If there were a few blooms, the sour cream glass was used. Mom would inhale the rose's scent as she brought it into the house, saying how much she loved the smell and beauty of it.

windowsill with plants on it

Sometimes there was only one rose blossom the entire summer. You see, the bushes were put in by the gardeners as a request from my mom, and not really part of the landscape picture. Every week, they were subjected to men wielding trimmers, hoes, rakes, giant power mowers, blowers and a tight schedule. Gradually, the small evergreen bushes and oak trees and rhododendrons grew up and around the roses. Blooms appeared infrequently, and the rose bushes all but disappeared. My mom thought that each rose bloom that appeared then was a special gift.

red rose blossom

Time passed. It was 35 years later; my mom had died, and my dad had moved. My own family and I were now living in that house where I grew up. All through the winter we had snowstorms, broken ankles, frozen pipes and teenage traumas. Animals and jobs and chauffeuring the kids occupied my time. The following July, after going through a horrible divorce, I was moving from my childhood home with its lifetime of memories and love. One morning I was crying and looking out that same back door where mom took out the garbage and the milkman came every morning. I saw a single glowing yellow rose blossom coming out from the evergreens. It was magnificent. The bloom was perfectly formed and about eight inches across, with a glorious fresh tea rose scent. It was the last rose I ever saw from that bush. What I was seeing was my mom, reaching out to me from across the divide and giving me her special gift. She was telling me everything was going to be okay. Life did change and it is much better now. Thank you for your gift Mom, I love you very much, and miss you terribly.

yellow rose with light behind it

All photos belong to Sheri Williams and her memories of her mom, Bessie.