My mother was having trouble taking her shirt off the other day and I asked if I could help. She said, “As long as you close your eyes.” I did close them, but eyes open or closed it is obvious my mother has ‘shrunk’ in the past many years. She only weighs about 85 pounds and has no butt or breasts or muscle left, but she still retains a simple dignity I can only hope for at her age.
As a young girl, she was a tomboy and as my mother, I’d describe her the same. She had the best arm on the dead-end and kids would knock to see if she could come out and play baseball with them. She was never one to back down from a ‘fight’ or mince words. The other night I was drinking wine with a friend and we got to giggling over something that happened when we were teenagers.
From the book-
It was late on a Saturday night. I was alone in my bedroom writing a story only a thirteen year old would appreciate. Grounded (again) for some lame reason, I poured frustration through my pencil. Outside my second floor window came sharp noises. Beyond the window was a narrow bank of trees and no reason for anyone to be out there. Again noise, louder this time. Rather than investigate on my own, I ran screaming to my parent’s room (too much Twilight Zone).
Mom and Dad were lying in bed reading when I burst through their door. “Someone’s outside my window!” Quicker than I’d ever seen her move, my mom leapt from the bed and raced into my room. She threw open the window and shouted, “Who’s out there? I’ll kill you! You sons of bitches!” If it were me outside, I’d have run.
Meanwhile, my father was still in their bedroom shouting, “Where are my glasses? Someone find my glasses!”
I followed Mom out the front door. A squat, heavy shovel leaned against the house and she grabbed it, shaking it in the air, all the while shouting, “Come and get it!”
A neighbor must have phoned the police, because they quickly arrived. As a Dunkin Donuts waitress, my mother knew all the local cops. One walked up to her, flashlight in hand. There she stood, all five feet of her – flannel nightgown, bare feet, an old cloth diaper wrapped around a head of curlers, shovel in hand.
The cop couldn’t help smiling. “Maria, what were you going to do with that?” he asked, pointing to the shovel.
“I could have been raped, you know.”
In the end, it turned out my two best friends were tossing pebbles at my window, hoping to convince me to climb through and jump. They finally crawled out from behind some bushes when the cops arrived. They were ‘set free’ after apologizing to my mother. Dad was still in house, looking for his glasses.
Lot’s of guidance and resource information.