Biographical Non-Fiction posted November 24, 2013

This work has reached the exceptional level
The best hand-me-downs are in wise words.

Mom's Legacy

by Spitfire

My teen years were hard enough without perfectionist Mom and my younger sister checking me out before I headed to the door. Were my seams straight? (God bless modern-day panty hose.) Any spots on my skirt? (Yea to today's Spray and Wash)  Wrinkles in my blouse? (Three cheers for polyester.)  The slightest flaw meant I had to change clothes. Mom even warned my unruly thick hair to stay in place all day.

I resented the daily inspection. I didn’t care how neat I looked. A little messiness might draw attention away from my thin lips, thick glasses, flat forehead, and witches’ chin. Bless Mom and Dad. They always told me, "You're so pretty."  Sister stayed quiet.  She knew her flawless features made her the beauty.

Along with her obsessive fixation about clothes, my mother insisted on lady-like behavior. Her edicts included proper word choices.  One hot day I burst into the house after play. "I’m sweating," I complained.

Mother frowned.  "Horses sweat. Young ladies perspire." 

I never "sweat" again until after I left for college.

Mom enforced another code of conduct as soon as I learned how to print. "Always write thank you letters for gifts or money. Include a description and plans on how you will use it."

Of course, e-mail wasn't around, but I doubt that would have been acceptable. I still see it Mom's way.  It takes time to write a proper letter, address and mail it. Time means love in anyone's book.

"Never call  grown-ups by their first name, unless they invite you to do so."   Another etiquette rule enforced by Mom and Emily Post. My chilldren's friends were not to call me "Shari". 
The use of Mrs. coupled with my last name separated me as a responsible adult and not one of their peers. And don't I just bristle  these days when a telemarketer asks, "Is Shari there?"
Since I never had dates in high school, Mom saved her warnings about sex when I left for college. "If a boy tells you dirty jokes, the next step is the bedroom." 

There's a problem here, Mom. I don't get the punch lines. He's wasting his time. What really kept me pure and drug-free was one powerful image that clung to my frame like a gold sequined gown, "Your body is a temple. Be careful who or what you let in."

As I moved innocently into  a new world called marriage, Mom’s personal experiences led her to give me the best advice ever. "Be careful what you say in anger, it may be forgiven, but not forgotten." I bit my tongue a lot of times especially since hubby never raged at me. Unfortunately, I did not heed the advice when my daughter married a man I considered uncouth. My big mouth almost cost me the little girl I loved more than myself.

Now here's one to ponder.  Mother's thoughts again. " In any relationship, one partner will love more than the other."  Do you find this true? I'm keeping my answer a secret.

Mom had advice for the best and worst of times. Two special rules guided my behavior as I moved through the rutted roads of life.
  1. If you have to be mean, save it for strangers. Be kind to family. They will stick by you.
  2. Don’t waste time feeling sorry for yourself. Somewhere, someone has it much worse.
I  asked my daughter if she remembered wisdom I handed down. Here's what she said.
  • Always look for bargains on big purchases.
  • Go for your dream.

My son gave me his reply:

  • Faith in God can get you through anything
  • Laugh at yourself before others do.
We are what we choose to remember. "We are what we pass on to those folks we love more than ourselves."*  Lessons passed to children will hang on for life.  Make them positive. Make them sing.  Make them words you would want to hear.

Non-Fiction Writing Contest contest entry


* Cry the Vile Rebel suggested this phrase be added.
Pays one point and 2 member cents.

Save to Bookcase Promote This Share or Bookmark
Print It View Reviews

You need to login or register to write reviews. It's quick! We only ask four questions to new members.

© Copyright 2018. Spitfire All rights reserved.
Spitfire has granted, its affiliates and its syndicates non-exclusive rights to display this work.