I used to promise myself that one day I would set the alarm, get up early, brew the legendary cup of coffee and then begin writing about Franny, my late mother. For years, that particularly morning never seemed to materialize. It wasn’t until my daughter began asking me questions about her heritage that I decided to commit myself and put my memories of my mother’s life into a story. But how do I tell my mother’s story when she is no longer here to proofread it or provide me with a real critique? Good question. Fortunately, none of those reservations contain the slightest bit of importance. Just tell the story through the memory of love and all will be well. This is what I tell myself.
Though born in Flint, Michigan in the Fall of 1929, Franny grew up in a small town in the bootheel of Missouri. She had a big voice and a particularly fine sense of humor. As far back as I can remember, she used to own up to the fact that her own birth had been the cause for the Stock Market Crash of 1929. She set her audience laughing because she was tickled by her own self-deprecation. Her croaky guffaw could be heard into the next county. Her laugh was a mixture Phyllis Diller and Lucille Ball.
My mom didn’t live a long life. She died at the age of 58. In our modern era that is not old. I was 25 years old at the time and quickly learned how to pretend that all was well. The last 9 years of Franny’s life were fraught with accidents, hospitalisations, surgeries and a total loss of independance. She had been involved in a terrible car accident which left her with a massive head injury and a host of other injuries which plagued her for the remainder of her days. Fate is a cruel master. A drunk driver hit her car causing her to rocket through the windshield just a few months after she had gotten her own alcohol consumption under control. Yes, Fate can be unfathomable. In 1977, I was 14 years old and didn’t wonder why my mom hadn’t been wearing a seatbelt.