Daisy, Daisy…

Everyone excels at something. (I’m still looking for my super power). I’m mediocre at several things, piss poor at others. My mom had her own set of gifts where she knocked it out of the park consistently. Anything that included a crochet hook or a set of knitting needles she was truly gifted and handcrafted some beautiful projects. It was something she thoroughly enjoyed. She thought she had passed this amazing ability to me, but try as I might, I could not follow the complicated patterns she breezed through. If she literally showed me how work the pattern I had no problem, but reading and applying the directions by myself proved I was not a knitting wizard like her.

Mona, mom holding me and Larry, 1952…

I’m a little tea pot, short and stout. Here is my handle, here is my spout.

When I get all steamed up, then I shout, tip me over and pour me out.

I did inherit her sewing talents though. When given the tough task of replacing a button (no not a zipper, just a button) she would often contemplate how this difficult job might come to fruition. Okay, she’d just hang dad’s shirt on a doorknob for a lengthy period until he needed a dress shirt for consistory meeting in a half hour. She kept a sewing needle with a bit of thread stuck in one of the living room curtains. Her goal was to see how long that tiny needle would remain in exactly the same spot without actually using said needle. She was more likely to wash those curtains several times or buy a new set of curtains for her windows than she was to use the needle to replace that dang button. She would prick her finger a half dozen times getting that button securely in the right spot. Yeah that’s the sewing gift I got from her which I’ve carried through my adult life.

Mom feeding me with Larry and Mona watching over her shoulder, 1951…

Oh I went down south to see my gal, singing Polly, wolly doodle all the day.

Oh my Sal she is a spunky gal, singing Polly, wolly doodle all the day.

Fare thee well, fare thee well, fare thee well my fairy fae.

For I’m goin to Louisiana, for to see my Susie-anna, singing Polly, wolly doodle all the day.

I was so hopeless in my Home Economics class, my frustrated teacher ended up completing about 75% of my sewing project or I’d still be there pulling out stitches from sewing the sleeve in wrong for the umpteenth time. I was a little bit better at the cooking/baking portion of the class and remember my Baked Alaska turned out pretty good. Mom was a good cook and better than average baker but didn’t enjoy my company in our tiny kitchen when I was growing up and she was working on a dessert. I think I made her twitchy in the kitchen. I was messy. She was not.

Mom was a lot neater than I’ve ever been. Shook out her rugs daily, dusted her oak hardwood floors on her hands and knees every morning before she went to work. I mean, really. She was dedicated to a house that was kept spic and span. Always. I’m just spic, sans the span.

Larry, mom and me, 1951…

Ada Mae where are you going? Upstairs to take a bath.

Ada Mae was like a toothpick, her neck like a giraffe.

Ada Mae stepped in the bathtub, Ada Mae pulled out the plug.

Oh my goodness, bless my soul, there goes Ada down the hole. (Hahaha)

Maybe mom was serenading us while she took the picture in 1951…

A couple of weeks ago I did a story about sitting next to mom at church when I was little, waiting for her to dole out a pink peppermint to help pass the minister’s long prayer. I figure I sat next to mom in church for about 15 years for at least one service every Sunday. In all that church time togetherness I can’t remember ever hearing her sing. Oh she had the hymn book open and I could see emotion on her face when we sang certain hymns that meant a lot to her. But she never sang. She might move her lips, syncing in a convincing manner (like Milli-Vanilli) but no musical notes escaped her lips. Why?

Oh dear, what can the matter be, dear, dear what can the matter be?

Oh dear, what can the matter be? Johnny’s so long at the fair.

He promised to buy me a bunch of blue ribbons to tie up my Bonnie brown hair.

Oh dear, what can the matter be, dear, dear what can the matter be?

Oh dear what can the matter be, Johnny’s so long at the fair.

Mom couldn’t carry a tune. Just like me. Yup, that’s another gift she managed to pass along to her youngest kid. No lie, we were both hopeless in the music department. But here’s the great thing about our shared singing incompetence. It never stopped us from singing where it really mattered. No, we didn’t flaunt our lackluster ability in front of others who would cringe or cry out in pain. By others I mean people in nearby pews who wanted to keep us on their Christmas card list and not sue us for pain, suffering and acute hearing loss.

Don’t think I was planned but mom looks pretty happy holding me in 1950…

But mom sang to me all the time when I was little. She loved to sing and felt no embarrassment when it was just the two of us. It was mostly off tune, part monotone with a good sized helping of glass shard eardrum piercing. Still, she kept on singing.

Oh where, oh where has my little dog gone, oh where, oh where can he be?

With his ears cut short and his tail cut long, oh where oh where can he be?

(Ouch, how come I never cringed at those lyrics when I was little or sang them to my kids)?

Between the two of us caterwauling on 15th Street during the 50’s, it’s a miracle the cops were never called or charges filed. Mom loved singing but was selective about her audience. She figured those listening had to be pretty attached to her so no one would flee and never return. I loved listening to her rendition of the oldies but goodies. So did my kids.

Mom bought my coat, 1976…

Daisy, Daisy give me your answer do. I’m half crazy all for the love of you.

It won’t be a stylish marriage, I can’t afford a carriage.

But you’ll look sweet, upon the seat, of a bicycle built for two.

One of her favorite songs.

Mom at our house in Spencer, 1979…

I don’t feel bad because mom never sang in church. For those who’ve never heard me should be thanking their lucky stars they were never subjected to the horrors of my squawking attempts.

I love you, a bushel and a peck, a bushel and a peck and a hug around the neck.

A hug around the neck and a barrel and a peep, a barrel and a peep and I’m talking in my sleep.

I love you a bushel and a peck, a bushel and a peck and a hug around your neck.

Thanks for singing the oldies to me mom. Even if it was just the two of us…

2 thoughts on “Daisy, Daisy…

  1. Neese, Perhaps your Superpower is the ability to turn the Ordinary into The Extraordinary. By evoking the memories and special little things about your mom, I’ll bet many other mothers have again been given “pride of place” in quite a few hearts.
    I don’t recall my mom ever singing (except maybe, quietly, in Church). She loved to read and listen to music and passed those loves onto her kids. When she had saved up enough “Green Stamps”, she redeemed them for a record player. We didn’t have a single record until I scrounged up one dollar to buy an LP, “One Hundred and One Strings Play the Classics”. Our first “45” was The Statler Brothers, “Flowers on the Wall”. I’d never hved guessed in a million years that I would wind up living in Staunton, VA – their home town.
    Thanks, Neese.

    Liked by 1 person

    • What a great memory-buying a record player with green stamps. Mom saved them for a variety of “things” she wanted or needed. Their catalog was almost as good as Penney’s, Sears or Montgomery Wards! On one wall of our living room sat a 5 foot maple stereo which was a source of pride because she bought it with her own money. I can remember getting scolded for trying to set the “diamond” needle down on a record in the right spot and wasn’t gentle enough. Mom had gobs of albums which included a lot of waltzes. Gee I hadn’t thought of that musical monstrosity for years. Thanks for spurring that memory for me…

      Liked by 1 person

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