Woman’s Liberation Mother

The auditorium was dark and fortunately I was sitting near the back where all the 7th graders congregated. The other blessing was that it was just the junior high girls. I think I would have totally freaked if it had been the whole school.

I hadn’t told anyone that my mom had come to talk to us. It was an event sponsored by one of the local women’s clubs to promote healthy living—the usual message: not smoking, staying clear of drugs. An older woman, with a tall white beehive hairdo, introduced my mom.  I doubt she had any clue that my mom would soon unleash on this innocent audience.

Understand that this was 1970—the beginnings of the women’s movement. And my mom was totally in. With her trademark rant-like cheer, she declared while we’d won the right to wear jeans to school, we now needed to demand to be able to take Auto Shop and not be forced to take Home Economics. The girls cheered. It was like a women’s lib rally for young teens. I slid lower in my seat. Girls close to me turned and asked, “Is that your mom??”

Yes, that was my mom. She was never shy about sharing her opinion.  No one argued that she worked hard. She had a job and went to college—no easy feat since it required driving five hours a day to get to her classes.  She was admired and she was also despised. Her hard line policies as a director got her fired…twice.

But she was still my mom and I loved her. Her consummate independence was woven into every facet of her life. She built a log cabin and her closest friends lived in a nearby hippie commune. She never apologized for her choices. It was just who she was. She died much too soon.

As I celebrate my 21st Mother’s Day without her, I wish my kids could have known this dynamic woman who wasn’t afraid to be herself. I see some of her in both my adult children. They each have an independent streak—and a willingness to work exceedingly hard to achieve their goals. I know my mom would be proud of them.

I miss her….still.  I’ve collected my memories so I can pull them out when I need her—because there’s nothing like a mom—even one like mine. Happy Mother's Day.

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