Maydelle had a unique spirit all her own. She was a little over five feet tall. She developed her own "style of beauty" as she called it and it came with her share of complexities. She did have a way of brightening a room that needed it now and then. A friend's first impression of her at a gathering one time in her mid-life always stayed with me. He said, "I watched your mother floating around tonight in her blue dress. I felt sure any minute, she would be bursting out to say, 'Life is a big balloon!'"
I'm grateful to have some very special memories of being with her. I wrote about this one memory a couple years ago, but for some reason it has been ever present in my mind recently...and of course, as we circle around in reflection, after new growth of our own, we often see things in a different light. :-) So I added a few details that seemed important to include.
When I was a very little girl, I wore my hair in French braids. There are only two things that made me endure the painful hair pulling this daily process involved:
The other reason was the special morning ritual with my mother as she braided my hair. To help me through the process, my mom called upon a skill she learned in childhood herself. When she was twelve years old, she had a radio show in Bangor, Maine and she did "readings." When she braided my hair, she often would recite one of her childhood readings or a special poem she had done on her show.
My favorite reading was the one about a little boy with a new baby brother. It's a bit of a heart-wrenching tale... It's message was forever burned in my brain and I admit had influences on how I expressed my joy over the years. My mom would tell the story with a kind of a sing-songy rhythm with emphasis and expression in the perfect places as she recited it. The version below is close...
The other day my daddy bought a brand new motor car. The old one's not worn out yet; but you know how daddies are.
I can't help feeling sorry for that poor old car know;
For just as we got use to it and liked it, it must go.
Today I went to see it and I patted all its wheels;
and it looked so sad and sorrowful ...And I know just how it feels.
For the other day my mommy had a quite new baby boy;
and everyone made such a fuss; I thought they would burst with joy!
I can't help thinking of what happened to our poor old car you see;
For I'm 'fraid they'll sell the old one and that of course is me.
What surprises me most is that I can remember this much of it from memory. I was less than five years old when she began reciting it to me. I guess we don't know the little things we do that make lasting impressions on our children ...and on others.
I'm remain grateful for the time she spent with me back then.
It's nice to think about now.