Friday, January 20th, 2006

hummingwolf: squiggly symbol floating over rippling water (one)
Woke up at 4 a.m. irritated because my mother kept nagging me. It was all the more annoying since she's been dead for two decades. A person loses all right to criticize the choices someone else makes in life once they've stopped living themselves, don't you think? Well, since the dream discussion involved an airplane ticket and I haven't been on a plane since I was about seven years old, this was all clearly symbolic of something else. Either that, or my brain was set to "Random" again.

The nagging reminds me of a funny real-life memory. When I would do a bad job of some household chore as a kid, Mom used to give me a guilt-trip by telling me about how she knew how to do all the household chores by the time she was [insert ludicrously young age here], so how did I get to be so old without figuring out how to get things clean? She'd go into detail about all the things she used to do, things which nobody was asking me to do, I didn't know how good I had it, et cetera, et cetera, amen. One time after Mom died, I mentioned this to Dad. He laughed, long and loud. "When we got married, I had to teach your mother all about housecleaning," he said. "Remember, she grew up with a maid!" Oh, that's right.

I have to wonder which perception was closer to reality, though. My mother's family didn't have a maid because they were some rich folks who couldn't do things on their own. They had a maid because my grandmother was a widowed single mother who had to work all day to support her household. At least, I think that's how it worked. But I really don't know. I don't know what life was like for them when Mom was younger and her father was still alive. They weren't poor, and old pictures of my grandmother show a rather elegant woman who would not seem out of place to my eyes in an old movie about leisurely rich folks finding ways to get themselves into high-class trouble. Did my mother really have a maid to follow her around from a very young age, or had she learned how to do things around the house by the time her Daddy died?

I remember Mom saying she'd gotten into bad eating habits when she was little, when the German woman who did the cooking for the family would meet her every day as she came in from school and say "Eat! Eat! Is good for you!" German. When my grandmother had to start to go out to work, this would have been while World War II was still raging on. When did the cook come to this country? Did she come with a family, or did she come on her own? Was she a Christian who migrated before the war, a Jew who fled from the Nazis, or did she have some other story?

How come I never realized before that my grandfather died during WWII? His death had nothing to do with the war, but in my mother's child-mind, his death and the war had to be all tangled up. She had her first bout of tachycardia not too long after he died. What was going on in the outer world then, I wonder? Her father was too old to be a good draftee, but her brother was just the right age to be drafted. He wasn't drafted, I don't think. He had health problems from a young age, but I'm not clear on how young. When did his chronic pain become a problem? When did he develop diabetes? When did he become an alcoholic? I can't imagine anyone on my mother's side of the family in the military--or can imagine it only with difficulty--even though my father's side of the family was full of men in uniform.

I wish I knew more about my mother's family. They lived near here for a while, but I have no idea what their address was or if their old house is still standing. Their old photos have gone missing and the people with the memories have gone missing too.
hummingwolf: Drawing of a creature that is part-wolf, part-hummingbird. (Hummingwolf by Dandelion)
From [livejournal.com profile] elke_tanzer: Why you should change your password if LJ asks you to (link via [livejournal.com profile] musesfool).

From Brian Krebs' blog on computer security: "Account Hijackings Force LiveJournal Changes" (link via [livejournal.com profile] supergee). Also via comments on supergee's journal, the (brief) story of someone whose account was exploited.

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