Wednesday, May 06, 2015

A Post-Riot Hodgepodge Post

 I live an hour north of Baltimore and the riots were all-consuming last week. The Hodgepodge was on spring break, not that I had time for it anyway.  My second son works downtown, and was sent home early or told to work from home a couple times.  When he returned, he posted to Facebook a photo from his office window. It was a photo  of  National Guard troops positioned on the street below. "Not something you see every day." 

 I may or may not get around to putting my thoughts and observations and feelings about all the dark and light stuff I witnessed last week.  Sometimes it's just easier to talk about the trivial stuff than to find words for the heavy stuff. There was so much incredible beauty in the midst of the ugliness that the national media didn't show, and for that reason alone I'd love to share with my blog readers my perspective as a Marylander.

For now though, we'll lighten up: 

1. What's a phrase your mother often said to you? If you're a parent, is this something you now say to your own children?

"Better to have it and not need it than to need it and not have it." 

2. What is a scent you associate with your mother or your childhood home?

New books. My mother is a bibliophile extraordinaire. Her favorite thing is to buy a new book and come home, open it in her lap in the middle, and gently take a few pages at a time and press them open. "You want to be gentle on the spine," she'd say, "not forcing the book open." Then she'd hold it to her nose and say, "Aaah!" She loves the smell of new books, and so do I--because of her.  I can almost feel the adrenaline rush now as I think of her excitement over new books. 

3. What's an activity you remember always doing with your mother (or someone who was a mother figure in your life)?

I can't think of anything we "always" did together, but my mom has always shown, by example, how to care for those in need. She was a foster mom for 11 months to 3 children while mothering 3 of her own (all six ranging in age from 3-9).  She taught an illiterate man to read when his wife died because his five year old kept wanting him to read to her the way Mommy used to.  

My mom loved to help foreigners learn English.  I recall her at the dining room table tutoring Chinese students in English to help them  communicate  with customers in their restaurant. She provided refuge in our home to a woman whose abusive husband was threatening her and her children's lives.  She took a wayward teenage girl on vacation with us one summer. She was always the one giving rides to people who didn't have a car,  or trimming their hair when they couldn't afford a new 'do, packing up clothes for migrant workers--carefully washing and folding the clothes first and saying "don't give to anyone what you wouldn't want for yourself" (in terms of quality). She has, as a business partner with Daddy,  provided low-income housing for college students, helped moms with new babies adjust emotionally and practically, offered nursing assistance  and a listening ear to the elderly, supported foreign missionaries, hired an  intellectually disabled housekeeper.  The list goes on and on. Her experience with poverty and pain growing up compelled her to help relieve the suffering of others.   

I guess in the sense that there were "always" needy people to care for, she brought me alongside in comforting roles.

4. Flared jeans, maxi dresses, and jumpsuits are 70's fashion trends back this spring. Are you on board? Which trend would you be most inclined to try? For the men...flared corduroys, wide-collared shirts, and floral prints...what say you? 

Maxi dresses? I'm too short and wide to look good in a maxi dress. I'd look like a round table covered in a floor-length tablecloth. 

Flare jeans? Eh maybe. 
 Jumpsuit? No way, Jose'. 

5. May 6th is Teacher Appreciation Day and also Nurse Appreciation Day. Is there a nurse or teacher  you have especially appreciated along the way? Tell us why?

My 3rd grade teacher, Mrs. Vi Grose, has always been my favorite. Her compassion and sense of humor, her love for students and animals, her ornery streak, the way she'd read Old Yeller and start crying.    She is 94 years old (I think) and I just visited her in Kansas last fall. 

 I also had a 7th grade history teacher named Mr. McKnight who made me love American history--which I grew up to teach later in life!  A high school English and French teacher taught me the rigors of grammar and inspired my creative writing.  A college literature professor, Sister Ann, taught us to study the authors' lives so that we could invite four of them to dinner and have a great time together. (Some authors would never get along; she'd help us think through our guest list based on their philosophies and personalities.)

6. If I came by your house, what would I find on your frig door?

Fingerprints on the front. Calendar, essential notes and snarky magnets on the side. 

7. Princess Charlotte Elizabeth Diana made her royal entrance on Saturday, May 2nd. On a scale of 1-10, how much attention did you give to all the news coverage? 1=Who's Charlotte? 10=sat glued to the telly, cuppa in hand.

I'd say 7.  And yes, I love her name. So classy and feminine, just like a royal lady should be. 

8.  Insert your own random thought here.

We found a house on Sunday to be our first rental property of our newly-launching business! We put in an offer yesterday and are eagerly waiting for their acceptance!
If it works out, our tenants (son and DIL) will move in by the end of June!


Joyce said...

Your mother sounds like a wonderful woman. New books are not quite as exciting on a Kindle are they? My mom was a librarian, so I too got my love of books from my mother. Congrats on your new purchase, and how great to have people in there you know will be good tenants : ) Happy Mother's Day!

Wendy said...

Your certainly sets good examples to follow. Happy Mother's Day

Lea @ CiCis Corner said...

I thought of you each time the news was focused on Baltimore. My goodness, at the craziness in this world.

Do hope they accept your offer on the house and things can move along.

Happy rest of the week!

Susan Kane said...

Can anyone escape the craziness of riots and looting?

My random thought here is that I hope my husband will eat what I am fixing for tonight's dinner.

D&S said...

Hi friend! I'm so glad your mother was a good example of going the extra mile. That's a lesson more people need in their lives! Thanks for being my friend and for challenging me to do this week's HP... you're the best.

Preeti said...

I used to live in downtown Baltimore. I hope something good will come out of this mess.
Kudos to your Mom!!!
I have heard that phrase "Better to have it..."
Many times (not always) it is an excuse for hoarding, over-packing and slowing ourselves down. How about - pack light, and do without!!!
Hugs & Best Wishes to you

Marla said...

I may have asked you this before: Are you in Harford County? I lived in Baltimore years ago - went to Towson State, married in Timonium, lived in Cockeysville. I worked at WBAL and 98 ROCK. So, Baltimore is VERY dear to me! I knew the media was once again showing one small area, and not letting viewers know the whole picture. Baltimore is a small community in a way - very proud of who they are. It saddened me to see the national attention last week. I love Baltimore!