My mother and I rarely talked about our lives. She told me little about her childhood. Little, that is, that would make me understand why she did a lot of what she did. I did know, and it’s the first and only thing that jumps to mind, that she liked to have her birthday remembered – and my father wasn’t too good at remembering. He was always last-minute-Bud, writing up a poem for her when he remembered that he forgot. Her birthday was December 26th. She never got birthday presents from her parents: “Oh, Dorothy, you got presents yesterday, you don’t need any today.” As kids, we didn’t know this, but once we learned we sure did make her birthday special as we could. Years later, my sister’s second son was born on December 24th. You can be sure my mother made a special deal of it.
Now that I think of it, I may be a lot like my mother. I have very few dramatic or even interesting tales to tell about my childhood and later years spent at home – or anywhere for that matter. Neither did my mother. I now believe that both she and I, smart as we were, just took life as it came to us, never really pre-planning what we would do. It’s not that we took paths of least resistance, we took paths offered to us. Very few times did I have to make a great decision in my life. Maybe twice. Once when I had to make the decision not to go back to college after two years. I felt I was getting a fine education in nothing useful to me career-wise. The other time was when, after the banns had been announced, I decided not to marry my fiancé. I loved him but I did not particularly like the attitude he began to show that he would dictate all rules for our marriage. Both turned out to be very good decisions. Perhaps not “all the difference” made by choosing The Road Not Taken – my favorite poem, by the way – but they brought me to where I am now. In that “now” I am very content.