Places To Look For A Mother
"When a picture got taken, what we did was smile. When dried
beans were poured into a pie pan, we glued them onto a paper plate in
the shape of a rooster. Popsickle sticks were chewed, and sleeping
bags could be rolled into neat stools and tied with strings, then
unrolled in front of the TV for watching cartoons. Always, the mom
gave the baths. Always, the dad drove the car."
Many, probably most children are nurtured at least to some
extent, by the parents they are born to or adopted by. Some survive
their early home environments, often at great cost. One example is a
girl who, at eleven, had to not only play mom and dad to disabled
younger siblings, but to extricate their mom from whatever dangerous
predicaments she got herself into. Another is Lucy, narrator of
Nicole Standbury's Places To Look For A Mother.
The narrative begins with a crisis that seems to sum up the
dysfunctionality of Lucy's family. They are en route from California
to Utah. The trailer carrying all their worldly goods, not securely
enough hitched, separates itself from their car and rolls into the
desert. The mother is traumatized over the loss of their belongings
and furious with the dad for insisting on the move. The father tells
her to pull herself together. The girls, Jen and Lucy, try to figure
out what they can do to salvage the situation.
That move is only the first of a number of spur of the moment
relocations, taking the family steadily downward in material comfort
levels. The father, lacking higher education or specialized skills,
tries desperately to provide for the family, often through
entrepreneurial ventures. The mother, who never really adjusts to the
first move, continually reinvents herself in flamboyant ways, much to
the consternation and embarassment of her husband and kids. The kids
struggle to adapt to the constant change foisted upon them and the
obvious differences between their family and everyone else's.
And then the parents are divorced and the mother cohabits with a
series of guys.
A Place To Look For A Mother, besides being a fascinating read,
is a testimony to the experiences many children undergo and the
resilience that enables them to survive them.
On a personal note, Penobscot County is awash in shades of pink and
purple and pure whites as lilacs and other trees and shrubs sport a
wealth of blossoms. The very air is purfumed, which is a delight to
some and torture to those with serious allergies.
A great big shout out goes out to mother nature for all this beauty.
Sent from my iPod