More Bits and Bobs from Mother Mary

A few more things have come to mind since I wrote the last column about things my mother said, and things about her life. So here we go:

She sometimes called children by the name “tuniker”. I never knew what it meant, and never ask, but I remember her using it.

She held a superstition that if a bird got caught in the house someone was going to die.

She believed in the supernatural, and felt and saw things, much as I sometimes do and said it came from her grandmother Emmett, who was her mother’s mother. I think Uncle Mose saw things too, but we could never tell if he really did or if it was his active bottle fed imagination.

She called a canker sore a “gum boil”. I was reminded of that when I had one a few days ago.

If we needed to get something done, and there wasn’t a direct way to do it, she would always say she would try to work a chicken foot, meaning I believe, a way around whatever was standing in the way.

She always made sure I had money for a phone call when I left the house on a date.
And I always had to have on clean underwear whenever we left the house, in case I was in a wreck,she always said. I always wondered about that, since if I was ever in a wreck the last thing I’d probably care about my underwear.

She cautioned me about kissing boys, and told me never to put my arms up around a boy’s neck when kissing him, because it allowed him too much access to my body. I really had to work on that one.

She firmly believe that Dwight Eisenhower was the worst president ever, because he did go to Korea as he promised, but he didn’t bring Jack back with him. Seriously though, she thought he should go there and end the war. She never voted in another presidential election that I recall.

In 1973 she was robbed while she sat in the car in the parking lot waiting for Dad to come out with a prescription. She had just cashed her Social Security check, and two young black men simply opened the car door and reached for her purse as she sat there holding it in her lap. On that particular night, Jody and I were over at Ball State, she in the music building studying, I believe, and I was rehearsing a play. I had such a weird feeling that I cut rehearsal short and went to look for Jody. We met in the hall, each on the way to find the other, and said, We’ve got to get home. Something is wrong. When we arrive there (Luick Ave. in Muncie) we were told about the robbery, and Mother was very glad to see us. We had all the locks changed on the doors, because the keys were in her purse. Several days later the police came to the house with her purse, with everything in it but the money. She got back all her pictures, the loss of which upset her more than losing the money did, I sometimes think. She wasn’t scared to go out again, but the next time we went to the grocery, she was pushing the cart and I was putting things in it. I said something to her like do we need this, and when she didn’t answer, I turned around to see her hunched over the cart with one arm up about her face. I thought she was having a stroke or heart attack. When I asked her what was wrong she used the other hand to point at something behind me in the aisle. I turned and looked and there was some poor old black man doing his grocery shopping way down at the end of the aisle. My mother had always taught me to respect everyone and to treat them as I wanted to be treated. (I had several black girlfriends in the city schools, and one even told me that she felt so comfortable at my house because my mother didn’t treat her any differently than anyone else.) I finally got her out of the store, and home, and as far as I know nothing like that ever happened again. It was all an eye-opening experience for me.

That should be enough for now. Enjoy.


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