Donna C. Terrell

I Was Just Thinkin'

About Mommy

on May 7, 2012


I’ve never eulogized my mother. She suddenly died on a Wednesday, two days before my tenth birthday. Monday was a school holiday, Columbus Day, and I’m thinking I may have gone to the show with friends. She was fine. That Tuesday, Mommy was sick and she couldn’t even comb my hair. That had never happened before. She sent me down the street to a neighbor to get my hair combed. When I came home from school for lunch, she was still sick and in the bed. My father was home by then; he may have been working on a second shift. He was trying to help her. That evening we took her to the hospital.

I remember the phone rang in the wee hours of the morning. My father came into my room and told me he was going to the hospital and would be right back. I went back to sleep, and I awakened to voices downstairs. I thought my mother was home. I happily went back to sleep. When I woke up later, I got myself dressed for school and went down for breakfast. My mother always fixed me breakfast.

Dad was there alone. Apparently, my aunt and uncle had come over, but they were gone by that time. He sat me down and gently reminded me of when he said I needed to be prepared just in case the angels came. He said that a couple of years prior when Mommy went to the hospital. Dad said the angels had come. I cried all morning.

Later, I remember making a decision that I had cried enough, and I got out of the bed that early afternoon. I remember going with my father back to the hospital and the nurses being very sympathetic. Neighbors were coming in and out. That Friday was my birthday. I went to school. The class had bought me a cake.  I didn’t go to her funeral. I was very emphatic about not wanting that to be the last way I saw my mother. My father honored that request.

I remember a ton of stuff about the ensuing days, weeks and months following her death. Years even. In fact, I was 17 years old before I could actually say the phrase “My mother died.” I could go and on about that, but here are some things I remember about Mommy.

  • Mommy’s name was Allie Mae—she went by Mae. She came up north from deep south Mississippi.
  • Mommy was an excellent cook. I guess she’s where I get it from! I still have her cookbook—it’s a year older than me. She also liked to bake. I do, too.
  • She taught me how to cook bacon and scrambled eggs.
  • She was very sociable—all the neighbors liked her. Going to the bus stop 2 blocks away would take forever because she stopped to have so many conversations.
  • She was a registered nurse.
  • I once asked her why was she white when Daddy and I are colored. She let me know that she, too, was colored. (Just of the “high-yellow” persuasion.)
  • She always bought me Little Golden Books. I had so many of them!
  • She didn’t want me to let go of belief in Santa Claus when my detective work on the dude started. She said all those guys in the stores were Santa’s helpers. I wasn’t buying it.
  • When I was five, the power went out on Christmas Day. Mommy said Santa tripped over some wires outside. I opened my gifts by candlelight.
  • She went on a lot of my class field trips.
  • She and I took a Greyhound bus ride to Springfield to see the Abraham Lincoln exhibits.
  • She took me to swimming lessons at the Y.
  • She gave me a whipping on a bus stop in front of a crowd of people because I was being a brat.
  • She always fixed me breakfast, lunch, dinner, and an after-school snack.
  • Once Mommy cooked huge pancakes for our dinner. That was so cool! Dad, who wasn’t home, would have frowned on that!
  • For my ninth birthday, Mommy cooked my favorite meal—fried chicken and rice.
  • She liked soap operas, R&B music and the news.
  • She loved to sew and would make all my play clothes on her Singer sewing machine. Sometimes she would make a little outfit for my best friend so we could match.

I could go on and on. I’m glad I have so many great memories of my mother.

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22 responses to “About Mommy

  1. Benita (your cuz) says:

    Very good, she sounds a lot like my mom.

  2. Beth says:

    Oooh Donna, this is so touching! What an honor that you would share this story of your Mom and her PICTURE …. so, so beautiful!!

  3. Syreeta Kee says:

    Wow, if I remember the story correctly, this was the week I was born. Great memoir! Beautiful memories of a beautiful lady. I wish I could give my grandmother a framed copy of that picture on her birthday. What do you give the 91 year-old who has everything? 🙂

  4. Chester Moody says:

    Thank you Donna that made my day to see the beautiful picture, and hear the wonderful thing she did a true Moody.

  5. Lewis Bush says:

    I feel you Donna, when I was little there was nothing like when my Dad came home from off the road. He’s forever on the road now.I still remeber that morning asking about my Dad, but deep I knew he wasn’t coming anymore. I’ll catch up with him and my Mom one day.

  6. Greg Terrell says:

    GREAT GREAT STORY CUZ……………..Mom’s Proud of you (RIP)!!!!!

  7. Clotele says:

    Dear Donna,

    Thank your for sharing your Mother’s beauty. I want you to know that your Mother left a great legacy that shines in you. My spirit has been touched. Love ya my friend.

  8. Pat Fiene says:

    This sweet remembrance brought tears to my eyes. Thank you for sharing your memories. Your mom was obviously beautiful–inside and out.

  9. Brenda Moore says:

    Isn’t it wonderful to think back on the simplicity of life. your mom sounded like a beautiful soul, you were/are very blessed! I feel my mothers presence everyday and and I know she is always with me. Thanks for sharing these precious moments. Happy Mother’s day.

  10. Ebon Craig Williams says:

    I remember her, too! I didn’t know until now her given name was Allie Mae. What lovely memories. And it is never too late to give honor in word to anyone. Now faith is. Or, as I like to envision it, ‘now faith’ is.

  11. Beautiful rememberance. Thank you for sharing this.

  12. Thanks! I’m glad you liked it.

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