Sunday, May 10, 2009

mom and me

My mother occasionally took it upon herself to sew or crochet us matching outfits. I remember how I felt while my brother was taking each of these photos. In the first one (1972) we were on our way to my kindergarten graduation. My bangs were straight (which wasn't always the case), my mother had pulled my hair up into a pony, I was wearing my favorite scuffed shoes, and I loved how the crocheted poncho enveloped me. I can still feel the comfort of the red-green-yellow fringes in my fingers. I thought my mother was the most beautiful woman in the world.






Fast forward to 1975. I'm in a quilted skirt with a scratchy liner and a matching too-tight neckerchief. My white blouse felt too big and bulky and made me feel ugly. My teeth were crooked. It was near Christmas, which was never an easy time for our three-person family. Mostly, I remember that I didn't feel like smiling or holding my mother's hand. But I was aware that doing so would make her happy, so I tried. Sort of.





In 2000, my mother was diagnosed with stage IV metastatic breast cancer. She would live another five and a half years before finally succumbing on August 2, 2006. This photo is from a New York Times article about Oregon's Death with Dignity Law. I remember how excited she was when she told me that the NYT was coming out to Oregon to do a story about HER. She just couldn't believe it.











Fast forward to 2009. Yes, today I donned my mother's orange sweater and Mayan earrings, and had my children take a picture of me "just like Granny". It's never too late to have matching outfits.

20 comments:

Jene said...

You are so lovely, in so many incalculable ways, you astound and inspire me. You make my life richer, sweeter, even when we're both busy and all we get is quick hugs. xo

Friar Tuck said...

Fun to see the matching outfits! Hope you are getting stronger!

Maida said...

Wow. Your post touched my heart deeply. *Hugs* to you, my beautiful friend.

daisy said...

Sue, what a powerful story. How wonderful to see pictures of little Sue, now a woman coming full circle. I just want to hug that little girl!

daisy said...

Sue, what a powerful story. How wonderful to see pictures of little Sue, now a woman coming full circle. I just want to hug that little girl!

Anonymous said...

Beautiful photos, beautiful words.
mb

Cindy Fey said...

Beautiful pictures! Lovely post. Happy Mother's Day.

citizen of the world said...

I just love it that you took a matching photo. Beautiful, both of you.

(And oh my God and the beehive and ponchos!)

Lore said...

<3

The Burkles said...

I think your mom and mine used the same mcall's pattern for the quilted skirt, except mine was green with a ivory top and green kerchife. These photos are an amazing history.

Anonymous said...

oh sue. I'm so glad that your're finding ways to honor your mother. She was such a complicated person in my life. But I miss her.
LOVE,
LORRAINE

SaElWa said...

no words necessary.

SaElWa said...

no words necessary.

Nancy said...

You're gorgeous women, you and your mama. Old souls.

Personally, the 1975 carpet blows my mind more than the matching get-ups.
My parents were in the furniture and floor covering business and they used to sell roll upon roll of that stuff. I remember it well.

suesun said...

The wallpaper is what blows my mind... because I remember staring at it for so long, so many times, as a child.

Kate said...

I love this post! I think it's great that you have the exact sweater and earrings. I love the mother / daughter outfits. My mom used to make my sister and I dress in matching outfits that were just like those, especially the quilted skirts. Our photos also depict varying levels of enthusiasm.

Klayton said...

"1975" is funny! It reminds me that I should dig up all my childhood misery photos and have a good laugh. Parents must get some sort of sadistic joy out of making their kids dress like clowns.

Beth said...

I'm writing this through tears in my eyes. Beautiful post that brought back so many great memories --of matching outfits, of mother-daughter relationships then and now, of saying goodbye, of connection. Thanks, Sue.

Amber said...

This is so so so beautiful. I shouldn't write more words and take away from it by trying to capture it. Humble gratitude and awe...

Marina Eckler said...

WHOAH- we had matching dens. And I don't mean "living rooms". Ours was draped in slightly more orange. But geez, the wallpaper, the fireplace tools, those rugged vaguely German chairs. Come to think of it, was there an undercurrent of a Bavarian escapist fantasy in the air at that time? If I had it I would show you a picture of my family in similar home made outfits, even my brothers had shirts that matched our dresses and smiles that say "huh?" Oh 1975. mother love run amok.